The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

by Keith Devlin
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Man of Numbers 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
hippypaul More than 1 year ago
In about the year of 1170 a man named Leonardo was born in Pisa. Opening a book he wrote in 1202 he referred to himself as Leonardo Pisano, Family Bonacci, from this Latin phrase filus Bonacci his present day nickname ¿Fibonacci¿ was coined by a historian in 1838. Fibonacci is usually remembered only in connection with the ¿Fibonacci sequence¿ however, in this fine book Keith Devlin carefully outlines his role as a towering figure in the movement of Hindu-Arabic numerals and arithmetic from the southern Mediterranean into Italy where it spread into Europe. The system was known in Italy before Fibonacci was born but it had was little used and not seen as being of value. It was the achievement of Fibonacci in his books to describe the system in terms of the problems encountered by merchants. He provided page after page of problems that involved trade, the measurement of land, the division of profits and the exchange of one form of money for another. Each problem was carefully worked out with the problem described in the text and the numbers presented in red in the margin. Fibonacci had written the first practical math textbook and it was copied over and over again by other authors. With real world examples such as ¿On finding the worth of Florentine Rolls when the worth of those of Genoa is known¿ he had written the first book on the Hindu-Arabic system that had popular appeal. The type of book that we all use to learn basic arithmetic is the direct descendant of this type of writing. The story of the development of math and math learning is very well told in this most enjoyable book. It in no way requires a math background or skills to read and enjoy. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good story of how our world came to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is poorly organized and the information is hidden in a jumbled mass of words. It doesn't even talk about the the work of Fibonacci in detail until page 61. It is confusing and takes time talking about unnecessary topics. Overall this book gives very little useful information and that itself is hidden. I would not recommend this book to anyone. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. It did a good job of providing some history of the early 1200's, making it easy to understand how Liber Abbaci became so influential. In addition, I learned how difficult it is to do scholarly work on this book. My only suggested changes to "The Man of Numbers" are: (1) include a map, to make it easy to see the locations described in the book and (2) provide some side-by-side examples of math using Roman numbers and using Hindi-Arabic numbers, to make it easy to see how much easier it is to do math by using the latter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago