Not exactly what I expected.

I keep hearing that some scientists theorize that the universe we know and love is entirely a creation of pure mathematics. (There is, of course, a Wikipedia page about that.) Can I be excused for seeing this title in the library, and thinking that the book might be a dilettante-level explication of that interesting speculation?

Well, it's really not. The author, Manil Suri, likes math. (So do I.) And he tries to build up math from its foundations: first, the natural numbers, then integers, rational numbers, real numbers, and complex numbers. Then, using the visuals developed: geometry, analytic geometry, higher dimensions, the golden ratio, fractals, infinities, … Finally, "nature" is brought into the picture. He does a pretty good job of arguing for inverse-square behavior of simple gravity and electric fields.

Gripe: Poor Emmy Noether is relegated to a short endnote in the back of the book. She *really did* show
how the big three physics conservation laws (momentum, energy, angular momentum) can be developed
using (uh, relatively) simple arguments from symmetry. That's beautiful. It would have been a better book if she
got a few pages in the main text, because that's the kind of thing I assumed Suri would have been
talking about!

All this is tied together with an offbeat style that ranges from whimsical to daffy. A running gag involves
Suri's *NYT* 2013 article,
"How to Fall in Love With Math"
which was denied the top spot on some *NYT* ten-most-discussed list by one of Pope Francis's pronouncements
on homosexuality. So Suri promises/threatens to send Francis a copy of the book, and references what he imagines
his reaction would be throughout. Sigh, fine.

This might be an OK book to give to a smart middle-schooler who is showing signs of being interested
in math and science. (Or you can try *One, Two, Three, … Infinity*, by George Gamow, which is what
got *me* started.