For many of us, mathematics means problems. When we were students, there were the exam questions and homework exercises we more or less willingly worked out, more or less successfully. And then as adults we find ourselves facing the more persistent, long-term problems associated with the subject - we find it perplexing and frustrating, or boring one moment and terrifying the next. Mathematics is, all told, a trial, and anything but pleasurable. In this novel and engaging overview of the field, Edward Burger and Michael Starbird turn these notions on their head. They assert not just that you can be more comfortable with mathematics, but that you can and should learn to embrace, even to love, the subject. Mathematics is not just a practical tool, they say; it is pathway into the most profound reaches of human thought, and a medium for expressing what is playful, paradoxical, and creative in our minds, in topics as diverse as number theory, infinity, geometry, topology, probability, and chaos theory.
Throughout the text, the authors demonstrate, in exercises that stress thinking over computation, how the underlying ideas of mathematics provide us with an analytical way of thinking, one that can be brought to bear on effective thinking in any field of study. For once-reluctant students or adults who wish to reacquaint themselves with the sense of wonder mathematics can bring to mind, this is an ideal book.