Alex's Adventures in Numberland

  • by Alex Bellos
  • Narrated by Alex Bellos
  • 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let's face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks. Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino.
In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, Alex Bellos travels across the globe and meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan.
Packed with fascinating, eye-opening anecdotes, Alex's Adventures in Numberland is an exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage, and mathematical proofs that will leave you awestruck. Shortlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

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What the Critics Say

"Original and highly entertaining." (Sunday Times)
"Will leave you hooked on numbers." (Daily Telegraph)
"A page turner about humanity's strange, never easy and, above all, never dull relationship with numbers." (New Scientist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A wonderful journey through mathematics

Although unstructured (the reader/listener can select chapters in any order) this is a wonderful journey through the history of number and mathematics. The high points are when the author describes those 'Eureka' moments when, after a great deal of struggle, it all seems to make so much sense. Alex Bellos also brings the key figures vividly to life, and the travelogue style really assists in the listeners understanding of some fundamental ideas and sequences. The narration, by the author, works for me. As an aside, I did also purchase the hardback and used the audio for my daily commute (a revision session, if you like). Overall a very worthwhile and highly rewarding read. This could well become an important book.
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- Nichiless

Maths as an audiobook - does it work ?

It certainly did for me. Not only is the subject matter very interesting, there are no difficult equations in here, probably pythagoras being the most complex, or even the equation of a circle. But even then you do not need to work with them, just listen as he uses them to illustrate some astonishing things.

This rekindled much from my graduate days, and leaves you thinking - if only I had known that then.

Some chapters could be easily expanded to be books in their own right and I hope the author revisits the subjects of probability and odds in regard casino gambling, or the golden ratio and goes into greater depth.

You don't need the paper version of this, but if they did do an illustrated version it would be worth owning, as the history unravelled is new and refreshing. Its not just about the history of maths and mathematicians, but about human nature and how numbers and number systems came into being that really make you think.
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- Trevor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-09-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios