Thinking in Numbers

  • by Daniel Tammet
  • Narrated by Daniel Tammet
  • 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Thinking in Numbers is the book that Daniel Tammet, best-selling author and mathematical savant, was born to write. In Tammet's world, numbers are beautiful and mathematics illuminates our lives and minds. Using anecdotes, everyday examples, and ruminations on history, literature, and more, Tammet allows us to share his unique insights and delight in the way numbers, fractions, and equations underpin all our lives.
Inspired by the complexity of snowflakes, Anne Boleyn's 11 fingers, or his many siblings, Tammet explores questions such as why time seems to speed up as we age, whether there is such a thing as an average person, and how we can make sense of those we love. Thinking in Numbers will change the way you think about math and fire your imagination to see the world with fresh eyes.

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What the Critics Say

"How many mathematicians are dazzling storytellers as well? As it turns out, numbers lend themselves powerfully to the realm of narrative, and no explorer of this region is more innovative than Daniel Tammet. What a joy to read an author whose dexterity with digits is matched by his wisdom with words." (David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist, author of Incognito and Sum)
"An engrossing blend of autobiography, mathematical theory, and 'what if' speculations, Daniel Tammet's essays allow us to see the world through the lens of numbers. The result is fascinating, even dizzying series of fresh perspectives on things we thought we knew." (Billy Collins)
"Englarges one's wonder at Tammet's mind and his all-embracing vision of the world as grounded in numbers." (Oliver Sacks, MD)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Ode to Imagination

The book listens like a long poem and explains how our understanding of the world comes about through our imagination and understanding the maths that make up our world and is the key to understanding our place in the universe. As in any good poem it's probably best listened to by the author who wrote it. It did take me all of three minutes to realize that the author was a very good narrator and his speech patterns did take those three minutes for me to get used to. After that, I realize he was the best reader for the book.

The author really makes his work speak to me. For example, his explanation that Shakespeare at his core uses the "presence of the absence" makes me finally appreciate Shakespeare. Shakespeare was the first class of students in England to accept zero (cipher) and use Arabic numbers including zero. The existence of nothing (cipher) has consequences. Shakespeare helped make the world aware of that.

Another example, Abraham Lincoln loved Euclid's elements and in his debates with Douglas, say, would speak as if he was quoting from Euclid to make his points. Another example, the author states Pythagoras was the first to realize the power of the imaginary over tradition (myths and the empirical) and why that was so important for understanding our place in the universe.

The book is full of gems like the above examples. I never got lost while listening to the math stuff in the book, sometimes I would get lost on foreign words such as how the Icelandic use many different words for the smaller numbers.

Those who are not good with math and numbers will follow the major points. Imagination and how we use is understandable by all listeners.
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- Gary

Disappointing

Numbers are fascinating, and I was expecting to be fascinated by the author's intriguing revelations concerning the universe and how it unfolds mathematically. Instead, the book seems more like unconnected ramblings, a series of short stories about the author's life and some significant events in his life that are connected to his view of mathematical proportions. The author's dialect (speech impediment?) makes the book difficult to listen to. I found myself counting the number of consonants he cannot pronounce, instead of becoming fascinated with - counting. It could be that the book is much more interesting if read at one's own speed, and in one's own "head" voice, rather than listened to at the narrator's speed, and speech.
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- Doris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-30-2013
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio