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Loving + Hating Mathematics

I have always been a fan of Reuben Hersh's mathematical writings. My favorite of his popular texts is The Mathematical Experience, co-authored with Philip Davis. The latter is even more inviting as an author, but both always provide interesting reads.

This past summer, Reuben Davis released a new book Loving + Hating Mathematics: Challenging the Myths of Mathematical Life, co-authored wih Vera John-Steiner. Both are professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico, in mathematics and linguistics respectively.

Using both stories and anecdotes, the book identifies the "hidden human, emotional, and social forces that shape mathematics and affect the experience of students and mathematicians.". Sounds relevant, right!

As some enticement for you to find and read the book, consider the chapter headings:

  • Mathematical Beginnings
  • Mathematical Culture
  • Mathematics as Solace
  • Mathematics as an Addiction
  • Friendships and Partnerships
  • Mathematical Communities
  • Gender and Age in Mathematics
  • The Teaching of Mathematics: Fierce or Friendly?
  • Loving and Hating School Mathematics
The book "destroys' many myths. Is mathematics a solitary pursuit? Is mathematics a "young man's game"? Are mathematicians emotionally different? Are successful mathematicians somewhat crazy?

With high probability, I predict that you will enjoy this book...if you enjoy mathematics. But, be aware that the book at times regresses amidst too many anecdotes...that seem to be pasted together.