book review: the number devil

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure is an illustrated story about how weird numbers can be. A boy is tormented by a teacher who gives boring math problems in school and then is visited in his dreams by a number devil who introduces him to prime numbers, factorials, number pyramids and a host of other math concepts (but with different names, which would probably get confusing if you were trying to use this as a textbook).

The introductions are not at all in-depth; they mostly focus on how weird it is that numbers can do these things. So it’s probably a lousy textbook. And it’s not really much of a story either. What it is is a kind of children’s Socratic dialogue about numbers. No real explanations are given but intriguing hints about the depths to which you can explore Fibonacci sequences and the like litter the pages. It’s like a field of rabbit holes for someone to get intrigued by and then fall into by getting answers (such as they are) in other books.

Advertisements

One thought on “book review: the number devil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s