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Alex Through the Looking Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers, and Numbers Reflect Life [Kindle Edition]

Alex Bellos
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.99
Kindle Price: £5.39 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

From triangles, rotations and power laws, to fractals, cones and curves, bestselling author Alex Bellos takes you on a journey of mathematical discovery with his signature wit, engaging stories and limitless enthusiasm. As he narrates a series of eye-opening encounters with lively personalities all over the world, Alex demonstrates how numbers have come to be our friends, are fascinating and extremely accessible, and how they have changed our world.

He turns even the dreaded calculus into an easy-to-grasp mathematical exposition, and sifts through over 30,000 survey submissions to reveal the world's favourite number. In Germany, he meets the engineer who designed the first roller-coaster loop, whilst in India he joins the world's highly numerate community at the International Congress of Mathematicians. He explores the wonders behind the Game of Life program, and explains mathematical logic, growth and negative numbers. Stateside, he hangs out with a private detective in Oregon and meets the mathematician who looks for universes from his garage in Illinois.

Read this captivating book, and you won't realise that you're learning about complex concepts. Alex will get you hooked on maths as he delves deep into humankind's turbulent relationship with numbers, and proves just how much fun we can have with them.


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Review

See, numbers don't have to be scary (Evan Davis)

Another sparkling romp through the world of numbers, with the inimitable Alex Bellos as your friendly, informed, and crystal-clear guide. A brilliant successor to Alex in Numberland (Ian Stewart)

To read Alex Through the Looking-Glass is to have one's mind quietly but continually blown with the knowledge that the world, so seemingly complex, is constantly conforming to patterns ... Bright children, bored with the way maths is presented, will find plenty here to jolly up their calculus classes, while those with an in-depth mathematical education may still find new gems (Sunday Express)

Alex Bellos brings the quirks and eccentricities of numbers wonderfully to life ... Each chapter has its fair share of intriguing stories, which are always followed by plenty of equations and detailed explanations. In many ways, Bellos's books remind me of the writing of Martin Gardiner, who was one of the most prolific recreational mathematicians of the 20th century and who died in 2010 (Simon Singh, Observer)

The great moments in maths, it seems, are not contemplations of chilly glories, but small, satisfying discoveries, like getting a particularly clever cryptic crossword clue, it is this friendly approach to numbers that makes Bellos so approachable; he has a way of walking the reader through a problem ... If anything, Looking Glass is a better work than Numberland - it feels more immediate, more relevant and fun (Daily Telegraph)

Fresh, fascinating and endlessly charming. A splendiferous book altogether (Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back)

Bellos's book is sprinkled with similarly surprising revelations about familiar mathematical objects ... Bellos has a fantastic knack of making you feel as if you're sharing a room with these mathematical explorers (New Scientist)

If you're someone who has always considered maths dull or boring, think again. In this engaging journey of mathematical discover, Bellos travels around the world to prove that numbers are fun and have changed us in fascinating, often surprising ways (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

From the bestselling author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland, a dazzling new book that turns even the most complex maths into a brilliantly entertaining narrative

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I am someone who thinks they don't like maths.

Like, seriously, even basic multiplications with single numbers flummox me. But I do like books, and I like stories, and especially stories about people and places and the origins of things. So when someone suggested that I read this book (actually, someone suggested that I read the first book, which I did, and then I bought this second one of my own accord) I was delighted, becauase it delivered on all the things I do like (stories about people, places, and the origins of things), AND it succeeded in making me think that maths wasn't all that bad after all.

Bellos writes in a really friendly, intelligent, warm style. It's often humourous, and very clear when it comes to the maths bits.

It's presented really well - the book looks good on the page with great illustrations and graphs.

I'm still never going to run down the street proclaiming that I love maths, and I confess that I did sometimes skip over the harder maths bits (which pressumably clever maths-lovers will really enjoy) but I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in philosphy, history, people - and - mathematics!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Ball for a new generation 30 April 2014
Format:Hardcover
First of all, let me confess that I am scared of spreadsheets and bribe the Finance Director at work to help me with my budget. But, despite that, I think it's important not to let my own dyscalculia influence my daughter and this book has been a great ice-breaker. We've been dipping in and out of this book and talking about numbers which has been interesting and refreshing. It brings numbers to life in a way that maths homework and times tables don't.
The little video on You Tube about why number 7 is special is great too - my daughter even got the maths teacher at school to show it to the class!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maths made interesting... 30 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I failed my Maths's O'level twice,but not only did I not run mile, I was entertained by Alex's new book. This could give the image of Maths a much-needed make-over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every School Library should have a copy. 4 Nov. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In his latest book Alex Bellos devotes a chapter to each of the various fields of mathematics from basic principles through negative and imaginary numbers, trigonometry, calculus, and how they relate to real life events with which we are all familiar.
The unique feature of this book is that each chapter can be dipped into without having studied previous chapters. Publications on maths often qualify for the “most boring book of the year award”. This book is at the other end of the spectrum , amusing, entertaining and instructive and provides the reader with an excellent overall view of each topic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Bought this for my maths obsessed teenager. Big fan of his previous work. Not being quite as able as my son at maths this book is so well written and accessible that I can discuss maths with him, which is worth buying just for that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most interesting book I've read in ages 20 Aug. 2014
By Peter
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's no dumbing-down (and quite a few formulas) but it's still very accessible to anyone who once did o-level maths. I found the whole thing absolutely fascinating and constantly entertaining. Definitely recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff... 25 Aug. 2014
By Doddsy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book if you like maths. It has more hard sums than his previous book Alex in Numberland but most of the topics are very accessible. Read this and also How Not to be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 16 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
To me it brought back memories (and revision) of my early maths education. Recommend it to anyone interested in stats. etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Math for those who like it and for those who would like to like it.
Do you like math? A book for you. If you do not like math or have trouble with it read it. It will change, not your skills, but your understanding about it's importance.
Published 10 days ago by Zé
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed by both
Got this for 2 family members for Christmas. Contacted Alex Bellos through his website and he sent me 2 personal signatures for them which I attached to the books making them extra... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. J. M. Mundun
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fascinating read, very clear and interesting but doesn't shy away from the detail of the difficult bits.
Published 2 months ago by susanna taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A lively stimulating read.
Bought for my 60 year old husband who devoured every page, particularly complimented the clear division of topics within chapters, led to some interesting conversations.
Published 2 months ago by lizzie east mids
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good follow up to Adventures in Numberland
Published 5 months ago by Mrs Mc
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Inteersting and exactly what I wanted.
Published 5 months ago by TB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent read. Bellos has covered some very difficult subjects in an easily comprehensible style.
Published 7 months ago by JohnnySW4
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My grandson was really pleased to receive it.
Published 7 months ago by Irene D
1.0 out of 5 stars Still a good read but already read as "The grapes of math" ...
Unfortunately this is just the grapes of math in a different sleeve. I should have read the blurb more carefully. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Clare Coppack
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