Reviews of The Mathematics Book

It’s a great book to take to bed!

Marie Sproule

I’m half-way through your book – it’s damned good.

Will Purton

This is the most beautiful maths book I have ever seen.

Carolyn Elliot

Your book should be in every household to promote our wonderful subject.

Robyn Gregory

I have just finished it… cover to cover! My kids are sick of me suggesting that they check it out.

Carrie Coghlan

A really novel way to understand maths for all ages. A great addition to any home or school library.

Readers Companion

This wonderful volume is so much more than a maths book! Hours of intrigue – genius Helen Prochazka.

Lexine Prendeville

Thank you for writing this most wonderful book. It satisfies the nerd in me and I am the envy of the family at the moment!

Ann Eldridge

Amazing what someone with passion can do with a subject that I always struggled with when I was a kid. Highly recommended!

Dermot Cottuli

My nephew has this book and it is seriously great for kids really into maths or those struggling to see the point. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

Ange Hinckson

I have been enjoying your book. When I return to work next term, Grade 8 maths will be one of the subjects I will be teaching. As I am not maths trained, I have found your book really helpful in relearning my maths skills.

Karin Denehy

Well…considering I was still reading a maths book and feeling fascinated by it at 11.30pm last night must tell you something! It really is terrific. Any background info is right there and is such an interesting read. The research is amazing.

Monique Hamilton:

Love the book – I pick it up often for a bit of a browse. One day it will go to one of my Great nephews, hopefully to inspire them! The CD I have put on my iPod, which I play on random, and every so often one of the tracks comes on, which always brings delight 🙂

Jurek Paradowski

Finally a mathematics book that has been written especially for people who have not found mathematics easy. The Mathematics Book is unique in that it is a beautiful how to do it book blended into a lavishly illustrated coffee table book created specifically for those who have not found learning mathematics easy or appealing.


This smart, stylish, sexy (yep, you betcha!) how-to-do-it-book, with more than 2000 problems, plus clever insights into the ideas, people, romance and history of all things maths, will have you banging out equations and solving problems like a modern-day Fibonacci. The aim is simple: to demonstrate that anyone and everyone can do it!

Peter Ingram-Joneski

I have just finished reading The Mathematics Book, a leading Tasmanian mathematics teacher. This is a beautifully set out introduction to mathematics that I believe every primary school teacher should read.

I would urge primary principals to have a copy added to a school’s teacher reference library. Those teachers who find mathematics a non-confident area of their teaching would gain much from this text.

Dick James

I love my book (a little secret -my first real new hard cover maths book!) When I peeled off the plastic and turned over each page, I was completely absorbed. Your book is very exquisite and beautifully presents a non-threatening world of mathematics, that so many fear! I agree, if presented well, ‘… anyone can do it.’

I’m going to share bits and pieces with my students. Through your book, I hope to inspire young mathematicians! It makes a great gift for anyone. Thank you for putting together a beautiful treasure!

Ilhaam Soekerj

My first impression of this book is the lavish production values. It is heavy with china clay paper and full colour.  A very high proportion of the page area is illustrations, artwork and cartoons. The text is simply laid out with a lot of white space and subtle use of colour (which doesn’t intrude). I think the whole thing is done with great taste and artistry.

The book is designed to motivate, and there is a lot of positive encouragement to readers along the ‘you can do maths lines. There is a notably positive gender balance, and good mix of international historical examples.

Chris Sangwin

Your book surpasses the inadequate term ‘fine’ It’s a definitive work, impressive in scope, compass and content. You are to be congratulated for your enterprise, purpose and intent. The finished publication is splendid – in fact it’s quite superb.

The arrangement and layout are arresting in number, graphic and word. Your project is commendable and so worthy of boundless reception. I’m sure The Mathematics Book will triumph and do you proud – without exception.

Adrian Jacobson

Congratulations! The idea of the book is splendid and so is the execution.

There are things there for all kinds of people. For example, I like the selection of problems of varying degrees of difficulty and the range of topics, and especially, of course, the human and historical contexts for mathematical ideas and discoveries. But mathematical history becomes really interesting only to a reader who knows something about the mathematical concepts concerned, and, of course, they’re all there for them (apart from a few things like calculus which naturally can only be glimpsed in a book of this nature). And I liked the quotes; the one on p.5, which I hadn’t heard, will no doubt come in handy.

Barry Gardner

I am not a big fan of mathematics myself, having struggled through the subject at school, but since becoming a bookseller I have found that many people are entranced by maths, and there are many books on the subject. This superb book by Helen Prochazka promises to help people like me embrace, understand and even enjoy this subject, showing the relevance of maths in our everyday lives.

