The international best seller.
A brief history of the mathematical ideas that have forever changed the world and the everyday people and pioneers behind them. Full of anthropological insights, amazing anecdotes and theory, It All Adds Up charts the story of our best invention yet.
From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control our computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere. They are so indispensable that we forget just how fundamental they are to our way of life.
In this international best seller, Mickaël Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. It is a journey into numbers, with Launay as a guide. In museums, monuments or train stations, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, how Babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex mathematical languages and how ‘Arabic’ numbers were adopted from India. It All Adds Up also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace back one of the oldest battles in history, down to its day, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established and the fact that negative numbers were accepted just last century.
This audiobook is a vital compendium of the great men and women of mathematics from Aristotle to Ada Lovelace, which demonstrates how this discipline shaped the written word and world. With clarity, passion and wisdom, the author unveils the unexpected and at times serendipitous ways in which big mathematical ideas were created; supporting the belief that - just like music or literature - maths should be accessible to everyone, Launay gives listeners a newfound fondness for the numbers that surround us and the rich stories they contain.
"I found Mickaël Launay’s fascinating book so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn't seem nearly as fearsome as it once did. Maybe It All Adds Up should, for me at least, have been re-titled 'It All Makes Sense. At Last.'" (Simon Winchester)
"An enjoyable and timely tour around the mathematics of everyday life, past and present. Mickaël Launay ably demonstrates his thesis that 'you only have to change how you look at the world' to find numbers and patterns in the most unlikely places. And he extends a welcoming and sympathetic hand to those who would like to like mathematics but don't know how." (Benjamin Wardhaugh, author of How to Read Historical Mathematics and Gunpowder and Geometry)
"It's difficult to carry on saying you do not like mathematics, [Mickael Launay] is so good at making this subject - which is so nightmarish for many students - captivating... The teacher you always dreamt of having." (Le Monde)