Customer Reviews for

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic

Fantastic book, though most definitely written by a mathematician. Very interesting and concise. Now to find a good biography of Pythagoras..

posted by Caleigh on February 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Choose another Zero book

The philosophy and history of the concept of "nothing" is an interesting one with a lot of repercussions. I can't really say that Seife did it justice, though. The writing is not as focused as it could be, some sections getting repetitive and his analogies don't quite w...
The philosophy and history of the concept of "nothing" is an interesting one with a lot of repercussions. I can't really say that Seife did it justice, though. The writing is not as focused as it could be, some sections getting repetitive and his analogies don't quite work. And, quite frankly, I don't know why anyone would spend time describing Pascal's Wager without pointing out how logically inconsistent and culturally biased it is. In short, not a bad book, just not really recommended. Especially since others have tackled the subject.

posted by Victor3000 on March 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2005

    Fascinating

    Zero was a fascinating journey. I read it in two sittings. I'm a high school senior in a college-level intro calculus course though, and I wonder how the less-initiated reader finds Zero. I would caution those who lack a patience for higher order mathematics, or a familiarity with physics and calculus to think twice before delving into Zero. You will undoubtedly enjoy it, but I wonder if you will understand the intricacies of the latter half of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2005

    Not For Nothing...

    Who would have thought that a book about zero would be so interesting? But it is - and then some. Easily readable, even for mathophobes - and lots of fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Fantasic book

    We read this book in trig class through the year. Was fun to find out the history of such a simple yet complex idea. I highly recomend this book if you love learning.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    Great book, not just for math-lovers

    Fans of science, history, math, or philosophy will dig this. Hell, even if you hate any of those subjects, read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2006

    A Must Read For Anyone Needing Perspective

    It's been a while since I've partaken in any mathematics or physics discussions but this book helped me understand what I didn't even realize I didn't understand. Reading this book enlightened my understanding of physics and calculus. I definitely recommend this book to anyone. The author ensures that it's easy enough to read for just about anyone with a slightly above average mathematical reasoning level. Although I must agree with a previous reviewer and state that the latter half of the book is much more conceptual.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    From a math-a-phobic!

    Who would think that a dry subject on 'zero' could be so interesting? A wonderful, interesting journey through history on how zero came into our everyday mathematics. Recommend to everyone, even mathaphobics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2004

    zero flaws....i think?

    This astounding display of excellence is, for lack of a better term, marvelous. Seife dives deep into the biography of a common yet engrossly powerful number. Upon reading, one can see that even an art so precise as mathamatics, it wobbles on an unsteady leg that might not even exist at all. A truly ingenious book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Truly impressive view at a number.

    This was a great book. It starts out with basic concepts and history and develops it into a knowledge rich book. Not only does it have something to show the reader but it leaves the reader with a lasting impression about the deveopment, growth, and life of zero.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2001

    A gem

    A truly enjoyable book. It's amazing how elegant the book is despite how dense it is with philosophical, historical, and mathematical facts. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2001

    Enchanting Storytelling, Compelling Concepts

    Seifes style has cool class, as he presents captivatingly the origins, behaviors, and the dangers of integrating the concept of zero into mathematics, philosophy and existential concepts within our own historical universe. Who knew math was so compelling, but once you start this book, its sure to hijack you along trails of intrigue. Touches of irreverent humor and masterful storytelling spice this book chock full of ancient cultural information, explanations of different counting notations, calendars, and philosophy. An exhilarating view of the many implications and paradoxes inherent in the controversial idea of zero. Seife, using captivating uniqueness of authorial voice, weaves stories, concepts and humorous anecdotes into a fascinating journey that travels a wonderful path watching tableaus of many ancient cultures beliefs and stakes in the zero controversies. Seifes' presentation enmeshes concepts of mathematical behaviors of zero in culture, philosophy and political stakes with a gooseflesh chill of fun along the journey. Covering ground from Egypt to Sumeria to Greece, keeping the freshness of drama and meaning present in every paragraph, this book is a work of wonder and amazement, entertaining and compelling. A meaningful bonus, the practical illustrations of the mathematical challenges posed by zero are refreshingly accessible even to math-phobics. ....I highly recommend the audio version of this book, as well, to fully enjoy Seife's storytelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2001

    Recommended reading!

    A truly excellent and entertaining account of the history of this invaluable concept!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2001

    A great book with a fresh persepective

    When I first saw this book in my book club I was instantly curious. When I got the book a few weeks later in the mail I immediately opened the book and 3 days later I had completely finished the book. I was overwhelmed by the long struggle zero had to gain acceptance. Who would have figured that zero was just naturally accepted like all the other numbers were. The author describes the most complicated mathmatical issues in the easiest way possible. This book made me think like most books never will. It is the journey of human beings intelectual progress. It is stunning and I belive ever college kid should be forced to read this.

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    Posted August 20, 2009

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    Posted December 3, 2008

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    Posted February 26, 2011

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    Posted September 20, 2013

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    Posted January 31, 2010

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    Posted November 21, 2009

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    Posted June 27, 2012

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    Posted April 27, 2010

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