Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Start by marking “Here's Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math” as Want to Read:

Enlarge cover

# Here's Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math

by
Alex Bellos (Goodreads Author)

Too often math gets a bad rap, characterized as dry and difficult. But, Alex Bellos says, "math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative. Mathematical thought is one of the great achievements of the human race, and arguably the foundation of all human progress. The world of mathematics is a remarkable place."

Bellos has traveled all around the globe and has plunged into hi...more

Bellos has traveled all around the globe and has plunged into hi...more

ebook, 336 pages

Published
June 15th 2010
by Free Press
(first published 2010)

## Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book,
please sign up.

## Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about
Here's Looking at Euclid,
please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Here's Looking at Euclid

This book is not yet featured on Listopia.
Add this book to your favorite list »

## Community Reviews

(showing
1-30
of
3,000)

I have a degree in mathematics, but there were many things in the book that were new to me, and some that made my jaw drop. My feeling is though, that any...more

The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let's face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks.

This is how the blurb on the back cover starts.

*Alex's Adventures in Numberland*isn't quite as awful as that suggests, but it's very apparent Bellos is a journalist, not a mathematician. He shares with most of his colleagues a subconscious but profound contempt of experts (to his credit, at least it

*is*subconscious), an inability to distinguish substance and le...more

May 27, 2011
Brian Sison
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
math-science,
non-fiction

This is a great book that delves into the fascinating history of math. Stops along the way include the advent of zero, the use of the abacus and the sliderule, the search for the trillionth decimal in pi, the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio, fractals, varying levels of infiniti, counting cards in blackjack, the definition of what's "normal", and straight lines that aren't straight.

Unlike some books that try to cover so many topics, Bellos goes into enough depth in each chapter to educate, e...more

Unlike some books that try to cover so many topics, Bellos goes into enough depth in each chapter to educate, e...more

I've been spending the summer feeling like one of the teachers from Pink Floyd's The Wall, forcing my 12 year old to study Algebra in preparation for next school year. It's been shear hell for both of us. Neither of us likes math, but I'm a really stubborn woman & I've been seeking sources that will make math & algebra more accessible, more understandable, maybe even interesting. Who...more

Sep 24, 2014
Aamil Syed
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
130-challenge,
non-fiction

This is a fabulous chronicle of the most esoteric subject in existence!

Alex Bellos is witty, serious, engaging and if I may say so, utterly charming in his narration of the history of mathematics. He has organized the book in the way that allows him to be chronological while also taking diversions from time to time to connect with what's happening now in the field of mathematics.

He begins with a systematic exposition of the idea of numbers and the need for them and progresses steadily at a reall...more

Alex Bellos is witty, serious, engaging and if I may say so, utterly charming in his narration of the history of mathematics. He has organized the book in the way that allows him to be chronological while also taking diversions from time to time to connect with what's happening now in the field of mathematics.

He begins with a systematic exposition of the idea of numbers and the need for them and progresses steadily at a reall...more

Oct 04, 2013
Barbara
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
curious, interested people

Recommended to Barbara by:
My Mommie

A bouncy and fascinating history of math.......but that's just the start.

Mr. Bellos also weaves in studies and observations about how math wires the brain, and how children in some cultures learn to count earlier because of the names of numbers.

This is a very interesting and inspiring book, especially for those of us who think in words, not numbers, but who are interested in the very act and method of thinking.

Mr. Bellos also weaves in studies and observations about how math wires the brain, and how children in some cultures learn to count earlier because of the names of numbers.

This is a very interesting and inspiring book, especially for those of us who think in words, not numbers, but who are interested in the very act and method of thinking.

Apr 14, 2014
Ellen
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommended to Ellen by:
Gift from Trevor's parents, apparently

Shelves:
gave-away

This book was decent. Lots of anecdotes about math history or culture interspersed with 'interesting' mathematical properties and trivia.

