This is a fun, understandable (to a point) book about math. Before I became a science teacher I considered teaching math or English. I rejected English because I wasn't sure I had the ability to encourage writing skills. I can usually tell what's well-written and what's not, but how do I instruct a student to improve his writing? I took one look at the Theory of Math classes required to teach math and shook my head. If Strogatz was the teacher of those classes I may have reconsidered.
When I read a book like this I enjoy the feeling of grasping concepts presented in a 'new-to-me' way. Unfortunately, I don't hold on to those concepts for long and I'm not able to discuss them in any knowledgeable manner. So writing this book review is harder than writing about fiction.
There is a story line, of sorts. Strogatz starts with a description of numbers that we learn about in kindergarten - real numbers that made sense to me. I understood for the first time that numbers are much like the science words my students complained about learning. A number is a shorthand way to express in one symbol what might take a whole phrase or sentence to explain otherwise.
We are led from what we understand to what flew over our heads in math class. Imaginary numbers never made sense to me until reading this book. The day I read about imaginary numbers I talked with my daughter who is taking Calculus 3 in college. She was complaining about imaginary numbers. I laughed at the timing.
When you're in a book store pick this book up and read through the chapter titles. Strogatz is very creative both with his chapter titles and his presentation. As I read The Joy of X (cute title, huh?) I thought of my math friends and how much they would enjoy this book. Yes, Raidergirl, I thought of you! Even if you're not a 'math geek' you may want to excite your synaptic firings by reading an interesting approach to math. Hmmm, I wonder if I've pushed back the onset of Alzheimer's.
One other good thing - Strogatz talked about several different fictional books that I wrote down. The first I want to get my hands on is The Housekeeper and the Professor. Has anyone read it?
** I received a copy of The Joy of X from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.