# Book review: The Best Writing on Mathematics, 2018 by Mircea Pitici

*The Best Writing on Mathematics* is an annual collection of essays about mathematics. These are not the sort of pieces you would see in scholarly journals of mathematics. Not only are they not about new mathematical results, but the intended audience is much broader. None of these essays require advanced training in mathematics; for nearly all of them, secondary school math would be plenty. Rather, these are the sorts of articles you might find in a mainstream journal such as *The New Yorker* or *Harpers*, but with a focus on some aspect of math.

This collection, published in 2019, contains 18 essays that were published in 2017. They range from “tightly argued theoretical positions to bold speculations on the limits of the applicability of mathematics”. In this edition, my favorite pieces included:

• Francis Su on *Mathmatics for Human Flourishing*. Su reports that he got a letter from a man who was in prison for a series of armed robberies, was addicted to drugs and did not graduate from high school. The man wrote to Su for help in learning advanced calculus. From this, Su goes on to lamen the poor perception of mathematics and to offer some remedies, The subsections of this essay are titled

- Play

- Beauty