- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; And ed. edition (28 Nov. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393003388
- ISBN-13: 978-0393003383
- Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.8 x 21.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 705,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Everything and More (Great Discoveries) Hardcover – 28 Nov 2003
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Everything and More is, in nearly every way, a gift. It's a thoughtful and witty 300-page testimonial to the qualities I never fully understood that mathematics possessed: Math is astonishing and full of 'shadowlands, ' and ultimately stunning beauty. --Anthony Doerr"
A gripping guide to the modern taming of the infinite.
[Wallace] brings to his task a refreshingly conversational style as well as a surprisingly authoritative command of mathematics....A success.--John Allen Paulos
Shockingly readable....A brilliant antidote both to boring math textbooks and to pop-culture math books that emphasize the discoverer over the discovery.
The best-selling author of Infinite Jest on the two-thousand-year-old quest to understand infinity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The book is peppered with the usual Wallace-isms of abbreivations, footnote, interludes and interpolations. The abbreviations were often unhelpful; the footnotes often very interesting. In some places his style makes the book very entertaining and in others infuriating.
Ultimately, I found this book an enjoyable read but mostly from the historical perspective. The technical content is variable and the really interesting stuff at the end is (perhaps necessarily) only given a very cursory discussion. I wouldn't recommend it for the layman, and it might annoy the expert, but I think there is fun to be had for those with a bit of background in the subject and a mind open to a pretty unique mode of presentation.
I find it difficult to see how someone without much maths could follow the book. 4 stars to compensate for the previous reviewer, who by her own admission read less that a sixth of the book.
There are many popular accounts of infinity, some very sound (eg Vilenkin), some attractive but containing serious errors (eg Maor), and some lame (which remain nameless). But Wallace has the knack of delivering ideas with stunning simplicity; and I found the book hard to put down, in much the same way that, as a schoolboy, I found Sawyer's 'Prelude to Mathematics' quite addictive. His style is chatty without being in the least patronising: indeed he occasionally resorts to schoolboy humour, perhaps rather smutty, but never offensive; and I found myself breaking into spontaneous laughter at times.
Mathematically the book is as ambitious as it could be without going into too much abstract symbolism, and any such book is bound to attract some criticism from specialists. Thus he talks intelligently about Zermelo, well-ordering, the Axiom of Choice, the Continuum Hypothesis,etc, and I applaud his achievement.
I have heard it suggested that this was a "spoof" book, in which case perhaps it succeeds. However, I bought the book on the basis that it was a serious attempt to tackle a serious subject, and apart from some lovely little gems (almost all in the first quarter of the book), was left somewhat dismayed.
If there was a 2 and a half star, I would probably have gone there instead of the 2, but there we have it.
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