This is a fascinating introduction to some key developments in maths over the last 150 years or so, focusing largely on aspects of number theory and topology. Keith Devlin has the gift of making often complex concepts comprehensible to readers with little mathematical training beyond elementary arithmetic and elementary algebra, and explains terms as he goes along. Where sometimes the maths becomes particularly intricate, he manages to convey the gist of the argument in simple terms. Thoroughly recommended.
Read this book! It is a fabulous introduction to recent developments in pure maths. While Devlin does not shy away from mathematical detail he is always readable, and if you don't understand something you can always skip ahead. He covers many different areas, from fractals to prime numbers: there is sure to be something of interest to everyone! I couldn't recommend this book more highly!
The content is great, agree with the other reviewers entirely. Unfortunately the kindle edition suffers from poor layout / typesetting. Some of the formula are just plain wrong, and sometimes you're referred off to 'text in a box' without a box in sight. So great but tarnished by lazy conversion to ebook.
The book is written as a series of articles on topics such as knot topology, Riemann hypothesis and Fermat's Last Theorem. On some topics, the short article approach works just fine, on others, it seems like the topic is too big for the amount of space given to it, and the reader is left with a feeling that the subject requires a dedicated full-length work of its own. Still, the contents of the book are clear and the presentation of each topic is easy to follow.
The main issue with the book is Kindle formatting - the annotations have not been converted properly, navigation to embedded images and figures is poor, and the typesetting of mathematical characters is at time atrocious. For example, in many places, the square root symbol is omitted, completely changing the meaning of the statement. The end result is that none of the mathematical expressions in the book can be trusted by the reader.
The book could really use a new edition, with typesetting fixed, and references put in place to other popular science books that go into more detail on the topics presented within this one - the current edition prefers to present references to professional mathematical papers and books which would likely be impenetrable to its target audience.