A review of a book as good as this must either repeat the positive adjectives other reviewers have used, or require a very large thesaurus.
Sylvia Nasar told the story of John Nash's troubled life in her book A Beautiful Mind, although probably better known as the film with Russel Crow.
The basis of this wonderful book came in a series of questions about modern maths sent to Philip Davis by a friend of his, Christina.
I suspect maths in primary school would be greeted with far more enthusiasm if students had Ian Stewart as a teacher. Any man who can explain electromagnetism, gravity and atomic nuclear forces in terms of a piggy fridge magnet and a smashed kitchen plate is, surely, a communicator to be reckoned with.
How to cut a cake is the latest volume holding reprinted articles from Stewart's regular maths column in Scientific American between 1987 and 2001.
Have you got a favourite number? I have two — 3 and 8 — but I'm afraid my reasons aren't particularly interesting: I am born on the 3rd and 8 is two 3's joined together.
Longitude was first published in 1996, occupying a substantial portion of many a Waterstones table around Christmas-time. The book has endorsements from Patrick O'Brien and Neil Armstrong, and a blurb that cheerfully describes the search for longitude as a "true-life thriller".
'This book starts with the story of Larry Walters, who decided to try flying a garden chair with some fifty helium weather balloons attached. Larry didn't do the maths, and ended up at 16,000 feet! Michael de Smith has written a book for all the Larrys who need or ought to do some mathematical analysis of a problem before setting out.