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Adam Spencer's Book of Numbers: A Bizarre and Hilarious Journey from 1 to 100 Paperback – February 16, 2004
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Well, I am sorry to say that I don't think he was entirely successful. First of all the book is not all that funny. (But you might want to judge for yourself.) Second, most of the mathematical stuff is about number theory which is famously that part of mathematics that is the most removed from practical application (and therefore the public interest). In fact, until an offshoot of prime number explorations contributed to data encryption (in credit card numbers and corporate and military messaging, etc.) number theory was proudly the province of the utterly impractical, the purest of pure mathematics. (A nice lesson here is that we can never know when some esoteric endeavor may yield a practical application.)
Third--and to my mind most important--the information about numbers in this book is in many cases information that is only tangentially or accidentally related to the numbers themselves. For example for the number 44, Spencer tells us that "Drinking 1 cup of tea a day is thought to reduce your risk of major heart attack by up to 44 per cent." The number could just as well have been 43 or some other percent.Read more ›