This is a lovely book: strong emphasis on ideas; a lively sense of humour; a sure logical touch; historical detail that is accurate, relevant, yet quirky (takes some doing!). What’s not to like?
Well, there’s this: it is not easy to decide whether to recommend the book to anybody who doesn’t already know calculus. I’ll return to that. Let me start by describing why this is such a good book.
Firstly, the light touch and the clarity, which together make it wonderfully accessible. Fans of Tom Korner, including yours truly, will be happy to hear that it it as good as his “The Pleasures of Counting” and “Fourier Analysis”, two of the best books on maths ever. Like them, it discusses applications, social context and history but always in a way that supports the maths, which remains the main focus.
Secondly, the balance between rigour and intuition is superbly judged and maintained.…