
Love and Math
 The Heart of Hidden Reality
 Narrated by: Tony Craine
 Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
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Publisher's Summary
What if you had to take an art class in which you were only taught how to paint a fence? What if you were never shown the paintings of van Gogh and Picasso, weren't even told they existed? Alas, this is how math is taught, and so for most of us it becomes the intellectual equivalent of watching paint dry.
In Love and Math, renowned mathematician Edward Frenkel reveals a side of math we've never seen, suffused with all the beauty and elegance of a work of art. In this heartfelt and passionate audiobook, Frenkel shows that mathematics, far from occupying a specialist niche, goes to the heart of all matter, uniting us across cultures, time, and space.
Love and Math tells two intertwined stories: of the wonders of mathematics and of one young man's journey learning and living it. Having braved a discriminatory educational system to become one of the twentyfirst century's leading mathematicians, Frenkel now works on one of the biggest ideas to come out of math in the last 50 years: the Langlands Program.
Considered by many to be a Grand Unified Theory of mathematics, the Langlands Program enables researchers to translate findings from one field to another so that they can solve problems, such as Fermat's last theorem, that had seemed intractable before. At its core, Love and Math is a story about accessing a new way of thinking, which can enrich our lives and empower us to better understand the world and our place in it. It is an invitation to discover the magic hidden universe of mathematics.
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What listeners say about Love and Math
Average Customer RatingsReviews  Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Overall

