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The study of mathematics starts with the teaching of arithmetic, a horrible, wretched subject, far removed from real mathematics, but perceived to be useful. As a result, vast numbers of intelligent people become "mathematics avoiders" even though they have never met mathematics. Their desire to avoid the tedium of elementary arithmetic, with its boring, unappetizing algorithms and pointless drill-calculations, is perfectly natural and healthy.

Peter Hilton
Forward to Jan Gullberg's Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers, 1997

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