A millennia-spanning history of the impact mathematics has had on the world, and the people who have mastered its inherent power, from Babylonian tax officials to the Apollo astronauts to the eccentric professor who invented the infrastructure of the online world.
... an alternative textbook that suggests a new way of thinking about maths, and a more congenial way of teaching it – as not simply an abstract science but as a cultural achievement, an indelible and indispensable part of human history.
... eye-opening ... Challenging the all-too-common view of mathematics as a boring subject irrelevant to genuine life interests, Brooks unfolds numerous compelling examples showing that mathematics empowers people who perform labors that benefit millions ... Behind the powerful formulas, readers also glimpse the often deeply flawed character of the mathematicians who developed them, prompting serious reflection on the need for human wisdom in applying their work. A potent reminder of how mathematics has shaped the modern world.
... savvy ... In his introduction, Brooks describes a point when a person hits their “mathematical limit” and gets overloaded, and encourages readers to avoid that feeling by approaching math with a sense of awe. He expertly maintains that spirit throughout and easily shows how, 'through maths, we shape the world around us to give ourselves a better experience of being human.' It’s a show-stopping paean to the wonder of numbers.