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What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it? In

Many of us think that math is hard, but, as Cheng makes clear, math is actually designed to make difficult things easier. Combined with her infectious enthusiasm for cooking and a true zest for life, Cheng's perspective on math becomes this singular book: a funny, lively, and clear journey through a vast territory no popular book on math has explored before.

So, what is math? Let's look for the answer in the kitchen.

"Cheng never quite overeggs her metaphor of the mathematician as chef...and her tone is clear, clever and friendly. Even at her most whimsical she is rigorous and insightful. Potentially confusing ideas are expressed with a matter-of-fact simplicity....

"[A]

slyly illuminating dispatch on the deep meaning of mathematics.... Cheng

manages to do for us what the mathematician Keith Devlin has said

mathematicians do for themselves: she compels us to see numbers and symbols as

vivid characters in an ongoing drama, a narrative in which we are alternately

observers and participants."—

"[O]ften entertaining...frequently illuminating.... [

"In her new book,

"Invoking

plenty of examples from cooking and baking, as well as other everyday-life

situations such as calculating a taxi fare, searching for love through online

dating services and training for a marathon, [Cheng] explains abstract

mathematical ideas--including topology and logic--in understandable ways....

Her lively, accessible book demonstrates how important and intriguing such a

pursuit can be."—

"[Cheng's] book, a very gentle introduction to the main ideas of mathematics in general and category theory in particular, exudes enthusiasm for mathematics, teaching, and creative recipes. Category theory is dangerously abstract, but Cheng's writing is down-to-earth and friendly. She's the kind of person you'd want to talk to at a party, whether about math, food, music, or just the weather.... Cheng's cheerful, accessible writing and colorful examples make

"Combined with infectious enthusiasm for cooking and a zest for life, Cheng's perspective on math becomes this singular book: a funny, lively, and clear journey no popular book on math has explored before.

"This is the best book imaginable to introduce someone who doesn't think they are interested in mathematics at all to some of the deep ideas of category theory, especially if they like to bake."—

"Beginning

each chapter with a recipe, Cheng converts the making of lasagna, pudding,

cookies, and other comestibles into analogies illuminating the mathematical

enterprise. Though these culinary analogies teach readers about particular

mathematical principles and processes, they ultimately point toward the

fundamental character of mathematics as a system of logic, a system presenting

daunting difficulties yet offering rare power to make life easier. Despite her

zeal for mathematical logic, Cheng recognizes that such logic begins in

faith--irrational faith--and ultimately requires poetry and art to complement

its findings. A singular humanization of the mathematical project."—

"Cheng

is exceptional at translating the abstract concepts of mathematics into

ordinary language, a strength aided by a writing style that showcases the

workings of her curious, sometimes whimsical mind. This combination allows her

to demystify how mathematicians think and work, and makes her love for

mathematics contagious."—

"What a charming and original book! The central analogy--math is like cooking--turns out to be surprisingly apt and often funny. Light and tasty, yet so, so good for you,

"Eugenia Cheng's charming new book embeds math in a casing of wry, homespun metaphors: math is like vegan brownies, math is like a subway map, math is like a messy desk. Cheng is at home with math the way you're at home with brownies, maps, and desks, and by the end of

"With this delightfully surprising book, Eugenia Cheng reveals the hidden beauty of mathematics with passion and simplicity. After reading

"Math

is a lot like cooking. We start with the ingredients we have at hand, try to

cook up something tasty, and are sometimes surprised by the results. Does this

seem odd? Maybe in school all you got was stale leftovers! Try something

better: Eugenia Cheng is not only an excellent mathematician and pastry chef,

but a great writer, too."—

"From clotted cream to category theory, neither cookery nor math are what you thought they were. But deep down they're remarkably similar. A brilliant gourmet feast of what math is

"An original book using recipes to explain sophisticated math concepts to students and even the math-phobic.... [Cheng] is a gifted teacher... A sharp, witty book to press on students and even the teachers of math teachers,"—

"[A]

well-written, easy-to-read book."—

"A

curious cookbook for the mathematical omnivore."—