“I just read a book about math”; this is a sentence that I never expected to be using. I don’t really “do” math, and by that I mean I wasn’t very good at it and it drove me crazy that I could never figure out what circumstance I would need to understand or use Pythagorean Theorem, which I have probably just spelled incorrectly. I like statistics though and found that I did really well with it in university (like my highest grade kind of well).
Beyond statistics, my interest in math remained a distant fascination. I have a friend who is currently getting his PhD in math, and I wanted to know what he liked so much about math, what about it appealed to him. He explained that it was something of an art form in his opinion. Understanding that I am not mathematically inclined matters when it comes to How to Bake Pi because I want everyone to understand that the book isn’t just for mathematicians.
How to Bake Pi was definitely out of my typical range of books. To summarize, Eugenia Cheng wrote the book to explain math, how people “do” math, and the theories behind math, to the not-mathematically inclined people by comparing it to baking, a long with a few instances about lego and other useful analogies. I learned about the novel while reading Wired, a really cool magazine about technology and science and some geeky things (e.g. Star Wars). Learning about Wired can happen another time though.
I downloaded the book to appease my curiosity about math. Despite the topic, I found it all to be rather interesting. In fact, Eugenia Cheng did an amazing job at making math sound less intimidating and crazy. I really do not think I will be running out tomorrow to learn calculus or pure mathematics, but I do enjoy understanding how and why people enjoy, or understand, these topics.
In all honesty, the book isn’t super exciting like the comedic or action based novels will be. That said, I found a few laughs in there and it appealed to my curiosity about what appeals to people when it comes to math and why any sane person would choose to go there, because I know a number of mathy-people who are perfectly normal (not that anyone is really “normal” cause I don’t think there is a such thing but that’s not my point). I do think that the book is worth a read and worth looking into if you’d like to appease your curious mind.