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The Art of Logic in an Illogical World

The Art of Logic in an Illogical World

How both logical and emotional reasoning can help us live better in our post-truth world

In a world where fake news stories change election outcomes, has rationality become futile? In The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, Eugenia Cheng throws a lifeline to readers drowning in the illogic of contemporary life. Cheng is a mathematician, so she knows how to make an airtight argument. But even for her, logic sometimes falls prey to emotion, which is why she still fears flying and eats more cookies than she should. If a mathematician can’t be logical, what are we to do? In this book, Cheng reveals the inner workings and limitations of logic, and explains why alogic–for example, emotion–is vital to how we think and communicate. Cheng shows us how to use logic and alogic together to navigate a world awash in bigotry, mansplaining, and manipulative memes. Insightful, useful, and funny, this essential book is for anyone who wants to think more clearly.

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Genre: Nonfiction / Philosophy / Logic

On Sale: September 11th 2018

Price: $27 / $35.5 (CDN)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9781541672482

What's Inside

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Meet The Author: Eugenia Cheng

Eugenia Cheng is the scientist in residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Sheffield. The author of How to Bake Piand Beyond Infinity, she lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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"Ms. Cheng's chatty tone keeps things fresh. She has a
knack for folksy analogies, and at different points in the book she illuminates
different properties of infinity by discussing Legos, the iPod Shuffle,
snorkeling, Battenberg cakes and Winnie-the-Pooh... she does a great service by
showing us non-mathematician schlubs how real mathematical creativity works."Wall Street Journal

"Our minds cannot truly grasp the concept of infinity, but Eugenia
Chang takes us on a wild journey to help us in our search for it. It's a small,
unassuming symbol-8-but it holds a giant idea. Cheng helps us understand the
basics of infinity and then takes us on a ride to see its most lofty
applications. From the practical to the entirely theoretical, this is a book to
watch for."Paste Magazine

"Unique to this text is the friendly and conversational style with
which the author communicates her passion for mathematics. Cheng succeeds in
offering a taste of creativity in mathematics research, reminding the reader
that mathematics is fun because 'you can have anything that you can think of.
The only caveat is that you have to take all the logical consequences of your
new toy as well'. Her passion for research is unassuming and adds a humanistic
sensitivity to the book's central quest."—Mathematics Teacher

"[A] superb study of the mathematics of infinity... Acknowledging the
difficulties the proofs present, Cheng wisely provides readers with reasonably
accessible equations, useful graphics, and entertaining and straightforward
explanations... [Her] enthusiasm for mathematics is infectious and readers
curious about the mathematics of infinity will find her to be a worthy guide."—Publishers Weekly

"Beyond Infinity is witty, charming, and crystal clear. . Eugenia Cheng's enthusiasm and carefully chosen metaphors and analogies carry us effortlessly through the mathematical landscape of the infinite. A brilliant book."Ian Stewart, author of Calculating the Cosmos

"The idea of infinity is one of the most perplexing things in mathematics, and the most fun. Eugenia Cheng's Beyond Infinity is a spirited and friendly guide--appealingly down to earth about math that's extremely far out."
Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong and professor of mathematics at University of Wisconsin-Madison


"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.... How to Bake Pi
is a welcome addition to the popular-math shelf, unusual not only because of
its quirky premise but also because Cheng is a woman, a lucid and nimble
expositor, and unashamedly proud of her domestic obsessions.... It would be
wonderful if this book attracted a new audience to the field. And there's no
better ambassador (or dinner-party host, I'd wager) than Eugenia Cheng."Alex Bellos, New York Times Book Review

"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."Scientific American

"[A] funny and engaging new book."Simon Worrall, National Geographic News

"[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 How to Bake Pi an
entertaining introduction to the fundamentals of abstract mathematical
thinking."—Evelyn Lamb, Scientific American's "Roots of Unity" blog

"[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."Natalie Angier, The American Scholar

