Book Review: Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day by Jamie Buchan

Saturday, May 08, 2010 Posted by Dina N

Book Description
Count the ways . . .

Have you ever stopped to think how many countless ways we use numbers? From the ring of the alarm clock in the morning to the numbers triggering our cell phones, our world is designed with numbers in mind. With Easy as Pi, you'll get the 4-1-1 on the fascinating origin of many of the numbers we use or read about every day.
  • What makes "cloud nine" and "seventh heaven" so blissful?
  • Why is number 7 so lucky and 13 so unlucky?
  • Is "fourth-dimensional thinking" really out of this world?
  • What prompted Ray Bradbury to call his novel Fahrenheit 451?
  • How did 007 become James Bond's number?
For the math averse: Be not afraid. Easy as Pi is not a textbook but rather a lively look at the derivation of numerical expressions and their inescapable influence on our culture -- from book titles to bus schedules. To sum it up, Easy as Pi equals one clever and often hilarious collection.

My Review
Easy as Pi is a fun book about numbers. For those who believe numbers are boring, try to imagine for a second a world without them. No clocks, money, prices, birthdays, calendars, anniversaries. It would be a world close to the impossible! Jamie Buchan explains the meaning and origin of many "number" expressions, such as The Thirty-Nine Steps, Catch-22, The 23 Enigma, The Golden Number, Why Buses Come in Threes, and more. The book includes chapters on numbers in language, fiction, culture, mythology and religion, and math and science. I enjoyed all of them with the possible exception of a few pages in the last chapter - a little dry but still quite educational. If you are curious about numbers as more than math, this is the book for you.

And remember: as Albert Einstein, who knew a thing or two about numbers, said - quoted on the title page of Easy as Pi - "Not everything that counts can be counted. Not everything that can be counted counts."

About the Book:
Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day
By Jamie Buchan
Published by Reader's Digest
April 2010; $14.95US; 978-1-60652-134-2

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book without any obligation to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and may differ from yours.


  1. fredamans said...

    Great review!

    Happy Mothers Day!

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