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The acclaimed author of A Tour of the Calculus and The Infinite Ascent offers an enlightening and enthralling tour of the basics of mathematics, and reveals a world of fascination in fundamental mathematical ideas.
One, Two, Three is David Berlinski’s captivating exploration of the foundation of mathematics, its fundamental ideas, and why they matter. By unraveling the complex answers to these most elementary questions—What is a number? How do addition, subtraction, and other functions actually work? What are geometry and logic?—Berlinski reveals the intricacy behind their seemingly simple exteriors. Peppered with enlightening historical anecdotes and asides on some of history’s most fascinating mathematicians, One, Two, Three, revels in the beauty of numbers as Berlinski shows us how and why these often slippery concepts are as essential to the field of mathematics as to who we are.
“It is candy for the intellectually curious.” —Leonard Mlodinow, bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk
“David Berlinski plus any topic equals an extraordinary book. . . . Making simple and accessible that which had previously been murky and intimidating is Berlinski’s specialty.” —Chicago Tribune
“A writer who takes immense pleasure in [his subject] and tries to create it in others.” —The New York Times Book Review
“With broad culture and wry humor, Berlinski takes a look at some basic concepts in math and the people who worried about them. A treat!” —Gregory Chaitin, author of Meta Math!
“He is both poet and genius. And he’s funny . . . The writing is clean and powerful . . . Go, Berlinski, go.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable. . . . Using simple speech—and a flare for literary wordplay—Berlinski spells out historically necessary numerical notions for the public.” —Sacramento Book Review
“Berlinski releases math from its textbook script and restores its majestic drama.” —Booklist
“A tour de force by a mathematician who wants the intellectually curious and logically minded . . . to understand the foundations and beauty of one of the major branches of mathematics.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A logician, professor, novelist, and accomplished writer, Berlinski revels in riffs, employing a jazzy style.” —National Review
“With wit and philosophy, with the clash of symbols and history, Berlinski displays the inner soul of simple arithmetic.” —Philip J. Davis, professor emeritus of applied mathematics, Brown University
“For mathematically challenged folk like me, David Berlinski . . . renders mathematics not easy, but accessible and absorbing. . . . You’ll enjoy yourself.” —Paul McHugh, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University