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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of A Tour of the Calculus and The Advent of the Algorithm, here is a riveting look at mathematics that reveals a hidden world in some of its most fundamental concepts.

In his latest foray into mathematics, David Berlinski takes on the simplest questions that can be asked: What is a number? How do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division actually work? What are geometry and logic? As he delves into these subjects, he discovers and lucidly describes the beauty and complexity behind their seemingly simple exteriors, making clear how and why these mercurial, often slippery concepts are essential to who we are.

Filled with illuminating historical anecdotes and asides on some of the most fascinating mathematicians through the ages, One, Two, Three is a captivating exploration of the foundation of mathematics: how it originated, who thought of it, and why it matters.

©2011 David Berlinski (P)2011 Random House

Critic Reviews

“[A] tour de force by a mathematician who wants the intellectually curious and logically minded . . . to understand the foundations and beauty of one of the major branches of mathematics.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“With wit and philosophy, with the clash of symbols and history, Berlinski displays the inner soul of simple arithmetic.” (Philip J. Davis, professor emeritus of applied mathematics, Brown University)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall

A combination of banal, confusing, and dull

I gave up on this book after the sixth chapter. The subject seemed interesting to me, and the book's description intrigued me -- but I was sorely disappointed. Berlinksi is not a good story teller. His narrative is often disjointed, and he tries too hard to be clever. Much of the discussion seemed too obvious to be interesting, whereas parts were just confusing. Overall, a frustrating experience.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Lots of Potential, but very little substance.

What would have made One, Two, Three better?

The author should have spent more time on the subject and less time trying to sound witty. I could almost here the author laughing at his own jokes behind the scenes. I was hoping for something like Zero - A biography of a dangerous idea. <br/>

Has One, Two, Three turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, but I don't plan to read or listen to any of the authors other works.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator neither added nor detracted from the book.

What character would you cut from One, Two, Three?

The books supposed characters, the numbers 1, 2, 3, are already absent. Thus, there are no characters to cut.

Any additional comments?

This author took a fascinating subject and made it really boring.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robert
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 03-20-12

Not a Highly Educational Experience

I am a layman interested in math and science, and I expected this book to dig down into some of the philosophical roots. Instead, I found that it treated subjects in a series of brief vignettes, with little in the way of interesting or exciting concepts. It really did not stay with any particular subject very long. I did not find the brain teasers I was hoping for.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

1, 2, 3

This book was bought to help my son with his anxiety over math. He enjoyed it and has a better understanding of why we need math and how important it is in our everyday lives.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Awesome read/listen

Love this book have read it a few times and listen to it at least twice.