Mathematics is full of better ways of thinking, and with over 2,000 years of knowledge to draw on, Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy interrogates his passion for shortcuts in this fresh and fascinating guide. After all, shortcuts have enabled so much of human progress, whether in constructing the first cities around the Euphrates 5,000 years ago, using calculus to determine the scale of the universe or in writing today’s algorithms that help us find a new life partner.
As well as looking at the most useful shortcuts in history – such as measuring the circumference of the earth in 240 BC to diagrams that illustrate how modern GPS works – Marcus also looks at how you can use shortcuts in investing or how to learn a musical instrument to memory techniques. He talks to, among many, the writer Robert MacFarlane, cellist Natalie Clein and the psychologist Suzie Orbach, asking whether shortcuts are always the best idea and, if so, when they use them.
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