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The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life Hardcover – 10 Jun 2014

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (10 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451640099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451640090
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Another sparkling romp through the world of numbers, with the inimitable Alex Bellos as your friendly, informed, and crystal-clear guide. A brilliant successor to Here's Looking at Euclid."--Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics, University of Warwick, and author of Visions of Infinity

"Love the book! Fresh, fascinating and endlessly charming. A splendiferous book altogether."--Tim Harford, Financial Times, author of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

"See, numbers don't have to be scary!"--Evan Davis

"Alex Bellos' "The Grapes of Math" is a delicious grab bag of mathematical miscellany that includes Benford's law, fractals, exponentials and imaginary numbers, the Game of Life, among many other goodies, all presented in a most entertaining style. Both fun and instructive."--John Allen Paulos is the author of several books including Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

"Alex Bellos "The Grapes of Math" is a delicious grab bag of mathematical miscellany that includes Benford s law, fractals, exponentials and imaginary numbers, the Game of Life, among many other goodies, all presented in a most entertaining style. Both fun and instructive."--John Allen Paulos is the author of several books including Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper"

"Think of the best storyteller you know and the coolest teacher you ever had, and now you ve got some idea of what Alex Bellos is like. His Grapes of Math taught me something new on every page. Better yet, it made me laugh and want to tell someone what I d just read. Math has never been so much fun."--Steven Strogatz, professor of applied mathematics, Cornell University, and author, The Joy of x" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Readers ought to be warned that this title The Grapes of Math is the same book as Alex thought the Looking-glass - How life reflects numbers and numbers reflect life. I nearly bought it because I like his other two books very much and then realized by looking at the contents that it was in fact the same book with a different title. I really think this should be made clear in the blurb by the publisher.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good book but sadly it's a different and poorer quality publication of "Alex Through The Looking Glass" which I bought earlier in the year. I'll look more carefully at the Amazon blurb before I buy in future. The original book is good and foolows on well from "Alex Through The Looking Glass."
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Format: Paperback
If you are a fan of Alex Bellos then be careful before you buy this book. The text is word for word the same as his “Alex Through the Looking Glass”. I felt badly conned when I got “The Grapes of Math” and wondered how publishers can get away with such a deception.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
EXCELLENT
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews
72 of 84 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart 17 Jun. 2014
By destroying angel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved "Here's Looking at Euclid," and have been eagerly awaiting this new book, but I'm not really sure who it's written for. If you have a strong enough math background to understand the book, you probably don't need to be told much of this. If you have a weak math background and want to fill in your knowledge gaps, you may find this pretty incomprehensible.

If you enjoy passages like this (where numbers in parentheses should be read as exponents):

"Thanks to Cartesian coordinates, the quadratics were revealed to be the conic sections. In other words, every quadratic equation describes a conic section, and every conic section can be described by a quadratic equation. Two of the most researched and pondered-over areas of mathematics were nothing but alternative representations of each other. The general quadratic equation Ax(2) + Bxy + Cy(2) + Dx + Ey + F = 0, where A, B, C, D, E and F are constants, and at least one of A, B and C is nonzero, always plots a conic section on a coordinate graph, and vice versa: any conic section drawn on a graph can be expressed by the above equation. In the illustration above, the equation for the ellipse is 2x(2) + y(2) + 8x = 0, and the equation for the parabola, which sits diagonally on the page, is 16x(2) - 24xy + 9y(2) - 38x - 84y +121 = 0."

Then you'll love this book. Also, if you think this (not from the book) is hilarious:

A: "What is the integral of 1/cabin?"
B: "log cabin."
A: "Nope, houseboat--you forgot the C."

You'll probably also love this book. Don't get the joke? You won't get the book either.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE MATH...LOVE THIS BOOK.. 25 July 2014
By C.A.T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love math....love this book. I am a mathematician and a retired analyst and accountant. The topics in the book appeal to my fascination with the study of number theory and geometry. Bellos writes with clarity and humor. Some math formulas and derivations may not be obvious to the average reader, but for those with math background or a love of math, they are well defined. In either case, the reader can skim the proofs and continue the lesson without math analysis. It is thought provoking and filled with "I never knew that!" I wish that this portal of info had been opened for me years ago, and I would have had the opportunity to branch out into some of the underlying thoughts and history of math. My college courses did not accommodate that, but now I am eager to find the reasons why I and others truly love the study of mathematics... it reaches far deeper than mere memorization and rote processes. This books takes the reader to a sub-level which brings new dimension to the study of math and numbers.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why People Love Math 5 Nov. 2014
By Art Shapiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is very simply the best, most engaging popular book on mathematics that I have read--and I've read a lot of them. It renders abstruse and difficult concepts comprehensible for the educated layman; most importantly, it conveys the excitement and beauty of doing mathematics. For people used to cringing in fear of math, it's a potential revelation -- an introduction to a world they had never imagined. For those already in the thrall of mathematics, it's a vindication of what they feel, not that they need a vindication! Excellent. (There is a kids' book also called "The Grapes of Math"--don't confuse the two.)
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read 3 Aug. 2014
By ubpdqn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable read. The author has a very entertaining and engaging writing style. The book starts looks at psychological aspects of human relationship to numbers. Thereafter, we are taken on a journey through triangles, circles, conic sections, complex numbers, calculus, cellular automata and proof and more. Pi, e, and i are characters and the amazing appearance and connectedness is expressed. This is a very rich journey through history and exposition of the variety of applications some seemingly esoteric areas have found. I particularly enjoyed the sections on roulettes.

The book is not a technical explanation but invites the reader to play: whether it is origami to produce a parabola, rolling one coin over another, or looking for patterns in your cup to tea. However, the concepts are expressed clearly and convincingly.

The complex dynamic interaction between development of mathematics and its applications: motivations, personalities and serendipity in complex feedback loops , shows what a wonderfully human endeavour Mathematics is.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... - Artfully Opened to Reveal History and Secrets I loved this book 27 Oct. 2014
By Mark D. Horowitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Drapes of Math - Artfully Opened to Reveal History and Secrets

I loved this book. Although many of the topics are long-time favorites - Benford's Law, Euler's formula, Game of Life, Ulam and von Neumann, Bellos' treatment added new levels of both background and depth in satisfying and useful forms - more history of the participants in the development of the mathematical topics, information on recent developments, including interviews with current players in the various fields, and enough actual equations to see some of what was going on behind the drapes which few other authors ever open to display the workings of the machinery. Bellos was smart to put many of the details into appendices to avoid distraction.

Now I need to go back and read his first book.
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