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on 5 December 2015
DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE EDITION OF THIS BOOK.!
Thebook is fine but Kindle mangles it. MAny of the equations do not come up astext but as images too small to read and impossibel to enlarge. These that do come up in the text frequently do not reproduce the greek characters. I am trying to get my money back. This ort ofthing is a frequent occurrence on Kindle editions of tecnical books . Amazon should issue a health warning.
BBy all means buy the book but get the print edition.
3 people found this helpful
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on 10 November 2012
I accept the comments from other reviewers - you do have to work through this book. Whilst with other 'wow' mathematical books (such as Derbyshire's Prime Obsession) which have a quaint way of alternating chapters mixing textual historical discussion with deeper mathematical proof, this book hopes that you'll stick with it and explore as you proceed. Please stick with it or at least jump over the more complex algorithmic proofs and taste the beauty from every page as it enfolds. I love re-reading sections especially the 'discovery' of the uses of i and what i^i "means". I would encourage Oxbridge applicants to read this as a good text to discuss in (hopeful) subsequent interviews (Prime Obsession is a another choice). EXCELLENT
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on 8 February 2008
If I had never read any of Eli Maor's excellent books I would have scored this book as 5 stars. It is a very good book that guides you through a series of difficult mathematical concepts without being a textbook. It is very readable, but it is peppered with 'roadblocks' where you suddenly have to pay a lot more attention, and possibly re-read sections, before you can proceed. It also, despite being a new 'bugs removed' edition, has at least one grammatical error which makes a paragraph hard to follow.

Having said all that, it really is a very good book. It is just that I have been spoiled by Eli Maor's books, which cover similar ground (trigonometry, e) in a similar way (history, characters, mathematical ideas, related concepts), but manage to make it an effortless joy for the reader. This book somehow never became a joy to read.
12 people found this helpful
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on 13 January 2014
This is a fascinating book but the Kindle edition does not do it justice for two main reasons. The first concerns the presentation of mathematical formulae: where these appear within the script they are almost invariably (and unnecessarily) shown as superscripts, and where they appear on separate lines they are in a small size font that is difficult to read. Secondly, there are typographical errors, the most serious of which relate to the Greek letter theta, which is used extensively as a mathematical symbol throughout the book: however, in about half of the places where the theta symbol should appear it is missing - there is a blank space, or not even a blank space. As a result the sentence or formula is incomprehensible.

The Kindle edition needs to be re-edited by someone who understands both mathematics and typography.
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on 28 October 2015
This is an excellent book! However,I am not quite sure to whom it will appeal.
I am a retired academic with a D Phil in Maths & Astronomy. ,I did enjoy the book, because it
brought back memories from my student days The historical information is invaluable, and so are
derivations of formulae as Euler, Gauss etc have made them.
Obviously, I had forgotten quite a bit, especially the substitution,tricks used to transform integrals
which I have had no opportunity to apply since the late 70s.
A thoroughly enjoyable book! (for me)
Will
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on 10 January 2011
As with most of the other reviews I found this book very interesting with lots of intriguing detail and no desire to avoid the maths.

Nahin's book "Dr Euler's Fabulous Formula" can be similarly recommended.

A word of warning. I made the mistake of buying the Kindle edition which is poorly typeset and has very low quality graphics used to render the equations. Typical of examples I have found so far are a multiplication sign replaced by a minus sign, square root symbol replaced by a "V" and so on. All of this interferes with the flow of thought while reading and I am reasonably sure does not exist in the paper version.

The 5 star rating is for the author's intended version of the book and certainly not for the Kindle production of it.
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on 30 May 2013
Very readable book going through the history of "i". Some very interesting details are given that one doesn't normally come across in textbooks or courses (given the fact that you're normally ploughing through the material at breakneck speed and don't always have the time to consider these interesting little nuggets or the history).

I would recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in maths/physics
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on 25 February 2014
I didn't feel that I learned much that I didn't already know, but I did enjoy the text. The author is happy to present the mathematics in mathematical symbols but doesn't overload the text. It is accessible and I did enjoy it.
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on 20 October 2014
This is a great book about a subject I initially thought completely illogical but have ended up realising makes more sense than negative or irrational numbers. Not overly advanced mathematically but certainly challenging for my A level knowledge. I had to read most of it twice but the book nor I are any worse for the experience. Recommended.
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on 8 October 2015
Too advanced for me. Got A level maths, but too rusty. Some good historical background.
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