How do you do it? Horizontally from side to side, or perhaps criss-cross, producing a series of Xs running up your feet? Towards the end of The shoelace book, its author Burkard Polster raises a troubling question. Despite all the here-today, gone-tomorrow vagaries of fashion, and in spite of the huge variety of shoe styles available to us in this golden age of footwear, why does almost everyone lace their shoes in one of these two ways?
It turns out your mum was wrong after all: you can judge a book by its cover. This book has a colourful, detailed, and tantalising cover adorned with portraits of people you may or may not know. Who are they, and what do they have to do with numbers at work, and the culture in which we live?
I will tell you all about the book, but first I want to tell you what it felt like to read it. It felt like being back at the beginning of my adventure into mathematics. It felt like the first time the history, culture, and philosophy of maths were unfolded before me.