Newspaper reviews are starting to come in.
Ellenberg’s talent for finding real-life situations that enshrine mathematical principles would be the envy of any math teacher. He presents these in fluid succession, like courses in a fine restaurant, taking care to make each insight shine through, unencumbered by jargon or notation. Part of the sheer intellectual joy of the book is watching the author leap nimbly from topic to topic, comparing slime molds to the Bush-Gore Florida vote, criminology to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The final effect is of one enormous mosaic unified by mathematics.
I have a small piece of advice for readers with little or no mathematical background (who can actually benefit from this book the most): Even if a few of the explanations seem a bit long, read them with patience—you will be amply rewarded.
How Not To Be Wrong is a superb primer, helping readers engage more sceptically with numbers.
There are plenty of popular maths books around, but this one strikes a particularly fine balance between rigour and accessibility.
And some recorded interviews. I talked to Chris Mooney on the Inquiring Minds podcast; turns out his book has a chapter on Condorcet too, and we talked about math and its relationship with political liberalism. Mooney has a related article in Mother Jones. I was also on the Motley Fool podcast and Arik Korman’s iHeartRadio show.