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Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

Alex's Adventures in Numberland

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Shortlisted for the Galaxy Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2010.

This is a richly entertaining and accessible book, in which Alex Bellos explodes the myth that maths is best left to the geeks. Covering subjects from adding to algebra, from set theory to statistics, and from logarithms to logical paradoxes, he explains how mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives. Alex explains the surprising geometry of the 50p piece, and the strategy of how best to gamble it in a casino. He shines a light on the mathematical patterns in nature, and on the peculiar predictability of random behaviour. He eats a potato crisp whose revolutionary shape was unpalatable to the ancient Greeks, and he shows the deep connections between maths, religion and philosophy.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Is maths something best left for only geeks to work at? Not according to Alex Bellos, whose love of numbers is as infectious as his humour. He introduces readers to the wonders of algebra, the marvels of statistics, and even the correlation between mathematics and religion. And he does it in a chatty, informative style that removes the mystique from a subject most of us tried to avoid at school. For instance, in order to put a human face on the numbers game he shows what part maths plays in the Lotto, the use of slot machines and the spin of a roulette wheel. An excellent read.
~ Carl Hughes


Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

Alex weaves a journey from primary school to university level maths, from ancient history to the computing frontline, and from St Louis, Missouri, to Braintree, Essex. He meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany, consults a numerologist in the US desert, meets a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan, and seeks advice from a venerable Hindu sage in India. An unlikely but exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage and mathematical proofs, Alex's dispatches from 'Numberland' show the world of maths to be a much friendlier and more colourful place than you might have imagined.


'Alex's enthusiasm for mathematics shines from every page... deserves to become an instant classic'

'An unforgettable journey of intellectual discovery, a true transcultural Magical Mystery Tour'

'A truly marvellous survey of modern mathematics... a book that would have delighted Lewis Carroll'
Martin Gardner, for more than 25 years author of the 'Mathematical Games'
column in Scientific American

About the Author

Alex Bellos

Alex Bellos is a reporter for the Observer and the Guardian in Rio de Janeiro.

Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life captures the romance and the passion of Brazil. 'Football is how the world sees Brazil and how Brazilians see themselves.' The art, the players, the myths, the legends, the teams, the history, the supporters, the heartbreaks — the book traces the past and the present of a game which symbolises the racial harmony, flamboyance, youth, innovation and skill of Latin America's largest country. It was shortlisted for the WH Smith Sports Book of the Year and was nominated for the 2004 British Book Awards.

Author photo © Michael Duerinckx

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Book Info

Publication date

4th April 2011


Alex Bellos

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


448 pages


The Real World
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