Sunday, 14 June 2020

[Book 55] Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart

Serial No.:- 55
Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart

Informative Book (10. Education & Reference)

Book:- Arithmetic

Author:- Paul Lockhart

Language:- English

Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press

Published on:- August 21, 2017

No. of Pages:- 240

My after reading review (June 14, 2020):-
Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart is a book about arithmetic, not an arithmetic textbook. Let me explain what I mean by that. Unlike other books this one is not on any typical high school math book full of numerical problems and exercises. Even this book is not for kids, rather this book is for more advanced math readers. In this book the author describes the queen of mathematics called arithmetic so deeply and beautifully that he almost opens the anatomy of arithmetic to the reader.

In the first few lessons the author describes how the concept of counting things has been built over the years, which is the pillar of today's number systems. He took three imaginary ancient era tribes and showed that different number systems can be invented by different tribes, though the main principles are the same. Then he pulled some real ancient human civilizations such as Egypt, Rome, China, Japan, India and finally Europe and their different number systems have been developed over the years. Our today’s modern number system did not develop overnight. It took thousands of years and those ancient civilizations have a big contribution to it.

After counting things and number systems what comes under the radar of discussion are the four basic arithmetic operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The author let us deep dive into the discussion of four arithmetic operations and show how the algorithms of those operations have been developed. And how simple it became to calculate anything with just a pen and a paper.

Then a chapter on machines from counting machines ( i.e. mechanical odometer ) to calculating machines (i.e. electronic calculator) not to do repetitive tasks manually anymore. Also a chapter on fraction and another one on negative numbers. And lastly the author finishes the book with the chapter “The Art of Counting”. In this chapter he shows how different powerful counting methods such as “Permutation and Combination” save our lots of time and efforts to do complex calculations. A true mathematician always finds shortcut methods to save time and efforts.

Mathematics is my favourite subject and arithmetic is the core of mathematics. Though arithmetic is the only branch I didn’t like much. But after reading this book I start loving arithmetic - the fundamental pillar of mathematics.

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