Paul Erdos was a unique individual. He never had a permanent residence; instead, he traveled from one mathematics conference to another with his few earthly belongings in two suitcases, one which held a few changes of clothes, the other a treasure of mathematics papers. He collaborated with mathematicians everywhere; the extent of these collaborations is so immense it gave rise to the Erdos number, which is this: You have an Erdos number of 1 if you co-authored a paper with Erdos, your Erdos number is 2 if you co-authored a paper with someone who jointly wrote a paper with Erdos, etc. About 500 people have an Erdos number of 1 and well over 5000 hold the Erdos number of 2. Erdos numbers go as high as 16 and the number of people with an Erdos number is said to be well above 100,000.
Stories about Erdos abound. It is rumored that he walked into a classroom, saw some writing on a chalkboard and asked if this was mathematics. Upon receiving an affirmative answer, he then asked what the various symbols were. Immediately after the explanations were given, Erdos took chalk in hand and in two lines proved the hypothesis that had baffled other mathematicians for some time, and this was in a field of mathematics that Erdos was largely unfamiliar with! Another story had Erdos taking a train fron Boston to New York; across the aisle sat a beautiful female who said "hello" to him. One thing led to another; by the time the train arrived the two of them had written a paper!
This book covered much of the life and mathematics of Paul Erdos; much of the mathematics in the book is number theory because it is a topic that is easy for anyone to understand yet difficult to prove. A typical example is Goldbach's conjecture, which says: "Any even number greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers." Sounds simple enough and logical; 4=2+2, 6=3+3, 8=3+5,10=5+5 or 3+7,... The problem has been around for about 300 years but as yet lacks a proof. Other mathematics topics touched upon include Ramsey theory, the division of a square into unequal squares, and Godel's Incompleteness Theory. The book also shows the strange language of Erdos, in which women were 'bosses', men were 'slaves', the United States was 'Sam' (from Uncle Sam), and the Soviet Union was 'Joe' (Stalin), to list a few of his own variations of English.
This book is easy to read, even if the reader has only a high-school background in mathematics. If you are curious about mathematics and/or human nature, you will find this book of great interest. I highly recommend this book.