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Keith Devlin

The man of numbers

Fibonacci is known for his sequence of numbers, but in The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution Keith Devlin shows that he actually played a significant part in introducing the arithmetic we use today to the Western world.

Fibonacci is really a nickname, in his lifetime he was known as Leonardo of Pisa. Devlin tells of his early life, and in particular his time in the North African city of Bugia, where he would have had plenty of experience of Arabic mathematics. He would also have good reason to use it, as he worked in his father's trading business. Most of the book is concerned with Fibonacci's influential book, Liber abbaci, explaining the sorts of practical calculations it described as well as tracing its inflence in the work of later writers.

I thought that Devlin did very well in writing about what could have been a very dry subject. Little is known about Fibonnacci's life, so this is less about the man and more about the books he wrote, but I never felt that the book was getting tedious to read. If you're interested in the history of mathematics, or if you want to find that Fibonacci did more than 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,... then I would recommend that you read this book.

Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 192 pages  
ISBN: 1408815761
Salesrank: 709815
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2011 Bloomsbury Publishing
Marketplace:New from £1.65:Used from £1.69
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 192 pages  
ISBN: 1408815761
Salesrank: 3544013
Weight:0.7 lbs
Published: 2011 Walker & Company
Marketplace::Used from £2.58
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 192 pages  
ISBN: 1408815761
Salesrank: 2290937
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2011 Bloomsbury UK
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 19.18:Used from CDN$ 10.75
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 192 pages  
ISBN: 1408815761
Salesrank: 867568
Weight:0.7 lbs
Published: 2011 Bloomsbury Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 15.89:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

In 1202, a 32-year old Italian finished one of the most influential books of all time, which introduced modern arithmetic to Western Europe. Devised in India in the 7th and 8th centuries and brought to North Africa by Muslim traders, the Hindu-Arabic system helped transform the West into the dominant force in science, technology, and commerce, leaving behind Muslim cultures which had long known it but had failed to see its potential.
The young Italian, Leonardo of Pisa (better known today as Fibonacci), had learned the Hindu number system when he traveled to North Africa with his father, a customs agent. The book he created was Liber abbaci, the "Book of Calculation," and the revolution that followed its publication was enormous. Arithmetic made it possible for ordinary people to buy and sell goods, convert currencies, and keep accurate records of possessions more readily than ever before. Liber abbaci's publication led directly to large-scale international commerce and the scientific revolution of the Renaissance.
Yet despite the ubiquity of his discoveries, Leonardo of Pisa remains an enigma. His name is best known today in association with an exercise in Liber abbaci whose solution gives rise to a sequence of numbers--the Fibonacci sequence--used by some to predict the rise and fall of financial markets, and evident in myriad biological structures.
One of the great math popularizers of our time, Keith Devlin recreates the life and enduring legacy of an overlooked genius, and in the process makes clear how central numbers and mathematics are to our daily lives.