I Want to Be a Mathematician: An Automathography
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I Want to Be a Mathematician: An Automathography

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  7 reviews
From the reviews: "...this is a fascinating addition to recent mathematical culture by one of its makers. The main message i absorbed from it was a set of conditions required for success in mathematics: talent, yes; single-mindedness, almost as obvious; sense of humour, essential when the going gets tough; and love, yes that is the right word - you must love mathematics, a...more
Hardcover, 421 pages
Published June 1st 1985 by Springer (first published May 17th 1985)
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The story of the professional life of one of the more successful mathematiticans of the mid-1900's. It gives interesting insight to the full career of a mathematician as well as some personality quirks of those Halmos came across. A few gems:

Littlewood's Zero-Infinity Law: If you get a request to referee a paper, decide to do it NOW or to refuse NOW (since you'll never do it). This makes everyone's lives better.

The Moore Method: Teaching by making the students come up with the proofs.

Some of the...more
This is an unusual book (its declared genre is "automathography"!) by someone who wanted to be a mathematician. I am glad I managed to read this book from cover to cover, although Halmos (for whom I had some admiration in my salad days) proved [no pun] to be irritating every now and then.

I was undecided between giving this book 3 or 4 stars, but I finally opted for 3. Still, it's a book I'd recommend any professional mathematician to read.
Premal Vora
Give this book to every newly-minted Ph.D. who joins academia as there is a vast amount of wisdom in here on the three cornerstones of an academic career: teaching, research, and service. I wish someone would've given me this book because I had to learn most of what's in here the hard way. There is no mathematics in here. It's the story of an immigrant to the U.S. who accidentally became a mathematician. It follows his career and the colorful mathematics personalities that he encounters. But mor...more
I read this when I was making my big transition from saying "I want to be a physicist," to " I want to be a mathematician." Halmos is a great writer. He gives a really good idea of what it is like to be a mathematician.
Long Mai
The best book I have ever read about mathematician. It's real, but inspired. I want to be a mathematician after reading this book.
Ranjith Kumar
Aug 06, 2007 Ranjith Kumar marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read
don't read. Realize it
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