"[Cheng] masterfully describes what
mathematics is. This includes careful and motivated descriptions of the ideas
and methods of abstractions, generalization, logic, and axiomatization.... This
book is entertaining, insightful, deep and accessible."—Mathematical Reviews

"Why go to all the trouble to write a book
to help people understand mathematics? Because, as Cheng observes,
'understanding is power, and if you help someone understand something, you're
giving them power.' Read How to Bake Pi
and you will, indeed, go away feeling empowered."Marc Merlin, Medium

"[O]ften entertaining...frequently illuminating.... [How to Bake Pi] offers enough nourishment for the brain to
chew on for a long time."Columbus Dispatch

"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."MAA Reviews

"In her new book, How to Bake Pi,
mathematician/baker Eugenia Cheng offers a novel, mathematical approach to
cooking.... How to Bake Pi is more than a
mathematically-minded cookbook. It is just as much a book about mathematical
theory and how we learn it. The premise at the heart of the book is that the
problem that stops a cookbook from teaching us how to cook is the same problem
that makes math classes so bad at actually teaching us to do math."Ria Misra, io9

"Through an enthusiasm for cooking and zest for life, the author, a
math professor, provides a new way to think about a field we thought we knew."Chemical Engineering Progress

"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. How to Bake
...will dazzle, amuse, and enlighten."—Gambit Weekly

"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."—Booklist, starred review

"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."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"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."—Kirkus Reviews

"[A] well-written,
easy-to-read book."—Library Journal

"Quirky recipes, personal anecdotes and a large dollop of equations are
the key ingredients in this alternative guide to maths and the scientific
process. You should find it as easy as cooking a pie."
The Observer, Tech Monthly (UK)

"[D]eliciously lively.... It is Cheng's delightful descriptions of her
gastronomic adventures that bring the mathematics to life.... If [the book]
doesn't succeed in exciting you about mathematics, it will certainly change the
way you approach baking."—Times Higher Education (UK)

"Many consider maths a difficult and dry subject. But the baking-based
analogies and fun tangents used to demonstrate the various ideas in the book
are entertaining and diminish the mental gymnastics that abstract maths can
require."—BBC Focus (UK)

"Eugenia Cheng offers an entertaining introduction to the beauty of
mathematics by drawing on insights from the kitchen. She explains why baking a
flourless cake is like geometry and offers puzzles to whet the appetites of
maths fans."—Times Educational Supplement (UK)

"A curious cookbook for
the mathematical omnivore."—The Irish Times (Ireland)

"[T]his book was fun and covered some cool maths, using some nice analogies, and would serve as a good intro for someone getting into category theory."

The Aperiodical (UK)

"I never thought I would discover a book about mathematics that's actually cozy-armchair and scone cozy. Eugenia Cheng has created some delicious associations in my mind that are there to stay: succulent axioms, logical cake, Möbius bagels, and pentagon custard. Off to my oven!"

Leila Schneps, Professor of Mathematics at the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu of Pierre and Marie Curie University, and author of Math on Trial

"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 How to Bake Pi, you might be, too."

Jordan Ellenberg, Professor of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of How Not to Be Wrong

"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, How to Bake Pi is a real treat."

Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University and author of The Joy of x

"With this delightfully surprising book, Eugenia Cheng reveals the hidden beauty of mathematics with passion and simplicity. After reading How to Bake Pi, you won't look at math (nor porridge!) in the same way ever again."

Roberto Trotta, Astrophysicist, Imperial College London and author of The Edge of the Sky

"One of the most frustrating parts about teaching or conveying mathematics concepts is that they don't just seem abstract, they are abstract. Dr. Cheng does an amazing job of making these abstract concepts tangible, guiding the reader to stretch our brains just a little past the comfortable zone to help us comprehend complex mathematical concepts. This book puts the fun back in math, the fun that I always saw in it, the fun that is nearly sucked from it in K-12 education.... I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone with a casual interest in, or deep love of, logic, or mathematics, or baking."

Melissa A. Wilson Sayres, Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University and writer of the blog

"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."

John Baez, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Riverside

"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 really about."

Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, and author of Visions of Infinity and Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers