Mathematics Minus Fear
Lawrence Potter

Also by Lawrence Potter, This May Help You Understand the World

* Feature article in The Telegraph magazine - to read click here

* Feature article in the TES - to read click here

You dine with three friends, and the bill comes to £30. You each put down £10 and leave. The waiter realises that he has overcharged you and that the bill should have been £25. Since it is not possible to split £5 equally between three he gives you each a pound, and keeps the remaining £2 for himself. You have now each paid £9, making £27 in all, whilst the waiter has kept hold of £2. What has happened to the extra pound?

Confused? Mind gone blank? Don't know where to start? Mathematics Minus Fear will teach you how to deal with situations like this with renewed confidence.

What on earth is the reasoning behind all the numbers and boxes involved in long division? Why do you just turn fractions upside down and multiply them? And why, why, why does a 10% increase followed by a 10% decrease not get you back to where you started? Lawrence sheds light on all the dark mysteries that have haunted you from your school days.

He also explains where school mathematics has come from with reference to its historical and cultural background, and connects it to relevant everyday situations. Can animals count? Who invented numbers? Why were the Egyptians frightened of fractions? What is the connection between long multiplication and nuns? How do you win on the horses? Lawrence shows that the mathematics you learnt in the classroom does not exist on its own, but has fascinating connections with the world around you.

To read an extract of this title click here

Lawrence Potter is currently teaching maths in Outer London. customer reviews:

***** Fantastic - I am now a countdown genuis!!, May 7, 2006
Reviewer: Rebecca Clay "becksclay" (West Sussex, England)

I LOVE this book! I have been hopeless at maths since secondary school and when I came across it in a local bookstore read a few pages and thought it had to be worth a try - couquering my maths demons and all that!
It's written really well and he explains the history behind how and why we are taught maths the way we are in schools and, if you like, the evolution of the maths we use everyday!

I decided it was worth every penny when I could answer a question about binary in a local pub quiz! The question was how is the number 19 represented in binary? - the answer is in the book - needless to say my friends were very impressed!!

***** Potty wizard, April 16, 2006
Reviewer: Mr. R. Dunlop

Forget Harry Potter. Lawrence Potter is going to be the next publishing phenomenon. His book is a sort of 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' for maths. Somehow he manages to make his subject entertaining. Look out for the story about the nuns! Excellent!

Mathematics Minus Fear is now published by Particular Books, Penguin UK.