Non-Fiction, STEM

Change is the Only Constant by Ben Orlin

I love all things pop-math. As a former math teacher and currently still nerdy math lover, I love when authors and creative minded people take complex math concepts and make them relateable and understandable for all people.

Synopsis

From the Front Flap:
From the author of the beloved and widely praised Math with Bad Drawings, Ben Orlin’s Change is the Only Constant is an engaging, eloquent exploration of the intersection between calculus and daily life, complete with Orlin’s sly humor and (still bad) drawings.

In his newest book, Orlin turns his comedic eye and his clumsy drawing hand to calculus. In 28 engaging mathematical tales, he reveals that calculus is not just a toolkit but another language that can express all the things humans grapple with – joy, power, popularity, wealth, and most of all, change. Divided into two parts, “moments” and “eternities,” and drawing on everyone from Sherlock Holmes to Mark Twin to David Foster Wallace, Change Is the Only Constant unearths the connections between calculus, art, literature, and everyday life. This is not just math for math’s sake; it’s math for the sake of becoming a wiser and more thoughtful human.

Review

“Math! It’s fun! It’s amazing! It’s in our everyday life all the time! It’s the coolest!” and in saying so, I usually get a lot of funny looks at the bookstore. Please assume constantly I must have been an English major to work at a bookstore. And while I had many majors throughout my collegiate career, none of them were part of the English department. Even my Shakespeare class was through the theater department. I’m a math nut at heart, from engineering to teaching math, it’s in my lifeblood and I love it.

BUT! Change is the Only Constant is more than just a math book, so much more. And it’s really not a book simply for those who love math – Ben Orlin’s intention is always to bring math to all people who like cute line doodles like those on the cover. Have you ever wondered what mathematical principles can be found in your life everyday? Oh so many. Or how math influences everyone from novelists to shopkeepers? Or just how math helps scientists and mathematicians predict how our population and climate will change?

Then Math with Bad Drawings and, more importantly, Change is the Only Constant is for you! As I’ve been rewatching NUMB3RS in the last few days, I’m reminded of just how many different ways we use math everyday and I, for one, find it all absolutely fascinating.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Change is the Only Constant is the perfect gift for…
math lovers, fans of Ben Orlin’s first book, and fans of Randall Munroe’s What If? and How To.

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through IndieBound or your local independent (most of us received signed copies from the publisher!), in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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