Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Good Math: A Geek's Guide to the Beauty of Numbers, Logic, and Computation (Pragmatic Programmers)

Book Review:  Good Math: A Geek's Guide to the Beauty of Numbers, Logic, and Computation (Pragmatic Programmers) by Mark Chu-Carroll: Publisher- Pragmatic: ISBN- 13: 978-1937785338

Good Math is excellent book for software programmers who do not have formal education in Mathematics. Book covers variety of topics.

Part 1 of book starts with Pop Sci style (discussion on very light topics like Natural Numbers, Integers, etc). In Part 2, book strengthens Pop Sci style while discussing Zero, Golden Ratio, etc. In Part 3, book is at its epitome for Pop Sci style while discussing about Roman Numerals, Egyptian Fraction, and Continued Fraction.

Part 4 diverges from Pop Sci and ventures into realm of Logic and Programming. Discussion about Logic (with reference to Mr. Spock of Star Trek is superb). Part 5 prepares readers to take a dive into Set Theory which is fantastic. Lastly, Part 6 enters into kingdom of Lambda Calculus.

Though book has some flaws (like In Chapter 13, mathematical notation is used but basic introduction in provided in chapter 16) but no one is perfect.

I would like to see some talk around Prime numbers, infinity, and infinitesimal in Pop Sci part.

Good Math inspired me to extend my ninth grader/sophomore blog post to include Lambda calculus apart from other software topics.

Good Math is certainly going to live long on my bookshelf.

Disclaimer: I did not get paid to review this book, and I do not stand to gain anything if you buy the book. I have no relationship with the publisher or the author.

Further reading: I am not aware of any other book which covers topic of mathematics and computers in similar fashion as Good Maths. Only one book I can think of near to style and concept of Good Maths is Understanding Computation: From Simple Machines to Impossible Programs  by Tom Stuart.

One can get more information about book and related topics from:

  1. Mark’s blog: http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/
  2. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Math-Computation-Pragmatic-Programmers/dp/1937785335
  3. Publisher -- Pragmatic http://pragprog.com/book/mcmath/good-math