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# 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know

'If people do not believe that mathematics is simple,

it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.'

John von Neumann

Mathematics can tell you things about the world that can't be learned in any other way. This hugely informative and wonderfully entertaining little book answers one hundred essential questions about existence. It unravels the knotty, clarifie...more

it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.'

John von Neumann

Mathematics can tell you things about the world that can't be learned in any other way. This hugely informative and wonderfully entertaining little book answers one hundred essential questions about existence. It unravels the knotty, clarifie...more

Hardcover, 256 pages

Published
November 4th 2008
by Bodley Head
(first published October 16th 2008)

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## Community Reviews

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Jun 15, 2009
Wesley
added it

I found this book in Barnes and Nobles and subsequently got it as a birthday present. Not wanting to disappoint my parents, I decided to read it. Despite it being boring at first, I actually found it to be quite enjoyable midway through. The book essentially explains how all your common occurances in life link back to mathematics. My personal favorite is an explanation of why people often gripe about find themselves in the longer line at a store or a post office. The simple explaination is becau...more

If you don't like math, maybe you will like it after reading this book. But you probably won't. I've found that the things I find most exhilarating about math bore a lot of people.

Aug 26, 2013
Cheryl Gatling
added it

I was attracted to this book by its clever title. Although I would quibble that most of the things in the book are not essential (you could live a very satisfactory life without ever knowing any of them, and most people do), the subtitle "Math Explains Your World" is very apt. There is a formula for figuring out how many baseball cards to buy in order to get a full set, a formula for figuring out how long an institution is likely to last, a formula for figuring out how high to build a wall so a...more

The book is written in small snippets - each chapter tackles a differnet topic and they are all 2 to 5 pages long at the most. Some are much more mathematical than others. Indeed, some seem to be only very remotely related to math which makes the subject for that chap...more

*of course*is why I read it straight through - no, seriously, it's less tiring than one great big book). I'd heard many of the things the title claims I "didn't know" before, and some of them are only very tangentially related to math, but it's well-written and fun to read anyway. I especially liked the Brit-centric writing; nonfiction books intended primarily for US audiences often have a certain air of hypersensitivity...more

Skim. Don't read. Definitely don't purchase.

Some of the explanations would have been easier to understand with a diagram, equation, or chart. And I think the author could have gone deeper on some topics.

http://www.odtmaps.com/pdf/popvillage...

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John D. Barrow is a professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

More about John D. Barrow...
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“Any universe simple enough to be understood is too simple to produce a mind able to understand it

-Barrow's Uncertainty Principle”
—
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-Barrow's Uncertainty Principle”

morehow come you skipped most of it? Sounds contradictory to be honestSep 19, 2014 08:47AM