The Joy of X (Where X=Math)

If you love math, or wish you did, or if you kind of admire it even if you don’t consider yourself good at it, I recommend The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity.  The book is a highly readable, very interesting story of math from simple to complex, with real life applications and bits of history and pop culture references.

I find math fascinating.  Although I am not detail-oriented enough to be really good at it and flamed out after BC Calculus, I always sort of wished I had been able to continue to higher math because I like the theory and logic of the whole thing.  Reading this book gave me lots of insights into the way even higher math works and why it’s relevant.

I thought it was kind of fun that the book had so many practical, real-life applications of how math comes into play.  You can tell the author wants to stick it to everyone who said “I don’t need to learn this, I’ll never use it in real life.”  False!  You can feel the glee.

It was also fun to show my kids different things in the book, like the visual way to understand odd and even numbers, ways to illustrate multiplication, and making Mobius strips.  We wound up making Mobius strips out of foam paper and it kept them busy for over an hour.  Highly recommended.

As I mentioned above, The Joy of x is really readable and not dry at all.  Even if you think you hate math, you’d probably be surprised at how much you’d enjoy this book.  If you read it, let me know what you think!


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3 thoughts on “The Joy of X (Where X=Math)

  1. I was afraid of math for a long time. I literally had frequent math-related nightmares from adolescence into adulthood. I put taking a college-level math course as long as I possible could, but I finally gave in, because I needed to take one to graduate. It was a five-week intensive course, and although I almost panicked during the first class because I felt so behind and overwhelmed, it got better. I actually found that I enjoyed the lessons on probability and statistics. I don’t fear math as much as I used to, and I don’t want my kids to be afraid of it, like I was, so, with all that said, I just put this book on hold at the library and look forward to reading it.

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