The author of a pop-math book must decide, before he sets finger on keyboard, how much he is going to demand of his readers in the way of willingness to engage with actual mathematics. As is often the case in writing, what is easier for the author is more difficult for the reader, and vice versa. If, on the one hand, you decide to press your reader’s nose to the grindstone, you can present pages of standard equations and calculations, and guide him through them. This is hard for the reader, but easier for the author, who has only to regurgitate some well-established mathematical clichés and supply connecting prose. If, on the other hand, you seek to hold the attention of an ordinary educated person without taxing his mathematical knowledge too much, then you must cloak your mathematics with clever metaphors, and link the metaphors together in such a way that your mathematical narrative becomes an elaborate allegory expressed in ordinary language....


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