All people, including professional mathematicians, should read some of the popular works of mathematics. Taking that as a given, this book should be a bestseller within mathematical circles. It contains a set of short essays about mathematics as it is used in the lives of all people. Generally 3–4 pages in length, the essays are easily understood and will either initiate the lay reader into some of the valuable ways mathematics is used or remind professionals just how valuable their field is to society.
It is very easy for the working mathematician engaged in research or trying to insert differential calculus into the heads of students (or both) to forget that it is all worthwhile and that mathematics does make a difference in many ways. I have suffered from this same affliction several times in my life when the weight of teaching and working was overwhelming. Tonic for your mathematical soul, this book will uplift the spirits of the working mathematician.
Lay readers will be able to read and understand how valuable mathematics is in the modern world and hopefully be more motivated to learn mathematics or at least appreciate the positive influences it has in the world.
Charles Ashbacher splits his time between consulting with industry in projects involving math and computers, teaching college classes and co-editing The Journal of Recreational Mathematics. In his spare time, he reads about these things and helps his daughter in her lawn care business.