"A run through the history of the last four hundred years, seen through the eyes of a French mathematician. Mathematics appears as a unifying principle for history. Ekeland moves easily from mathematics to physics, biology, ethics, and philosophy."
(Freeman Dyson New York Review of Books
"[Readers] will not regret a minute spent reading this book. This intelligent, eloquent, very accessible work will make new connections for virtually every reader. Ekeland is clearly a master teacher. Essential."
"A book that provides much information about the ideas of optimization and critical points and is full of details about a large cast of characters. . . .The book can be savored in bits and pieces. . . . But the reader who just chooses to start on page one and keep going will almost certainly find it impossible to put the book down, because it is densely packed with delightful items of information and is as entertaining as a fast-moving thriller."
(Hector Sussmann Notice of the AMS
About the Author
Ivar Ekeland is professor of mathematics and economics at the University of British Columbia and director of the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences. He is the author of several books, including Mathematics and the Unexpected and The Broken Dice, both published by the University of Chicago Press.