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As Easy As Pi: Stuff about numbers that isn't (just) maths Hardcover – 11 Jun 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Michael O'Mara (11 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843173557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843173557
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fascinating... as much for those who hated maths at school as it is for those who love numbers (The Lady)

A fab gift for anyone who loves facts and figures about numbers. It'll keep anoraks like me amused for hours. I loved it! (Now)

A hotchpotch of facts about numbers.. interesting in the Stephen Fry style (Irish Examiner)

An entertaining and accessible introduction to the world of numbers... offers a selection of offbeat information to delight any enthusiast of the subject (Waterstones Books Quarterly)

Buchan explores [numbers'] inescapable influence in everything... Astonishingly comprehensive for its size, this little book is wonderfully addictive (The Good Book Guide)

About the Author

Jamie Buchan, formerly a Queen's Scholar of Westminster School and now an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh, has always been interested by the mathematical and cultural significance of numbers. He is a great-grandson of the writer and statesman John Buchan (first Lord Tweedsmuir), whose definitive thrillers, among them The Thirty-Nine Steps and Greenmantle, have been bestsellers for many years; The Thirty-Nine Steps has been filmed three times - memorably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, with Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. A nephew of the highly regarded novelist James Buchan and the gardening writer and journalist Ursula Buchan, he is also related to the bestselling novelist Elizabeth Buchan. In short, books are in his blood, although he makes no claim for his own writing as against the works of his distinguished relations. This, his first book, shows that numbers are also in his blood; not only did John Buchan write The Thirty-Nine Steps, but among his other novels are The Three Hostages and The House of the Four Winds.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book about maths it's about numbers. It's another in the series of little hardback books that give you the interesting stuff from schooldays plus a bit more. So yes, some maths do appear but so do numerology, discussions about why certain numbers are lucky or unlucky in certain cultures, an entertaining round-up of film and book titles and popular phrases where numbers appear, explanations of the Golden Rectangle and the Fibonacci sequence that actually help the reader understand them, and a number of other short tours of the worlds of numbers.
I hated maths at school, I wasn't good at it and I never thought it would interest me. I got this book because I have others in the series and found them readable and informative, and with pleased surprise can report that this one is just as good.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw the title to this book shortly after I had been told that one of my grandchildren had learned Pi to 36 decimal places. I was familiar with the series so without knowing anything more about the book than its title I ordered it. It has excited three of them (ages 7-12)and they love to demonstrate to me not only that they have looked at the book but that they have learned something from it! A book that achieves a result like that does not need a review!
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Format: Hardcover
There are many better maths related books than this out there, indeed the "author" cites quite a few of them (Why do buses always come in threes etc) and it has to be said that the layout and design is a bit haphazard. When discussing the significance of certain numbers he doesn't mention 69 for instance (eh?) and this just comes across as another attempt at cashing in on the increased interest in things mathematic (at a certain level)
Sure I learned a couple of new things here but there are websites that cover a lot of this stuff a lot better and obviously a lot cheaper.
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Format: Hardcover
Having always been a bit of a maths geek and after reading other books in this series I thought that this one was worth a look too. It includes all kinds of entertaining trivia on numbers, from uses in TV programmes (the fake telephone number section is funny) to the role of numbers in religion. I found it quite educational and my parents also really liked it.
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Format: Hardcover
My maths knowledge is not great - in fact ratios bring me out in a cold sweat!
But this book really is interesting........not boring sums and stuff this really does make numbers fun!
As an example - 7 - why is the number 7 everywhere........7 Deadly Sins, 7 Heavenly Virtues, 7 Wonders of The World - this book will tell you!
Also 666 the number of the beast - can you believe there was a highway in the USA numbered 666 - its now the 491!
Well worth a look.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author has produced a very clear and detailed explanation of numbers and how they evolved over many centuries into the form we have today. He also explains very well the influence of numbers on many aspects of our daily lives. An interesting and enlightening book that is well worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm no genius but I am a bit of a geek and an avid collector of 'interesting' facts. I read a lot and intersperse novels with factual books, often history. In this case, I tried a maths book and, wow, I'm glad that I did. Ever since school I've been fascinated with 'the golden rectangle' and its associated elements so I was delighted to find everything about that phenomenon set out here in an easy to understand format.

This isn't a text book of any kind; it's a fantastic collection of facts about numbers written in a style that is really engrossing. This is, definitely, a book to read fully (it's short so it doesn't take long) and then to dip into over and over again. So the next time you can't remember what Roman numerals mean, dip into this. Or why is the number four unlucky in China?. Dip in. How many zeros are there in a million? Dip in. By the way, I have my own fact about 'millions and billions' that's not included in the book that, I think, gives maths numpties like me an idea of what a billion is. If you were locked in your room for a million minutes then you would be there for about 11 1/2 days. If you were locked in for a billion minutes, how long would you be there? (answer below).

There's some good stuff about statistics as well as something on the American 'numbers' racket but I'm surprised that there is nothing about the British lottery as there's lots of material there (the odds of winning £10 are about the same as drawing the ace of spades from a deck of cards first time). Or about those fairground games where you throw darts at cards or roll a coin down a chute.

None of this was too difficult for me to understand or find fascinating so, trust me, it won't be for you either. This is a great bit of entertainment and, hey, you learn something too!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
... I had hoped for a book that would discuss/explain the patterns in maths and numbers, an everyman's guide to the science of maths and how number theory works etc., but that doesn't feature much.

Unfortunately, a lot of the book (which all seems a bit of a mix) is just about particular numbers in a way that is nothing to do with 'popular science', but is just trivia. For example, it explains that telecoms companies in the USA have agreed not to issue some batches of phone numbers so that they can be reserved for use in TV shows or films etc. What has that got to do with maths or numbers?!

It does touch on the 'popular science' of maths, but only briefly. It's more a book of numbers trivia.
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