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Book Review of: Easy As Pi
The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day
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Easy As Pi, by Jamie Buchan (Hardcover, 2010)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Buchanan's engaging and somewhat playful writing style made this book a pleasure to read. It was also informative, and I didn't find inaccuracies (an amazing thing, these days).
You do not have to be a nerd to enjoy this book. It's not a "math book." The math angle is really a vehicle or theme for presenting various interesting facts. Some of these facts are trivia, and some are more substantive. The author could have presented a different set of facts, under a different theme. But he chose math and thus we have this book.
In keeping with the math motif, the book has a logical structure to it. The book runs 174 pages (in small format). It consists of five chapters, each beginning with "Numbers in..."
This book is good entertainment and good reading. I laughed aloud in some places, and learned useful facts in some places. I also had fun learning some useless facts that were interesting all the same.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.