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The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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  • The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus
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  • The Mathematics of Love (TED)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857524607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857524607
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.6 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"A smart, witty, original take on the festive season, with calculations and theories to help you prepare and solve your Christmas conundrums." (The Sun)

"Just in case the charm and beauty of mathematical thinking has passed by some of your friends and family, they will be grateful for this slim volume in their stocking. The puzzles and games of Hannah Fry and Thomas Evans involving present-wrapping and Queen's Speech bingo are but an entry drug for heady passages about the natureof truth and game theory." (New Scientist)

"From the perfect Secret Santa gift to finally proving the existence of St Nick, a new book uses mathematics to crack the toughest festival conundrums." (Evening Standard)

"The broadcaster and author of The Mathematics of Love teams up with a mathematician and writer for this intelligent stocking filler ... sounds enormous fun." (Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller)

Book Description

A dazzling, magical mathematical tour of the festive season with the most elegant mathematical solutions to your Christmas conundrums, from how to avoid a secret Santa disaster to how to win the festive family games.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gave it as a present to lady with Masters in pure maths. She could not resist dipping in and out all over Christmas
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr Fry cracks the code, again!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect condition.
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Format: Hardcover
My son was given this book 'pre Christmas' and I snuck it away to read...great little book, definitely worth reading pre Christmas! (And then carefully wrapping up...). Amusing but also some serious work has obviously gone into it.
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Format: Hardcover
The first thing you will notice about this book is how gorgeously presented it is; it is decorated throughout with simple line-drawings and motifs, that manage to add visual interest without being distracting. The content-related illustrations are also excellent, complementing the text well, aesthetically pleasing and neither over- nor under-used. Unfortunately the matte cover, although it looks and feels nice, is a grease magnet and the font used for the equations and illustrations doesn't quite fit with the visual feel of everything else. Neither of those are deal breakers, however.

On to the content. The book is an easy, if somewhat quick, read; it is able to hold the readers interest well, although a couple of extra chapters wouldn't hurt (probably not more than that, though). The book started a little weakly, and the first "proper" maths encountered lacked an explanation ("this proof... has a flaw in it. We'll leave that for you to spot"), but thankfully it picked up after that. The use of endnotes to dig a bit deeper into the maths worked well, and will be especially appreciated by people are interested in the outcomes, rather than the methods, of the maths discussed. The mixture of practical applications (e.g. present wrapping, tree decorating) and explanatory topics (e.g. Queens speech, monopoly) worked well - covering a broad range of maths, and clearly demonstrating its usefulness.

A fun little book, that will keep you occupied on Boxing day afternoon!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An awesome book. As a Maths teacher I find it interesting, funny and also challenges my mathematical understanding.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up The Indisputable Existence of Santa without knowing anything about it when browsing at a book store a month before Christmas. I am glad I did.

This short book (135 pages) is quite a charming mix of math, Christmas and humour. The two authors use math to analyse various aspects of Christmas, such as how to wrap presents using as little wrapping paper as possible, how to decorate the Christmas tree, and how to win playing Monopoly.

The mathematical concepts used include Markov chains, graphs, probability theory and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, as well as some physics. The mathematical explanations are easy to follow, with plenty of illustrations. In some cases there are also end notes with extra details and tips for further reading.

In particular I liked the Queen’s Christmas speech, where the authors explain how to use a two-step Markov chain to generate gibberish. I knew about this technique before, but it is explained well here (and the results are always hilarious). I also enjoyed the Secret Santa chapter – on how to set it up to avoid the problem of giving a present to yourself. The analysis of how to win at Monopoly was also very interesting. Finally, from the chapter on how to decorate the tree, I liked the proof that there are only five platonic solids.

The book is also very funny. For example, here is a quote from the Monopoly chapter: “Officially, Monopoly ends when all players but one go bankrupt. In reality, it ends when your sister accuses one or all of you of cheating, flips the board across the room and storms off in a shower of miniature plastic houses.” I don’t often laugh aloud when reading books, but here I did many times.

I really enjoyed reading The Indisputable Existence of Santa. For anybody interested in maths, it is a perfect little book for a cosy Christmas evening.
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