Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Why Do Buses Come in Threes?

What is the best way to divide a cake equally between two kids, without any disputes?

Make one kid to divide the cake into two and other one to choose the piece that he wants. That way the first kid knows the cakes are cut equally and second kid is sure he has the biggest piece.

Simple, isn’t it? What if the cake has to be divided between more than two kids? What if the cake is of a complex shape? What if instead of cakes, resources has to be divided, between corporations or nations? “Why Do Buses Come in Threes? “is a book by Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham that assures us there are ways to do it. This book tries to find mathematics in our everyday life. Math is one of the least favorite subjects of most of the students and many feel a study of math does not affect their life in any way. But the writers assert that math is in fact the building block of our lives, influencing our every movement and every action.

The title of each chapter is a question like the title of the book. Like, “Why are showers always too hot or cold?” The writers then go on to explain fundamental principles based on mathematics to solve them. Almost all the branches of maths- algebra, trigonometry, geometry, logic, probability- you name it appears in it in ways that we never thought possible. By the end of this book we get a good perspective about Fibonacci numbers, problem solving, scheduling projects, betting, surveys, superstitions and much more.

Credit has to go to the writers for detailing complex math fundamentals in a way that can be understood by even high school students. The light humorous way of explaining makes it all the more enjoyable. The book compels the reader to think and find patterns and make connections of events that puzzle us in our daily lives using mathematics. The last chapter contains certain tricks using maths that can make kids more interested in numbers. I would recommend this book as a must read for students of maths and adults alike. It is a must read.

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