Performance

Story
 Gary
 033114
Answers tough questions, but not for all listeners
I enjoyed the book, but would be hard pressed to recommend it since he does explain all the details that goes into the relevant math and the listener can get lost within the weeds of the math. I did not know this branch of mathematics and was able to follow the details, but sometimes it did get overwhelming.
Math is beautiful. Behind our current different branches of abstract math there exist an ultimate theory that ties each branch together. This book explains all of this by delving into the mathematical details and stepping the listener through many abstract math concepts.
The author tells an exciting story. The description of the fundamental particles of nature are said to be described by the "eight fold path". I've often wondered what that meant. The book starts by explaining what it means to be symmetrical and how we can transform objects into mathematically equivalent systems. This leads to Evariste Galois the greatest mathematician who you probably never have heard of. On the night before he died in a duel, he connected number theory to geometry by considering the relationship of certain groups (Galois Groups) with their fields and some symmetries in order to solve quintic equations (fifth degree polynomials). Once again, I had often wondered about what was so special about solving fifth degree polynomials. The book steps me through that.
The ultimate theory of math tries to show the correspondences between different diverse areas of abstract math and then the author ties this to QED and string theory. He'll even explain what SU3 means in the standard model by analogy with constructing SO3 spaces (standard 3 dimensional ordinate systems). He'll step you through the vector spaces, function theory, and metric spaces and the functions of the metric space (sheaves) that you'll need to understand what it all means.
He really does tie all the concepts together and explains them as he presents them. You'll understand why string theorist think there could be 10 to the 500 different possible universes and so on.
Just so that any reader of this review fully understands, this is a very difficult book, and should only be listened to by someone who has wondered about some of the following topics, the meaning of the "eight fold path", the SU3 construction, and why Galois is relevant to today's physics, tying of math branches and physics together, and other just as intriguing ideas. I had, and he answers these by getting in the weeds and never talking down to the listener, but I'm guessing the typical reader hasn't wondered these topics and this book will not be as entertaining to them and might be hard to follow.
P.S. A book like this really highlights while I like audible so much. If I had read the book instead of listening to it, it would have taken me eight hours per most pages because I would have had to understand everything before preceding, but by listening I have to not dwell on a page. Another thing, the author really missed a great opportunity by making the book too complex, because he has a great math story to tell and he could have made easier analogies and talked around the jargon better.
14 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Michael
 051114
A book that probably loses from being read aloud
What did you like best about Love and Math? What did you like least?
Best was the personal story of the author's personal triumph over prejudice in Moscow. Despite horrible antisemitism, he was able to escape to America and be, at least in his own estimation (with apparent plausibility) a well regarded academic mathematician.
The unfolding mathematical story, as well as personal one, appeared to have the potential to be fascinating. But given it is pitched at a general audience who are not trained in maths, it failed in explaining itself. Given that part of the author's argument (at least expressed in other forums than this book) is that the school curriculum being too slow to take up the progress in mathematics over the last couple of centuries, and that it has the potential to be fascinating, this is a serious failure. The way the mathematical advances are presented in this book, if it is thought by a serious mathematician to be presented for an intelligent lay audience, strains the believability of the proposition that such mathematics can ever be generally accessible.
Having only listened to the audio book, I do, however, wonder whether this is caused by having to listen to mathematical formulas rather than read them. The words or numbers and symbols on the page of a book, may be more accessible. A possibility is that I have a visually dominant input so that aural input is more difficult. But I found it very difficult to keep the boringly read formulas in my head long enough to work out whether they presented an argument. (Of course, I accept that they did, just that it bypassed me completely) I also supposed that the book must have contained illustrations which are not referred to at all in the auditory text. I suspect if you had the written material in front of you you could at least stop and look at it and read it several times and reason mathematically a little bit about it so it would be more likely to stay in one's head for the next part of the argument.
Possibly this was exacerbated by the reader who seemed not to have a very good ability to give emphasis and nuance to what he was reading. There were several times where
I felt I picked up a lot of mathematical jargon  fields, groups, sets, braids, loops, Galois things, Lie algebra, Langlands program, Weill's rosetta stone, vector spaces, legrangians, KatzMoody algebras  I'm not sure how to spell all these at is all auditory. But I really can't say that any of this terminology has any meaning to me.
The experience was really just like watching the news in Chinese, with English commentary interspersed to provide historical updates. Unless you speak a bit of Chinese, you wouldn't get it. It was the same here, you need to be pretty knowledgeable about maths to understand the importance of the maths presented.
Perhaps this is just my lack of education in higher mathematics  but that was why i thought I'd be interested to read the book  to gain some general conception of what modern mathematics is really about. I failed. Perhaps it's just me.
Despite these significant shortcomings, the book was interesting and I learnt a tiny shadowy amount of what goes on in that foreign land.
8 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Warren
 022616
Quite possibly the best book I've ever read
As a math major I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it filled me with joy, pride, humility, and ambition. I am now more certain than I've ever been that I was born to do mathematics.
5 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Make War
 092820
Narrator Can’t Even Pronounce Euler Properly
Of all the places to hear someone mispronounce the famous mathematician Euler’s (it’s ‘Oiler’ not ‘Youler’) name I hardly expected it to be in a book written by a mathematician about math. Pretty disappointed. Narrator, come on, you couldn’t have taken two minutes to learn how to properly say the guy’s name? Otherwise only a few performance issues but overall a good book.
2 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Mario
 100814
A little too complex for "normal" people
I bought the audiobook and the Kindle book, but I found it too difficult to follow the information on the audio, as it always refers to numbers, symbols and equations. The information was worth reading, so I could get an overview on what a “mathematician world” is like. The information is way too complex to understand, at least for me who does not have any mathematical background.
2 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Morad
 042015
It's an autobiography, has nothing to do with math
This is an autobiography with just a little bit of math sprinkled in, this is not for people who like mathematics and want interesting topics to think about during their day.
This book does not show you the beauty of math, it's entirety is dedicated to showing you how much Edward loves math, how much Edward thinks math is beautiful, and all the amazing things about math that we will not be exposed to because we're not Edward.
The small bits that are about math are explained in analogies so dumbed down that neither casual people nor experienced mathematicians could gain anything from them..
I just feel a bit cheated, I learned nothing new from this book and it did nothing to change my view of mathematics, the Langlands Program sounds like an awesome topic that I would absolutely love to see put in an audiobook, alas this book does nothing except mention that such a thing exists and you can go and read more about it yourself.
1 person found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Jonny D.
 051214
Excellent Book!
What did you love best about Love and Math?
I really enjoyed the story and the ending.
What did you like best about this story?
I enjoyed listening to Dr. Frenkel describe how a mathematician develops, what they are interested in, the struggles they deal with, and their philosophy.
Which scene was your favorite?
Probably the ending where the author goes into detail on the Platonic nature of mathematics and incorporates the ideas of other mathematicians (ex. Roger Penrose)
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No
Any additional comments?
Great story. Educational, informative, and inspiring. I emailed Dr. Frenkel about books he read when he was beginning to learn math and he emailed me back with a nice email and a list of books. I think that is fantastic!
1 person found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 F.
 011814
Great story, well written, superb content.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
No. The story is wonderful, it is well written and excellently told by the author. Unfortunately, the narrator just doesn't have the necessary gravitas. His voice is highpitched and is extremely annoying.
What other book might you compare Love and Math to and why?
"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson. Great book, but lousy narrator. As a contrast, consider "Einstein", also written by Walter Isaacson, but narrated by Edward Herrmann. Night and day!
What didn’t you like about Tony Craine’s performance?
His voice is highpitched and is gratingly annoying.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
The same as the book's title: "Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality"
Any additional comments?
If somebody could please get a good narrator to do justice to this book, I would buy that new edition in a heartbeat. Ditto for "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson.
Meanwhile, I have purchased the paper & Kindle editions. I do a lot of driving and I enjoy listening to good books on the road, but I had to pull over and switch to something else with "Love and Math" and "Einstein". I just couldn't suffer listening to the narrators of these two (otherwise fantastic) books any more.
1 person found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Amazon Customer
 063022
Not Great in Audiobook Format
The story was fantastic and the math which drove it was equally enthralling. However I believe that it would be much easier to follow said math in a non audiobook format.

