- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press (August 21, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674972236
- ISBN-13: 978-0674972230
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Arithmetic Hardcover – August 21, 2017
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Today’s world is more dependent on numbers than at any time in human history, yet with the ready availability of cheap, reliable devices that handle computation, we have never had less need to master arithmetic. Our newfound freedom from the chore of hand computation makes it both possible and, Paul Lockhart argues in this wonderful new book, desirable to step back and reflect on the entire development of arithmetic over several millennia. What are numbers, how did they arise, why did our ancestors invent them, and how did they represent them? They are, after all, one of humankind’s most brilliant inventions, arguably having greater impact on our lives than the wheel. Lockhart recounts their fascinating story. (Keith Devlin, mathematician, author of The Man of Numbers and Finding Fibonacci)
What an exuberant, exciting invitation to take joy in the wonderful human activity of counting, and to think deeply about its many origins. Marvelously personal, quite surprising at times, and fun to read. (Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, coauthor of Prime Numbers and the Riemann Hypothesis)
Once I started reading, the text proved mind-blowing. Some of the most ingrained and fundamental assumptions about the way we count and understand numbers are here deconstructed and shown to be arbitrary… For the mathematical layman, this book will be a very pleasant surprise… I am delighted to say that Lockhart is a fabulously entertaining writer, and that his light-hearted approach managed to keep me cheerfully engaged even when his discussions were most abstract… It’s in equal measures entertaining and educational, and a pleasant surprise on more levels than one. (Andrea Tallarita PopMatters 2017-08-17)
Arithmetic is inspiring and informative, and deserves to be widely read. (Jane Gleeson-White Wall Street Journal 2017-10-08)
Beginning with counting and moving through topics such as multiplication and fractions, Arithmetic provides a nuanced understanding of working with numbers, gently connecting procedures that we once learned by rote with intuitions long since muddled by education…Lockhart presents arithmetic as a pleasurable pastime, and describes it as a craft like knitting. Manipulating calculi on a tabula, you can see what he means. (Jonathon Keats New Scientist 2017-10-10)
More than just an informative survey of the fundamentals of basic arithmetic, this fun book offers a philosophical take on number systems and revels in the beauty of math. (Science News 2017-09-16)
About the Author
Paul Lockhart teaches mathematics at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In this book the author takes the reader on a journey through the history of numbers as well as showing the "properties" of those numbers. We look at the numbers themselves and the way they have been represented through time - after all a "3" is just the current way in the Hindu-Arabic numbering system that we represent "threeness" - and could just as easily have some other notation which, in a different society, would represent the same "threeness".
We are taken through the Roman numerals, and their counting Tabula, as well as the Japanese Soroban (a type of abacus), and are exposed to the way the ancient Egyptians wrote their numbers (as well as the fairly cool (my description) of the way they notated fractions). Through all of this we start to see the numbers as entities in their own right, and not as the particular symbol we assign to them in our Hindu-Arabic numbering system.
The author starts us off slowly with addition, then moves into subtraction, then multiplication, then division, and eventually into such "odd ball" concepts as negative numbers. He almost makes it into "set theory", but stops just short.
The author also imparts a bit of advice along the way, for example on page 134 he notes "don't bother being more accurate than your data." Something one has to remember when doing calculations based on real world observations.
To understand where the author is "coming from" take note of what he says on page 98 "That's kind of the whole math thing: working hard to find ways to get out of working hard."
So, if you enjoy numbers and their patterns, then you will probably find this book enjoyable - but, if when someone mentions math you are the first to run screaming from the room --- then not so much.
I like how he provides clear examples, and also how he injects a small amount of humor into his writing. There is no reason at all that a book about mathematics should be boring, should it?
I would recommend Paul's book to anyone who wants to know about counting systems and/or mathematical operations.