The Mathematics Devotional

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A book review of The Mathematics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Mathematics by Clifford A. Pickover

A book review of The Mathematics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Mathematics by Clifford A. Pickover

Stars: ***

Sterling (2014)
Mathematics History
392 pages

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Summary: From the ingenious author of The Math Book and The Physics Book comes an inspirational volume that celebrates the beauty and wisdom of mathematics. Every page of this yearlong devotional presents a sage remark alongside a stunning image relating to the world of math. The quotes offer insight from such brilliant thinkers as Pythagoras, Richard Feynman, and Robert Heinlein, and the art showcases everything from gorgeous fractals to splendid architecture. The calendar also includes the birthdays of notable mathematicians, so readers can see which ones share theirs. A brief biographical dictionary provides additional information on the people whose wonderful words appeared through the book.

The Mathematics Devotional

I love math so when I saw this I thought it would be great. A way to think about math every day of the year. It’s a beautiful book with full colour pages and beautiful mathematical art. However the quotes were way above my understanding.

I got As in math and do math questions for fun on my own as an adult. I own a shelf of math books and I love math. So when I say they are above my understanding, it’s not because I struggle with math. These are quotes from mathematicians and honestly, for mathematicians.

Example of a quote that I understood and enjoyed:

“Mathematics is as much part of our cultural heritage as art, literature, and music. As humans, we have a hunger to discover something new, reach new meaning, understand better the universe and our place in it.”

Originally Edward Frenkel, Love and Math 2013 but quoted in The Mathematics Devotional

This is an example of the types of quotes that had me lost:

“A sphere, which is as many thousand spheres, solid as a crystal, yet through all its mass flow, as through empty space, music and light… Sphere within sphere; and every space between, peopled with unimaginable shapes, such as ghosts dream, dwell in the lampless deep.”

Originally Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, 1820 but quoted in The Mathematics Devotional


Although there are some that confuse me, there are still many quotes that I liked. It’s a good book, but it is better for those who are taking or have taken college level math or are otherwise geniuses in math.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.