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 Kindle Customer
 120419
Not a good book for narration
Good book, interesting topic, but narrating it was a bad idea. The narrator reads out formulas in something that sounds like: "Q plus Q to the power of two times Q plus Q plus 2 to the power of Q plus 2,,," there is just no way to follow it. Get it as a printed book. Don't bother with the audio version.

Overall

Performance

Story
 Kastrel
 122115
Bit of a mixed bag  don't get audiobook
What didn’t you like about Tony Craine’s performance?
He clearly didn't understand a lot of what he was reading  it's quite heavy maths in places, and it was impossible to understand. Also, just not getting the concepts of what he was saying meant he sometimes put the emphasis in strange places making it so hard to follow. Not great.
Any additional comments?
Argh, finally finished this book. Unsurprisingly, it does not work as an audiobook. Do not buy it from Audible.
I think when I got it, I believed it was more of a book about mathematicians or a fictionalised autobiography, than a book about maths. It's sort of both, but there is a fair amount of actual maths (and significantly advanced maths, at that). And that's just impossible to make sense of while listening. Particularly as the narrator, Tony Craine, clearly has absolutely no idea what he is saying, so his emphasis is often totally off, or he reads things in a way that doesn't distinguish where brackets would be, so it's just impossible to follow no matter how hard you listen  there's not enough information conveyed.
The story itself I really enjoyed  it was a fascinating account of education and antisemitism in Soviet Russia, as well as great insight into the lives of professional mathematicians. I did a maths degree so I can't comment on how it would come across to the layman, but I found the actual maths a bit hardgoing and uninteresting  these are difficult, complicated concepts that weren't very interesting when you can't get into either the nittygritty or appreciate the broader concepts.
A bit of a mixed bag. Quite enjoyable in parts, but I'm glad to be done. Don't get the audiobook.
8 people found this helpful

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Performance

Story
 kokkie_d
 030914
Wauw. Math made beautiful and simple
Where does Love and Math rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Really loved this book. I have always been intrigued with math and it's possibilities but never got further than basic functions. Thanks to Edward frenkel I now dare to dream that I might do more with math than before.
The story is inspiring and gripping. The narrator is doing a great job: there are various equations mentioned which I imagine makes narrating a bit tricky but with a book on math quite unavoidable. His voice is pleasant and very suited for this book.
In short: this book rekindled my love for math. Thank you Edward.
3 people found this helpful

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Story
 The Talent
 061217
Informative, but not at all what I expected.
First, let me state that I am not a mathematics novice. I am reasonably familiar with most of the concepts, at least broadly, that are discussed in this book.
This book starts out with a very exciting premise, that mathematics need not be daunting and that one can even fall in love with mathematics. I tutor kids part time and that notion is something that I desperately want to be able to teach better. Misleadingly, this book approaches the joy of maths in the form of mathematical memoirs of a mathematician written for mathematicians (as confusing as that sounds). Beyond the introduction, this book dives head first into the Langlands Program, braided forms, higher order polynomials, symmetry and other advanced concepts.
The discussion is at a good pace and concisely written. I found it very interesting and from the educational vantage point that I occupy, I got a lot out of it.
While the author takes great pains to make the language accessible to all, the concepts discussed quickly and unapologetically fall far outside the reach of the majority of the general public, and in my opinion, fails in all aspects of the suggested aim to inspire the uninitiated to find love in math.
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