The Story of Mathematics: From Babylonian Numerals to Chaos Theory, by Ian Stewart

My Copy: 9781847240170 (image from fantasticfiction.com; the image and title are different now, you’d have to find it under Taming the Infinite.)

This is probably the strangest review I’ve left so far. I’ll also admit I gave up reading at page 100. In many aspects, I like what’s going on as far as how it’s presenting information. In others, though, I just don’t speak math well enough to really follow it and get enthusiastic.

Yes, I haven’t finished the book. I just can’t go another week of trying, so take this with a grain of salt if you want.

Now, there is some interesting information in The Story of Mathematics. It tells us the beginnings of mathematics and some concepts we may be familiar with. One thing that shocked me was that the ancients and up to about 500 years ago, they really didn’t deal with negative numbers (or weren’t sure the best way to go about it.

It’s strange because you realize somebody’s gotta invent the wheel here and get everybody on board so we can understand it.

I like this book and don’t like it at the same time. I feel like I just don’t understand math enough to really get how the mathematicians got from point A to point B in their discoveries and why it was so important. I got to learn more history, for sure, which is what kept me going (and why I bought the book), but I’m just not mentally ready for it yet.

I’ll keep this one because I think it’s more browse worthy than read-through worthy. If you’re curious about certain concepts or really good with math (or understand math better than me), then I think this is a great book to consult to learn more about how we’ve figured things out over time.

Perhaps in a few years (when I get some more math in me), I’ll dust this one off and come back to it. I just spent more than two weeks trying to get further in, but the more math that came out made me feel like I’d gone into a textbook.

I’ll be taking courses soon to help me really get the mental acuity and understanding on par.

It could just be lousy timing–I’ve been reading VERY little lately because of headaches, work, and other crazy things. I’m trying to get back on track, and this one’s just too hard to try to get through right now.

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