Math Without Numbers

Book Notes

This book was recommended by another micro.blog reader as a book that describes math without weighing the reader down with, well, numbers. I agree: it was a lovely read. Even some of the book reviews are lovely reads, for goodness' sake!

I mean, start at the beginning with shapes and manifolds. Who knows of manifolds? Ask me about manifolds and I'm going to start telling you about intake manifolds and possibly exhaust manifolds, not mathematical manifolds. And yet, here we are talking about manifolds and shapes and different dimensions, and the whole of me swoons.

And then infinity comes into the story, along with "what's bigger than infinity?" and hooboy. I want to sit Jonathan's boys down and read this book with them, explore the nature of math and show just how amazingly beautiful it is, and how amazingly big it is.

I, too, strongly recommend this delightful, fun read, especially to anyone who thinks (or was told) they suck at math. You likely don't suck, you more likely had an uninteresting, detached teacher who failed to demonstrate the joy of math.

How To Think

Book Notes

Okay, so, I read this book at the beginning of the year, but for reasons I cannot recall, I didn't review it immediately after finishing it. Which meant I should either not review it, or, you know, reread it. I recalled the book took me about two hours to read it the first time. Given the title, and my general inclination to liking thinking, I figured I'd read it again. Unsure how to count this in my book total for the year, I'll probably count it twice.

I so enjoyed this book. All of about a tenth into it, I recalled how much I enjoyed the book the first time. Unlike The Art of Thinking Clearly, which is a list of all the various biases and quirks people have in thinking, this book is a journey about how one should approach thinking. We, in general, don't want to think. It's hard, effort is required. We have to go against much of the social conditioning we've been in for the thousands of years of evolution we've needed to survive to this point. And thoughts are the result of reactions to others' thoughts. All of this is explored in Jacobs' writing.

The book hops down various paths related to thinking, and circles back around in a wonderful way. I enjoyed this book the first reading, and the second reading 11 months later. Recommended and worth a read.

This is what thinking is : not the decision itself but what goes into the decision , the consideration , the assessment . It’s testing your own responses and weighing the available evidence ; it’s grasping , as best you can and with all available and relevant senses , what is , and it’s also speculating , as carefully and responsibly as you can , about what might be . And it’s knowing when not to go it alone , and whom you should ask for help .
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