Unfortunately, the target audience is a bit unclear. The book seems to assume readers are unfamiliar with a lot of relatively basic math concepts, including logarithms, probability, and the Fibonacci sequence. But I would expect that the sort of people who would want to read a book about math trivia in the first place are already going to be fairly well-educate...more

Unfortunately, the target audience is a bit unclear. The book seems to assume readers are unfamiliar with a lot of relatively basic math concepts, including logarithms, probability, and the Fibonacci sequence. But I would expect that the sort of people who would want to read a book about math trivia in the first place are already going to be fairly well-educate...more

Jul 26, 2012
Cassandra Kay Silva
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
mathematics

A very delightful approach to mathematics. It was lighthearted and touched on subjects that would interest most audiences. I think the statistical gambling section would be of particular interest to a few friends of mine and I will have to pass along at least these sections.

Just a couple of notes:

- The first few chapters are about numbers, not really "math".

- A lot of the book is about the authors interactions with other people in many diverse fields, I really enjoyed them. You may not if you're just looking for Math.

- The Book is very well organized, which really enhances the reading experience.

- The Book can be really dumbed down somet...more

Jul 23, 2014
Marcy Stearns
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
ed-or-ceu,
summer-2014

I enjoyed getting to know mathematics better through this book.

I liked the first chapter, with its anthropological point of view to mathematics. Of the others, the best part of the book was the last chapter about Cantor's theorems. His beautiful proofs still illuminate any book;...more

Bellos does a lively romp through various everyday (and some not so everyday) things with little resort to heavy equations or other soporific or brain-wrenching stuff. He covers sudoku, magic squares, number sequences, the probability and statistics of gambling and betting systems, pi and transcenden...more

The book starts with humans and how we count, back to tribal man and his “1,2 and many” through to the first counting techniqu...more

Feb 25, 2013
Ashley
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
2013-books,
non-fiction

In school, some parts of math were fascinating the me (algebra - everything balances!) and other not so much (geometry - boo for proofs). Bellos makes it all interesting by taking a very journalistic approach to the subject and is unafraid to gloss over some of the more eye-glazing parts. Covering everything from the cultural use of numbers (some cultures don't have numbers for anything over about 4) to zero to infinity.

Some interesting facts:

- We tend to see the world from the POV of a logarit...more

Some interesting facts:

- We tend to see the world from the POV of a logarit...more

*Here's Looking at Euclid*, a self-proclaimed "Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math" delivers on its promise. You'll meet the numerologist who persuaded Puff Daddy to change his name, a Romanian probability theorist who parlayed his know-how into enough lotteries wins to fund an early retirement in the South Pacific, and the nine-year-old Japanese prodigy who can play a speed-gam...more

But I

*loved*this book!

Part of the appeal of the book is its author. I am convinced that Alex Bellos could make anything interesting. He is a gifted w...more

*Adventures in Numberland*was a bit odd then, less a book exploring in greater depth the topics in includes, more a series of chapters like TV documentaries wh...more

*Guardian*, ma ha una laurea in matematica e informatica, almeno secondo quanto afferma lui stesso in questo libro. L'idea di base del libro è così quella di parlare di matematica come se si dovesse fare un report giornalistico. Indubbiamente, anche se il materiale è lo stesso che si trova in altri libri divulgativi, la presentazione è sicuramente diversa: la cosa può risultare interessante non solo per il lettore casuale che di queste cose non ne sa mol...more

Aug 05, 2012
Elizabeth McDonald
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction

Excellent, approachable non-fiction writing which combines history of math with actual mathematical concepts. Bellos addresses a different mathematical concept in each chapter, telling about its discovery, explaining how it works, and making you laugh at the same time. He consulted a variety of experts, from a linguist who studies Amazon tribes that only have words for numbers up to 4, to a Hollywood numerologist, to the man with the most impressive slide rule collection in Britain. Although I h...more

There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Be the first to start one »

"I was born in Oxford and grew up in Edinburgh and Southampton. After studying mathematics and philosophy at university I joined the Evening Argus in Brighton as a trainee reporter. I joined the Guardian in 1994 as a reporter and in 1998 moved to Rio de Janeiro, where I spent five years as the paper’s South America correspondent. Since 2003 I have lived in London, as a freelance writer and broadca...more

More about Alex Bellos...
## Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Mathematicians have, according to Wright, been "unreasonably successful" in finding applications to apparently useless theorems, and often years after the theorems were first discovered.”
—
1 likes

More quotes…