Mathematics, Mathematics History, Steven Strogatz, Book Review


Strogatz, Steven. The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, (New York, NY, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). 316 pp. ISBN 978-0-547-51765-0

The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, by Steven Strogatz, is an engaging and example-filled argument for mathematics as a valuable and enjoyable activity. The thirty chapters are divided into six parts, entitled Numbers, Relationships, Shapes, Change, Data, and Frontiers. The discussion ranges from intuitive explanations of basic concepts such as place value, the four arithmetic operations, percentage increase and decrease, and solving equations, to “higher” levels of mathematics such as calculus, probability and statistics, group theory, and the nature of infinity. As in John Allen Paulos’ work, Beyond Numeracy, the chapters are short and punchy, and they can be read independently. While the book is not specifically devoted to numeracy, several chapters, especially those in Part Five on Data, address ideas and examples relevant to quantitative literacy.



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