Buy Used
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by bookdonors
Condition: Used: Very Good
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Coincidences, Chaos and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas Paperback – 17 Oct 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 17 Oct 2006
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New Ed edition (17 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393329313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393329315
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,600,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


I once had a math teacher who used to throw books at us. If only this had been one of them.--Ben Longstaff

Informative, intelligent, and refreshingly irreverent. A roller-coaster ride along the frontiers of today s mathematics, and anyone can climb on board. I enjoyed it immensely.--Ian Stewart, author of Flatterland"

About the Author

Edward B. Burger is professor of mathematics and chair at Williams College. He has won several prestigious teaching and writing awards from the Mathematical Association of America. He lives in Massachusetts. Michael Starbird is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of UT's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He lives in Texas.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I recently purchased another math text with a view to owning a book concerning interesting issues in the area of mathematics. That title proved a little complex and probably more suited to a math expert rather than an interested outsider like myself.
Starbird and Burger's text is an excellent overview of current issues in mathematics and statistics, with some interesting insight as to how mathematics is (1) a surprisingly large part of everyday life and (2) a very interesting exercise in understanding quite complex ideas.
While the book is a slow starter, and may appear a little simplistic initally, it soon grows into a very interesting read in a variety of subject areas.
Some personal favorite subjects covered are:
* Intuition versus reality - folding paper and fitting all humankind into a box
* Making sense of data - some great stats examples of why to be careful when interpreting infomation
* A great explanation of the fourth dimension
The books illustrations are a big bonus, with some in particular making the subject matter much easier to digest (e.g. cards on a table edge, the fourth dimension)
A great book for those who love mathematics, but are perhaps stronger conceptually than thay may be in the mechanics of the subject.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Every time I browse in a bookshop (real or vitual) I always hope I will find a book that allows me to understand ideas that I was previously ignorant of, or that I failed to fully understand the first time around. I believe that Burger and Starbird's book definitelty falls into this exclusive catagory.

If I had to recommend a formal study guide for maths - I would go for K A Stroud's Engineering Mathematics series but for those interested in recreational maths - I've yet to find anything to better "Coincidences Chaos and All That Maths Jazz".

I believe that the authors are to be congratulated for making potentially complex mathematical ideas readily understandable to those with only a basic (or rusty) knowledge of the subject - I even managed to use this book for bedtime reading - a slot I usually reserve for novels.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Amazing and interesting book for mathematicians and non mathematicians alike. Thorough explanations and well written. Funny and a very entertaining read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinwheel Tiling, Folded Dragons, And The Unknot 21 Feb. 2008
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Starbird and Edward Burger have created a duality in this book. On one hand it is a masterpiece of clearly explained math for the non-technically inclined, on the other hand it is a concise summary of some of the most complex mathematical concepts in the contemporary world. The ability to explain extraordinarily complex subjects in clear, nontechnical terms and using interesting and often amusing examples is what truly sets this book apart from most any other math book.

I like math, and was a relatively good math student, but I never really understood many of the subtleties underlying advanced mathematical principles; rather, I just memorized them as a chore, and applied them. No more. This book has helped open my eyes to some of the mathematical world's underlying beauty and mystery.

The book ranges widely over numerous subjects, but the ones I found most interesting were the discussions of chaos theory, the aesthetics of the Golden Ratio (and Fibonacci numbers), and the peculiarities and curiosities of topology. Using examples that are deceptively simple, like paper folding ("Origami For The Origamically Challenged"), ancient Greek architecture and the related "Golden Rectangles" ("Their proportions are breathtaking to behold. Such a rectangle is the quintessence of rectangularity, the sine qua non of rectangleosity, the sexiest rectangle ever."), pineapples, and tavern puzzles, Starbird and Burger manage to simultaneously entertain and educate any audience, regardless of previous mathematical proclivities.

The authors have a great sense of fun, clearly love writing, teaching, and entertaining, and they are never above poking fun at themselves, as in this example from a discussion of the topology of knots: "A mathematical knot is simply a closed loop of string that may or may not be knotted. The simplest knot is a loop that contains no knot at all and is called the unknot. (The fact that the math community refers to the unknot as a knot is reason #73 why people tend to avoid socializing with mathematicians.)"

I love this book, and found eminently readable, enjoyable, and educational. As an aside, I have previously watched (and reviewed) Dr. Starbird's "Meaning From Data: Statistics Made Clear" on DVD, and highly endorse that as well. Clearly Starbird and Burger are talented mathematicians, brilliant minds, and great teachers: I wish I had had math teachers like them. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Math is a numerical representation of life ... no doubt about it ! 2 Jan. 2007
By UL - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a math freak ! I have always awed math and admired mathematicians for the ability they have ! so i got this book because all reviews said this was a light hearty read .... and none of those reviews were wrong .

The chapter on chaos theory was the best I read ... made me think so much about how human life and its eventual end can be put into context by studying the chaos theory of math.

Its definitely a good book to have for now and for future generations so they dont grow up fearing math but rather enjoying its magic !
5.0 out of 5 stars fun with math 8 Feb. 2010
By ralph hart - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who thinks that mathematics is dull or that mathematicians cannot write with eloquence, humor and wit should read this book. They will be suprised. Many parts would even suit some kids as young as ten or twelve years old. This book has kept me up late many nights.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Math made fun 16 Oct. 2005
By Dad24sons - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brilliantly written book, where difficult math concepts are made simple but are not oversimplified. The writing is clear and spiced with humor---sometimes silly, but always appropriate. The analogies with everyday life and with art and architecture are eye-opening. In all, this is a book for every intelligent human being who wants to include mathematics as a necessary part of his/her life. Students at Williams College and the University of Texas, where the authors teach, are highly fortunate to have such worldly mathematicians as mentors.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coincidences,Chaos,and All That Math Jazz 6 Mar. 2008
By Priscilla R. Szabo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived on time and perfect condition.It uses easy language for serious subject, entertaining and teatching.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know