By John Allen Paulos
Applying intuitive principles from arithmetic, this quirky "meta-memoir" increases questions on our lives that the majority folks don't imagine to invite, yet arguably may still: What a part of reminiscence is trustworthy truth, what half artistic embellishment? Which favourite presuppositions are unfounded, which statistically biased? via conjoining opposing mindsets--the suspension of disbelief required in storytelling and the skepticism inherent within the clinical method--bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an strange hybrid, a composite of private stories and mathematical ways to re-evaluating them.
Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math instructor and a superb selection of baseball playing cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother's petty larceny, and his fairly accidental position in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. those vignettes function springboards to many telling views: basic math places life-long behavior in a doubtful new mild; greater dimensional geometry is helping us see that we're all fairly atypical; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small ameliorations cascading into very diverse siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield perception on why we have a tendency to grow tired and jaded as we age; and there are methods and jokes, likelihood and coincidences, and masses more.
For enthusiasts of Paulos or novices to his paintings, this witty observation on his life--and yours--is attention-grabbing reading.
From the alternate Paperback edition.
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Charles joined them, despite the heaving of the sea, but the little boat went down soon after leaving the ship. ’62 The date of his death is set on the page of Ruskin’s memoir like a date on a tombstone: 22 January 1834, given a paragraph all to itself. ’63 It was at about this time, though, that Ruskin started to go to school from home each morning – and only for the morning. He must have seemed a wayward pupil with little discipline, and the standard curriculum did little to ﬁre his imagination, but the schoolmaster was less indulgent than his tutor at home had been and made him argue his points more forcefully.
6 It certainly reads like the work of an older person. There is a desire to see reform, which might be read as youthful, but that is equally characteristic of Ruskin’s much later writing. The idea was to compare and contrast the cottage architecture of England, France, Switzerland and Italy, and then the villa designs around Windermere and Lake Como. The idea might have been taken further, but Loudon’s Architectural Magazine folded. It is an argument for the establishment and maybe enforcement of a standard of taste in architecture.
The closest relations of course were with his parents, which is only to be expected for an only child. He was always closer to them than was usual in a nineteenth-century bourgeois household, where the children might expect to be conﬁned to the nursery, meeting their rather remote parents for limited hours each day. In the Ruskin family the bond continued into adulthood without the level of its intensity seeming to dwindle. ’46 When the family party crossed the Channel it was pleased with the realities that had inspired Prout’s images, and pleased with the accuracy of his depictions.