Review of NUMBERS: Their Tales, Types, and Treasures

Authors: Alfred S. Posamentier and Bernd Thaller

Publisher: Prometheus Books, 2015

This book is a bit of a mixed bag.  Its beginning is very good, exploring the origins of counting and number operations and early mathematics.  However as it moves into more complex maths it becomes less easy to read–the authors, for all their qualifications as professors of math, do not give the simplest mathematical explanations–and devolves at time into trivialities.  In addition it is not organized very well, so that the information comes out haphazardly, and they do not completely analyze many topics, instead partially covering many of them and then referring the reader to his own engagement or to other books of Mr. Posamentier, such that the book comes off as an extended advertisement for half a dozen others of Posamentier’s books.

The best book on mathematics and numbers remains Jan Gullberg’s Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers.  As such if recommending one of the two I would always go with Gullberg’s rather than this one.

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