The brainy new book by the best-selling author of Fermat's Enigma a must for anyone interested in numbers and mathematics as well as for the millions of Simpsons fans worldwide.
Simon Singh offers fascinating new insights into the celebrated television series The Simpsons: That the show drip-feeds morsels of number theory into the minds of its viewers - indeed, that there are so many mathematical references in the show, and in its sister program, Futurama, that they could form the basis of an entire university course.
Recounting memorable episodes from "Bart the Genius" to "Homer3," Singh brings alive intriguing and meaningful mathematical concepts - ranging from the mathematics of pi and the paradox of infinity to the origins of numbers and the most profound outstanding problems that haunt today's generation of mathematicians. In the process, he illuminates key moments in the history of mathematics, and introduces us to The Simpsons' brilliant writing team - the likes of David X. Cohen, Al Jean, Jeff Westbrook, and Stewart Burns, all of whom have various advanced degrees in mathematics, physics, and other sciences.
Based on interviews with the writers of The Simpsons and replete with images from the shows, facsimiles of scripts, paintings and drawings, and other imagery, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets will give anyone who reads it an entirely new mathematical insight into the most successful show in television history.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2013 Simon Singh (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
The book itself is very interesting. Simon Singh has a deep understand of maths and The Simpsons. Mathematical concepts are put across in an easy to understand and fun way. I learned a great deal about maths and The Simpsons from it.
But there are a couple of things that spoil it as an audiobook.
The biggest problem with the audiobook is William Neenan's flat and lifeless narration. He makes no attempt to convey the humour in the book. He reads the jokes with the same drone he uses to read through umpteen decimal places of pi. Also, beware if you're the sort of nitpicking Simpsons fan annoyed by the mispronunciation of "kwyjibo". It's a shame the book isn't narrated by Singh himself.
The other, more minor, problem is the need for a PDF. When I'm listening to an audiobook it's not usually convenient for me to read a PDF. Sometimes you don't lose anything by looking up a reference later. But other times the diagrams are completely necessary for understanding the book (such as the diagrams in the explanation of Archimedes' method of approximating pi).
By the way, for those of you who came here to the product page to download the PDF as the book told you: it's not here. It's on your "Library" page.
Overall, I'd recommend giving the audiobook a miss and reading the book instead.
Adicted to audiobooks
One time is just enough.
A fantastic and interesting read which was interesting from cover to cover.
This is not an easy book to narrate. And yet, the narrator did a very good job.
The Simpsons' theorem.
The narrator - the monotone was very off putting and made it a struggle to listen - even though I am very interested in the subject matter.
"Print probably better than audio"
If you like mathematics, The Simpsons, and Futurama, you will likely enjoy this book -- but mathematics is not a good topic to convey through audio.
I have not listened to or read any other books by Simon Singh.
British. Accented. Disconnected. I have written very few audible reviews, but I was motivated to do so mostly because I disliked aspects of the performance. I am not a nationalist or chauvinist, but I was taken aback by a book on American cultural products (The Simpsons and Futurama) being delivered in a British accent and by someone who apparently is not familiar with this source material. (I realize that the author is British, so it is questionable for me to object in this way.) It bothered me to hear Edna Krabappel's last name mispronounced. No fan of the show would do so. The author is a fan of the show, but the performer apparently is not. In addition, Euler and Knuth were mispronounced, so the performer is apparently not familiar with mathematics, either.
My main reaction to this book was that it was a terrible idea to listen to (rather than read) a book with so much mathematics.
"Please reference the downloadable PDF"
A fine book, but any book that relies so heavily on the PDF should not be made into an audio book.
"Tons of fun if you're a Simpsons fan!"
This was tons of fun to listen to. The only problem with the book is that it's not long enough. I wanted him to keep going.
Even if you are not into mathematics, I think you will enjoy this if you are a fan of the show.
It's also quite interesting as the author goes into some detail about the history behind each mathematical "secret" he covers.
"Inspiring and Concise"
Great read for amateurs in math. I have always had an interest in math - but I never bothered to read about the many theorems associated with it. This book is a great "stepping stone" into university level mathematics. Great job to the author in linking Mathematics in the Simpsons to more profound ideas.
"an entertaining view of mathematics in pop culture"
I really enjoyed the book. It gave a good overview of many areas of mathematics, and the funny ways they were incorporated into the Simpsons.
It does lean pretty heavily into the pdf companion, though. I guess this is somewhat to be expected since there are freeze frame gags that make sense only as a visual joke.
I think other books like How Not To Be Wrong do a better job of adapting to audio narration. There are so many times when the narrator rattles off 10 to 20 digits of pi or other numbers. No one needs to hear that. The most egregious example was when comparing two sequences of digits to approximate pi. The narrator should have just said the second number was the same except the last digit, but instead I had to listen to a torrent of meaningless numbers.
Despite its faults, I think it is still worth a read. I enjoyed hearing the back stories of many of the writers, and the mathematics was covered well enough to help understand more of the humor in the series.
"Entertaining listen with lots of factoids"
A really fun and engaging listen. Good for listening when you're in the study or in the car. The downloadable PDF was very nice visually. lots of little factoids about the Simpsons that you might not know and very interesting stories of the writers and producers. slightly high level maths for general readers but entertaining nonetheless
"Hilarious & interesting"
My father can listen, knowing that he is not the only mathematician that likes the Simpsons. Some even contribute!
"Interesting take on The Simpsons"
This is another great book by Simon Singh, though it's let down by poor narration.
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