### Books

Brother Number One is. So I went to lunch without reading material today (and without Elle..she is out of town :( ). I thought I had brought work to do with me, but when I looked in my backpack it wasn't there.

So I went to the school bookstore (right next to the faculty dining room) and purchased a copy of MetaMath! by Gregory Chaitin.

I thought I would enjoy reading his musings on Godel's incompleteness theorem, the halting problem, and his own work with Chaitin's omega.

I read a couple of chapters over lunch. Chaitin is a great mathematician. As for his writing skills, let's just say he is a great mathematician.

He really should have hired a ghostwriter. He uses bold type to emphasize points, he overuses exclamation marks, and he uses the first person a lot.

Here is a sample of his writing:

I suspect he is trying too hard to make the book friendly to laymen. But it's not necessary to write like the love child of Ned Flanders and a hyperactive cheerleader to make your book accessible. A good example of a book easily understood by laymen that doesn't insult their intelligence is A History Of Pi by Petr Beckmann (the gold standard of math history books).

I should say that I am judging this book only by what little I've read so far. And I have to admit that I have so far found at least one mathematical gem amidst the cotton candy. He provides a fascinating information theoretical proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers. As I have conceded , he is a great mathematician.

Perhaps I did not completely waste my money. But right now, I would rather have my copy of Brother Number One and be reading about the killing fields of Cambodia. It's grim stuff, but nowhere near as embarrassing or annoying.

Among other micro-calamities in my life, I have no idea where my copy of So I went to the school bookstore (right next to the faculty dining room) and purchased a copy of MetaMath! by Gregory Chaitin.

I thought I would enjoy reading his musings on Godel's incompleteness theorem, the halting problem, and his own work with Chaitin's omega.

I read a couple of chapters over lunch. Chaitin is a great mathematician. As for his writing skills, let's just say he is a great mathematician.

He really should have hired a ghostwriter. He uses bold type to emphasize points, he overuses exclamation marks, and he uses the first person a lot.

Here is a sample of his writing:

*I am a mathematician, and this is a book about mathematics. So I'd like to start by sharing with you my vision of mathematics...So you and I are going to do some real mathematics together: important mathematics, significant mathematics. I will try to make it as easy as possible, but I'm going to show you the real thing!*

He desperately needs an editor. Or better, a ghostwriter. Half of the first paragraph belongs in the circular file. I know you are a mathematician, and I know it's a book about mathematics. That's why I bought it, moron.I suspect he is trying too hard to make the book friendly to laymen. But it's not necessary to write like the love child of Ned Flanders and a hyperactive cheerleader to make your book accessible. A good example of a book easily understood by laymen that doesn't insult their intelligence is A History Of Pi by Petr Beckmann (the gold standard of math history books).

I should say that I am judging this book only by what little I've read so far. And I have to admit that I have so far found at least one mathematical gem amidst the cotton candy. He provides a fascinating information theoretical proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers. As I have conceded , he is a great mathematician.

Perhaps I did not completely waste my money. But right now, I would rather have my copy of Brother Number One and be reading about the killing fields of Cambodia. It's grim stuff, but nowhere near as embarrassing or annoying.

armrha