Read it in college and it had a powerful effect on me. Mostly I liked it for the exposition of some interesting mathematics and fundamental physics. IRead it in college and it had a powerful effect on me. Mostly I liked it for the exposition of some interesting mathematics and fundamental physics. I found his ideas on AI intriguing, but to me they were never the main attraction here.

Probably had a lot of influence in moving me from physics to mathematics....more

A graduate student friend and I have spent the better part of our graduate careers going through Lam's A First Course in Noncommutative Rings. NeitherA graduate student friend and I have spent the better part of our graduate careers going through Lam's A First Course in Noncommutative Rings. Neither of us is a noncommutative ring theorist, so it was basically just a hobby for us (that's why it has taken so long). Actually we skipped a lot in both books (there is a lot there!). But we did enjoy them. This is not bedtime reading, but it has been a good introduction for us non-specialists....more

Good times spent with this book as an undergrad. For about a year I don't think I was seen without it. Still, I feel I barely scratched the surface ofGood times spent with this book as an undergrad. For about a year I don't think I was seen without it. Still, I feel I barely scratched the surface of it....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.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....more

Well, I got what I needed from it (namely to gain some understanding of the chain complexes that algebraists like to construct for groups). This bookWell, I got what I needed from it (namely to gain some understanding of the chain complexes that algebraists like to construct for groups). This book isn't exactly bed-time reading, but it is written pretty well. The introduction of spectral sequences was extremely terse....more

Written by a non-mathematician and as such has a couple of mathematical errors, but that is my only complaint. I thought this book was great. It's proWritten by a non-mathematician and as such has a couple of mathematical errors, but that is my only complaint. I thought this book was great. It's probably good that it was written by a non-mathematician so that the full human story could be told. Erdos was such a character. A very entertaining book....more

This book didn't quite fulfill my expectations of it. The cover flap promises much

Although mathematics developed along with civilization to help solveThis book didn't quite fulfill my expectations of it. The cover flap promises much

Although mathematics developed along with civilization to help solve practical problems, many people also found that numbers and shaper were fascinating in themselves and began to play with them for pleasure.

It goes on to say that this book explores this more recreational side of mathematics. The book however gets bogged down in defining numbers, telling where they come from, defining odd and even numbers, defining squares and rectangles, explaining that multiplication is commutative and by that time your half way therough the book and there hasn't been much recreation going on.

A strength of the book is that it encourages children to write simple computer programs to do a bit of recreational number theory. This part, I think, is great. I wish that the author had put more emphasis on this sort of thing: running numerical experiments, making guesses about things, making simple arguments to convince oneself that something is true (proofs, but not rigorous ones) and asking their own questions.

Another fault of the book is that there is technical jargon where it is unnecessary. For instance: "...the odd numbers in their proper order." Why doesn't he just say "the odd numbers in order."?

In the end I really like this book, but it I wish that it delivered better on it's promise: skip all the technical definitions. Show some fun examples of things and encourage kids to do mathematical experiments, ask questions for themselves and think about shapes and numbers and patterns for fun. This is a tall order, but I believe it's doable.

I just didn't get it. Maybe I didn't invest myself into it enough. Davis and Kirk say that every mathematician should read this book. Whatever (i.e. II just didn't get it. Maybe I didn't invest myself into it enough. Davis and Kirk say that every mathematician should read this book. Whatever (i.e. I disagree)....more

Spent some good days with this book as an undergraduate physics major. It's unique in that the pages appear to be perforated! As if they are meant toSpent some good days with this book as an undergraduate physics major. It's unique in that the pages appear to be perforated! As if they are meant to be torn out! A cruel commentary by the publisher? Or does this serve some other purpose?...more