This is a large coffee table book, which is attractive enough to share space with architecture, travel and fashion titles. It’s full of glossy photographs, diagrams and drawings, and information on the history of the mathematics, formulae, facts and even poetry. Helen has had a love affair with mathematics since she was seven years old. She says maths gives her a sense of constancy; the rules keep everything the same.

This is a book that will be an entertainment and a benefit to anyone just starting to learn mathematics, but can also be enjoyed by maths aficionados.

Annie Grossman

This book is the product of a finely honed maths brain and a creative and exact sense of design. I’ve watched it progress from an idea, to an almost cohesive bundle of pages, to this beautiful and sophisticated book about mathematics.

I don’t like maths – but I love this book! I love the history, the geography, the colour, the feel of the paper. I‘m intrigued to know that the word ‘algebra’ comes from a book written in 830. Its Arabic title was Kitab al-Jabr w-al-Muqabala and the word ‘algorithm’ comes from the Latin translation of the mathematician’s name – al-Khwarizmi.

I love the illustrations of polygons and polyhedra – the snowflakes, da Vinci’s models and paper sculptures. Those beautiful spiral staircases you find in different parts of the world, or the mosaics of Isfahan couldn’t have been created without mathematics.

So don’t expect this book to be a textbook on maths – it isn’t. It’s a book to explore, to touch, to wonder at, and relate to everything you see around you.

You might even get around to doing the maths problems that are contained at the end of each chapter – but

Jacqueline Willis

I have a recurring nightmare about a high school maths exam. So when The Mathematics Book by Helen Prochazka landed on my desk my reaction to its presence was one of visceral horror. The cover is attractive enough – enticing even – but when I dared to open It, the first thing I saw was a page full of percentage problems and I physically recoiled. I am not alone in my aversion to maths and as it turns out, I am exactly the kind of person the author hopes to reach.

Maths anxiety is a recognized condition. It has been clinically recognized.  It is for this reason the book has been presented in a more friendly and less threatening way. And readers are encouraged to approach the problems in each chapter as a mental challenge to enjoy. And it seems to be working. The Mathematics Book has been the best-selling non-fiction book at Fullers Bookshop for six weeks straight, with readers coming in to request the title.

So while it is true many of us have a troubled relationship with maths, it also seems many of us are determined to repair that relationship. As the book’s front cover says: anyone can do it!

Tim Martain

Every zebra has a unique pattern of stripes, and mathematics can explain how zebra stripes are formed! This is just one interesting snippet in this visually delightful book. There are hundreds more, including poems, cartoons, quotations and photos.

The author had two aims: to design a book for adults (as well as younger readers) who are interested in mathematics but have not found it easy; and to put mathematics in context to showcase the immense role it plays in our world.

Fourteen chapters cover the basics of key mathematical concepts, such as areas and volumes, fractions and decimals, graphs and relationships, percentages and ratios. Interwoven throughout each chapter is the mathematics itself — historical evolution, clear explanations, practice problems with solutions — and full-colour images of the wondrous things that mathematics underpins or can explain — architecture, nature, art.

A beautiful coffee table style book suitable for anyone interested in understanding more about mathematics.

Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers

However, some weeks later I stumbled upon, and by stumbled, I really mean, it was in pride of place behind the counter in the favoured bookshop, with a cover which seemed to scream, ‘you wimp, come on, I dare you.’ Needless to say, challenge accepted.

The Mathematics Book, is not like any maths book I’ve ever seen before, it wants you to read it. If you’ve ever hated maths, if you’ve struggled to understand it, or like myself, just need a polish up, then do not dismiss this book.

Each chapter beings with a poem, the first Chapter is titled ‘Whole numbers and the meaning of mathematics’. The poem for this chapter, very much explains the entire book, how to approach it and what the reader can expect to achieve.

Turn the page and there is a history lesson; who, what, when and why the different components of maths developed. Then theories including examples, until, onto problem solving exercises (easy ­the answers are in the back).  Each subsequent chapter follows this pattern.

For those wishing to ‘Train their Brains’, it seems to me this book is a far more useful and productive approach than Brain Training apps. Unlike the apps, the reader will gain a skill, broadening mathematics abilities. Or at the absolute very least discover some very interesting history about the development of human knowledge and maths itself.  One might, at this point suggest that learning another language would be equally useful – but it may also be argued, that both Music and Mathematics ARE simply themselves, languages. The other benefit of course being, this book is considerably cheaper than learning a language or taking music lessons.

Unlike school, this book makes maths fun, more fun than a Sudoku anyway.  One is left feeling slightly cheated, why was maths not like this at school?

Vanessa Wallace