James Nance's Reviews > The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

The Man of Numbers by Keith J. Devlin
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's review
Oct 08, 2011

it was amazing
Read from October 08 to 31, 2011

I had wanted to write this book. It needed to be written, because the Man of Numbers, Leonardo of Pisa - better known as Fibonacci - was one of the greatest mathematicians of the Middle Ages. We all use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system which he introduced and popularized c. 1200. Fibonacci is most famous for the sequence of numbers named for him, a sequence which is the solution to a story problem that he included in his seminal textbook Liber Abaci to give his readers practice with this 'new' number system. But despite all that we owe to him, Leonardo's story had not been told. That is, not until Keith Devlin came along and told it. And Devlin did it right. In this book we have all the available biographical details about Leonardo Pisano - his accomplishments, sources, and background information - to bring to life this under-recognized mathematical hero.

As I said, I had wanted to write this book. I had obtained a copy of the Liber Abaci. I had been studying Italian in preparation for a trip to Leonardo's locales. I had been reading other biographies about similar men to get a feel for what a good biography is. But that's all over now. I don't need to write anything. Everything that I had wanted to write, Devlin has written. And he did it better than I could have.

I guess I'll take a trip to Hawaii instead.
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07/28/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed Lang I love your comments Mr Nance. Enjoy Hawaii.

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