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One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers Hardcover – May 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
For those readers versed in number theory, that branch of mathematics in which numbers are explored purely for their own sake without even the dream of a practical application, this book is probably a delight. And for cryptologists it is probably a double delight since Hodges explores in some considerable depth the delicious irony of how pure mathematics became contaminated, as it were, when it was noticed some years ago that the encryption of messages could be facilitated by using very large numbers with unique divisors. While it is easy to multiply two even very large numbers and get a unique result it is enormously difficult to find the unique factors that make up a very large number.
At any rate that is my understanding. And if I have gotten it wrong it is only because I am not much of a mathematician. Which brings me to the central criticism of this book. To put it bluntly I don't think anyone but a mathematician can fully appreciate Andrew Hodges' text. It's that difficult. Additionally, Hodges, who is a physicist as well as a mathematician, brings string and twistor theory into the fray further multiplying the difficulties for the general reader.Read more ›
I suspect One to Nine's limited appeal (several poor reviews on Amazon) may stem from the material containing a bit too much applied science for most mathematicians, and too much math theory for someone without a substantial mathematical background. As an engineer by education, I know just enough math to be dangerous and feel very comfortable with the physics, chemistry, or other applied science references in the book.
The friends of mine that have read One to Nine also liked it. I would recommend it to someone with a mathematically based science degree, such as most engineering degrees.
It's more like the author's conversation with himself - that's it - it reads like a blog!! Except it isn't one so I cannot blast the author when he gets too full of himself or wanders hopelessly far from his premise (which is often hard to determine.)
The book is an entertaining read, though, in small chunks, as bed time reading.
It's been a long time since it took me as long to finish a book as this one is taking!
The title, One to Nine The Inner Life of Numbers, suggests a book of note. The book, though, appears to be only a mish mash of information from the author's weekly newspaper column in the Observer on mathematical topics. The author indulges himself with comments regarding politics and society and does not appear to know his audience. His text is arrogant and wanders without direction. That is a pity, because the topic should have been an interesting one. Not only is the book poorly written, the book is also poorly typeset. Word spacing is inconsistent which makes the text difficult to read.
When I completed this book, I had to ask myself why I bothered. I found this to be one of the worst books that I have read in the past 60 years. Waste neither your money nor your time on this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked up this book at the library and was quite excited to get started reading it. The blurb on the back implied that this book would be about either the history of discovering... Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by HuskyPup840
I can't believe this excellent book has such poor ratings! Andrew Hodges does an excellence job of bringing out how Western culture is infused with the concept of the numbers one... Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by Thomas P. Burwell
I love books about math. Eli Maor's book "e": The Story of a Number (Princeton Science Library) is one of my favorite of all time on any subject. Read morePublished on December 21, 2009 by uncgump
This may be the most disappointing book I have ever read. I enjoy math and books about math and, after reading the blurbs on the jacket, I looked forward to reading Hodges' book. Read morePublished on January 19, 2009 by American Bandersnatch
I enjoy reading books on mathematics and number theory and thought this would be a good choice from the library for my next read. Read morePublished on November 18, 2008 by cmkadmin
As a math / non-fiction fan and a real fan of Hodges' "Alan Turing" bio, I was really looking forward to "One to Nine". The promise was not met. Read morePublished on October 3, 2008 by T. Burket