Tuesday, October 30, 2012

100 Essential Things You Didn't Know by Barrow

Having just read Barrow's 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know..., I have to say I'm a little disappointed.

For one thing, the title is misleading in two ways. Not one of the "essential things" was essential, let alone all one hundred of them! This could perhaps be excused if the title were at least true to its other claim, but it isn't: I already knew a few of these "essential things", so I am in a reasonable position to gauge whether they are essential or not!

In all seriousness, however, the math nerds mathematically inclined among you may find this book interesting. There were a number of nifty puzzles that illustrate how common sense deceives us. But there is no theme underlying it all, so it reads as a number of disjointed blog posts. (Though to be fair, who am I to talk?!)

I may have been biased against this book from the start. Twenty pages in, I started to wonder why on earth I would have ordered this book. After doing some checking, it became clear that I didn't order the book; it arrived by mistake! Since I hate starting a book and not finishing it (surely I'm not the only one?), I pushed through anyway, which may have tainted my outlook.

Despite my take, your interests may be such that the book appeals to you. If that's the case, you can order it here.

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