Pierre's Reviews > Mathematics 1001: Absolutely Everything That Matters in Mathematics in 1001 Bite-Sized Explanations

Mathematics 1001 by Richard Elwes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: math, librarybook

This is probably the most comprehensive book on mathematics for the well-educated lay person that I have ever read. In fact, I would recommend this book as a way to refresh one's recollection of basic mathematics, geometry, algebra, trig, and calculus. It isn't a substitute for solving problems, but it is the only book that I know that explains number theory and calculus and advanced topics in a manner accessible to a layperson. For example, the author discusses matrices, manifolds and group theory simply enough for a reader to understand the concept that space-time is a lie group.

The book is an absolutely fascinating read. It delves into obscure topics like iterated powers (2 to the second power raised to the second power raised to the second power) and very large numbers like TREE 3.

Although you can skip around topics, I found it beneficial to read the book cover to cover, since he explains and then builds upon concepts.

For easier topics like algebra and calculus, he develops and explains the mathematical logic using very well explained proofs using symbols, graphs and plain english. For more advanced topics, he does informal proofs without too many confusing mathematical symbols. Sometimes very advanced and cutting edge topics are only described, and the math is left out, which is frustrating...

Even though this is a five star book, there are some flaws. The book has a very nice synopsis of physics based math, but does short shrift to other sciences, like biology and chemistry. And topics in the humanities and economics are almost completely ignored, except for a brief explanation of game theory. If these practical math chapters were better fleshed out, the book would be even more amazing. It would be nice if there would have been a CD with some extra content...if ever a book could use a pocket part, it would be this one!

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
April 20, 2011 – Shelved
April 20, 2011 – Shelved as: math
April 20, 2011 – Shelved as: librarybook

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