Reading in Mathematics

November 20, 2012

I recently went to a math curriculum and my substitute, Courtney Biehl, informed me of an interesting book for reading for any individual who enjoys mathematics.  It is The Joy of x:  A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz.  A world-class mathematician and regular contributor to the New York Times hosts a delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, revealing how it connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture in ways we never imagined. 

Did O.J. do it?  How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it?  How does Google search the Internet?  How many people should you date before settling down?  Believe it or not, math plays a crucial role in answering all of these questions and more.

Math underpins everything in the cosmos, including us, yet too few of us understand this universal language well enough to revel in its wisdom, its beauty --- its joy.  This deeply enlightening, vastly entertaining volume translates math in a way that is at once intelligible and thrilling.  Each chapter of the book offers an "aha!" moment, starting with why numbers are so helpful, and progressing through the wondrous truths implicit in n, the Pythagorean theorem, irrationals, fat tails, even the rigors and surprising charms of calculus.  Strogatz presumes of his sreaders only curiosity and common sense.  Whether you aced integral calculus or aren't sure what an integer is, you'll find profound wisdom and persistent delight in this book.

(Book description from