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Pythagoras: His Lives And The Legacy Of A Rational Universe
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Pythagoras: His Lives And The Legacy Of A Rational Universe

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  52 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This is the story of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, whose insights transformed the ancient world and still inspire the realms of science, mathematics, philosophy and the arts. Einstein said that the most incredible thing about our universe was that it was comprehensible at all. As Kitty Ferguson explains, Pythagoras had much the same idea - but 2,500 years earlier. ...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Icon Books
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Glenn Myers
Gazing over Kitty Ferguson's mind - as this book allows you to do -- is a bit like looking at the Himalayas from a Nepali tea-shop. You're already in rarefied air, but the view goes on seemingly for ever, higher and higher. I am a fan.

This book is about Pythagoras, the tiny amount that is truly known about him (quite a bit of which is about beans), and the way a key shred of his thought has twisted, turned and grown through history. That shred of thought is that the universe is rational and math
...more
Cathy Graham
Oct 02, 2016 Cathy Graham rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, and definitely want to read more by the author. I think I would have found an appendix with a potted history of the characters helpful, with their main contributions , especially as I'm useless on remembering Greek names! Also a time line. Would recommend.
Cooper Renner
Stopped about halfway through, by the time the survey reached Rome. I was mostly interested into the information on Pythagoras himself and the other early Greek philosophers.
Stephen Marte
Sep 04, 2013 Stephen Marte rated it really liked it
I read this book as part of the research I'm doing for the next book in my historical fiction series titled, 'The Wandering King.'

My characters happen to encounter Pythagoras as they venture from Greece to Sicily where they intend on building a new colony. Along the way they stop in southern Italy at the city of Croton where Pythagoras lived and taught. In his book 'The History,' Herodotus mentions how my character, the Spartan prince Dorieus (brother of Leonidas), got involved in a war between
...more
Adrian
May 28, 2012 Adrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hats off to the author for managing to write so much about a man about which so little is known.

I was expecting a heavy mathemetical slant. And, as a (lapsed) mathematician, was looking forward to it. However, as you progress, it increasingly becomes more about the people trying to find the truth about Pythagoras, rather than the man himself. This was not a bad thing and using the timeline of how people viewed him (and his ideas) as a structure worked well.

It soon became clear that my own 'knowl
...more
Doug Newdick
I was attracted to the premise of the boook: that the legacy of Pythagoras - a way of viewing the world as being fundamentally describable with mathematics - imbued much of our modern culture and science. However the execution left a lot to be desired. A long rambling narrative about people who had claimed to be Pythagoreans through history which obscured the wood with the trees was the major issue. An incoherent superficial discussion of modern philosophy, quantum mechanics and postmodernism ...more
So Hakim
Aug 19, 2015 So Hakim rated it really liked it
A book about Pythagoras, and how his teaching influenced subsequent development of science. Pythagoras was the Greek philosopher who claimed that "all is number"; this, in turn, inspired our modern idea of doing science. (i.e. using mathematical model to describe reality)

The approach is decidedly popular -- explaining "the big picture" from about 6th century BC up to 20th century. Pretty dense, running out of steam in the end, but otherwise excellent.

Recommended for those interested in history o
...more
Geoff Crowe
Feb 15, 2016 Geoff Crowe rated it did not like it
Second attempt and still this book doesnt get me in. The author rambles along in the early chapters and i found myself lising interest in a subject I expected would be fascinating given the importance if Pythagorus.

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Kitty Ferguson, a former professional musician with a life long interest in science, is an independent scholar and lecturer who lives in Cambridge, England, and South Carolina.
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