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On Numbers and Games

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  91 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
ONAG, as the book is commonly known, is one of those rare publications that sprang to life in a moment of creative energy and has remained influential for over a quarter of a century. Originally written to define the relation between the theories of transfinite numbers and mathematical games, the resulting work is a mathematically sophisticated but eminently enjoyable guid ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 11th 2000 by A K PETERS (first published 1976)
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Sep 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: math
I was really excited to read this book and I started off with the first section which presented surreal numbers. I even broke out the pen and paper to follow along. Unfortunately, I was lost amid the imprecise descriptions and possible errors.

Fortunately, the author had written earlier that the second part was readable without the first, and since my interest was in the applicability of surreal numbers to games, I tried that.

Unfortunately, that too did not work. The author seemed to make mistake
Jun 09, 2012 marked it as to-read
Absolutely brilliant. And it has a chapter zero!

Breathtaking volumes of ideas packed into such short paragraphs that deciphering one of them can take you a week.
David Hildebrand
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Conway's approach to foundations is frustratingly poorly ordered and I urge readers to look at the appendix to section 0 first. After skimming the book once it becomes extremely lucid and insightful if not haphazard. Truly a mathematical classic.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mathematics
I was initially interested in this book for surreal numbers, but I ended up reading a lot about games too. It's a very exciting book, full of new ideas. The tone is a pretty informal, and I think it could do with more rigor and exercises, but as a light introduction, it does a great job.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-book
Don't know as I can say that I fully understood this book, but I am certainly done with it. I can see how it has earned such a high position in the canon of game literature.
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John Horton Conway is a Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University.

Often credited as "John H. Conway".