Book of the Month – June 2021

Shape by Jordan Ellenberg

Our June choice is Shape by Jordan Ellenberg

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of How Not to Be Wrong, comes a hugely entertaining exploration of the geometry that underlies our world. In Shape, Jordan Ellenberg reveals the geometry underneath some of the most important scientific, political, and philosophical problems we face, from the spread of coronavirus to rise of machine learning. The word 'geometry,' from the Greek, means 'measuring the world.' But geometry doesn't just measure the world - it explains it. 

How should a democracy choose its representatives? How can you stop a pandemic from sweeping the world? How do computers learn to play chess? Can ancient Greek proportions predict the stock market? (Sorry, no.) What should your kids learn in school if they really want to learn to think? The answers to all these questions can be found in geometry. Shape shows us how.

"Shape is a triumph of mathematical exposition, exposing profound truths - from the nature of distance to the predictability of randomness - as well as profound mistakes - from historical misattributions to Supreme Court justice hardheadedness - with eloquence and hilarious wit. Ellenberg's evident affection for both his subject and his reader makes us feel like the lucky ones who get to hear him hold forth in an intimate setting about his favorite subject, mathematics" - Cathy O'Neil.


BOOK OF THE MONTH LIVE Q&A with Jordan Ellenberg will take place on Tuesday 29 June 2021, 7pm

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Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HBOTM.

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Further reading

New York Times - Five People. One Test. This Is How You Get There
NPR - 'How Not To Be Wrong' In Math Class? Add A Dose Of Skepticism

About the author

Jordan Ellenberg is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, and the Sunday Times-bestselling author of How Not to Be Wrong, as well as an award-winning novel, The Grasshopper King. He has lectured around the world on his research in number theory, and writes regularly for The New York Times, Washington Post and Wired.

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we love and think holds particular resonance today. This is our chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HBOTM and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

Each month we'll have a free digital event with the author for you to ask them questions and explore their ideas further.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please share on social media using #HBOTM.

Happy reading!