Look, now: Buried amid this summer's beach reads, your Grishams and Hilderbrands, is a literary treasure ... keen-eyed, beguiling ... Wilkinson is a beautiful writer, a dry wit who seamlessly blends complex ideas with jazzy anecdotes and the history of math itself, conjuring pivotal figures from Euclid to Bertrand Russell ... There are wonderful riffs on perplexed scientists ... And Amie's affectionate, bemused mentorship enriches the book; we should all have such a brilliant niece on call ... He guides us through thickets of sine and cosine, digressions on Shakespeare and the concept of infinity. In the end he achieves his goal: His book demystifies math, illuminating the godlike, immutable properties of proofs and the ways numbers evolve, like animal species. For readers craving high style during the dog days, A Divine Language is simply divine.
I kept waiting for the kind of happy reconciliation that never quite comes. Instead we get Wilkinson declaring that math 'as a brute, malign and mechanical thing.' He confesses that by the end of his journey, he was still consumed by 'an indignant resistance' ... This, then, isn’t a chipper story of personal growth — and for that I was grateful. Wilkinson has accomplished something more moving and original, braiding his stumbling attempts to get better at math with his deepening awareness that there’s an entire universe of understanding that will, in some fundamental sense, forever lie outside his reach ... As enjoyable as these bits are, Wilkinson can get so frustrated with the actual math part that I wondered at times at his refusal to talk to a tutor.
With his smooth writing, ingenious descriptions, and analogies, this motivational book should be a welcome gift to many readers who have spent decades avoiding math because of early frustrations with learning it in school. Wilkinson explains many mathematical topics in an easy, clear, and understandable way ... Suitable for all ages, this intelligent book on finding new ways to understand things will find eager and welcoming readers.