Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Steven Strogatz reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Steven Strogatz, author of The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity.

His entry begins:
A few weeks ago I read The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin. The author is best known from his days as a chess prodigy (the terrific movie Searching for Bobby Fischer was based on his early achievements). But what is less well known is that Waitzkin has been even more successful as a martial artist, twice winning a world championship in Tai Chi Chuan Push Hands. His book is a thoughtful and often Zen-inspired take on learning and mastery from someone who has achieved world-class status in two different fields. I read...[read on]
About The Joy of X, from the publisher:
A world-class mathematician and regular contributor to the New York Times hosts a delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, revealing how it connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture in ways we never imagined

Did O.J. do it? How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it? How does Google search the Internet? How many people should you date before settling down? Believe it or not, math plays a crucial role in answering all of these questions and more.

Math underpins everything in the cosmos, including us, yet too few of us understand this universal language well enough to revel in its wisdom, its beauty — and its joy. This deeply enlightening, vastly entertaining volume translates math in a way that is at once intelligible and thrilling. Each trenchant chapter of The Joy of x offers an “aha!” moment, starting with why numbers are so helpful, and progressing through the wondrous truths implicit in π, the Pythagorean theorem, irrational numbers, fat tails, even the rigors and surprising charms of calculus. Showing why he has won awards as a professor at Cornell and garnered extensive praise for his articles about math for the New York Times, Strogatz presumes of his readers only curiosity and common sense. And he rewards them with clear, ingenious, and often funny explanations of the most vital and exciting principles of his discipline.

Whether you aced integral calculus or aren’t sure what an integer is, you’ll find profound wisdom and persistent delight in The Joy of x.
Learn more about the book and author at Steven Strogatz's website.

Writers Read: Steven Strogatz (August 2009).

Writers Read: Steven Strogatz.

--Marshal Zeringue