Finding Fibonacci

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8... do you know what comes next? If you do you may have heard about Leonardo of Pisa also known as Fibonacci and his famous series. However, do you really know who Fibonacci actually was? Finding Fibonacci by Keith Devlin explores who Fibonacci really was. Devlin writes in his book all about his research tactics on Fibonacci. He talks about his multiple trips to Spain and what he learned from reading Liber Abbaci written by Fibonacci. Liber Abbaci brought in the Hindu-Arabic number system into Europe and subsequently the entire world.
Devlin does a great job when writing Finding Fibonacci. He uses a lot of personal experiences to captivate the reader and put the life of Fibonacci into perspective. For example in chapter 6, entitled Walk Along the Pisan Riverbank, Devlin recounts his walk along the riverbank in Pisa. He tells you about what he is seeing on his trip in 2003 and compares it to what Fibonacci may have seen back in the 13th century as he walked along the river. This captivates you and you can easily connect with your own walk along a river. Devlin also uses a lot of personal encounters to show who Fibonacci was. Devlin met with many people during his trips in Spain. One example that sticks out is when he is looking for the statue of Leonardo of Pisa. He tells a story of how he asked the tourist help desk if they knew where the statue was. The help desk did not even know who Leonardo of Pisa was. I think this was a strong point to prove that not much is known about the mathematician that brought the modern way of writing math to the mainstream.
Devlin also has some things that hinder Finding Fibonacci as a whole. Although his personal examples are captivating and keep the book interesting, I also think they hinder is overall point of the book. While reading his book, I felt like it was more about his personal life than it was about Fibonacci. Devlin talks too much about his tactics of research rather than the research itself. While reading I felt like I was reading about someones vacation and not a scholarly book. I also felt like he said the same thing over and over again. I do not really have any examples of this but it seemed as if he was trying to write a book without enough information on the subject. I feel like that is why he had to write so much about his own life and experiences. Having been at Grand Valley for 4 years now, I know how he feels. I have had it when a professor assigns a lengthy essay on a subject that there just is not enough information about to write the assigned length of the essay. When I get done with the paper I reread it and it just sounds like a lot of blabbering on about random things that have nothing to do with the subject. I felt like that is what Devlin did in his book.
Finding Fibonacci would not be a book I would recommend to read. It sounds harsh but I did not enjoy reading it. It had some good material in it but I could not focus while reading it. It was not a very interesting book. It was very slow moving with the information and most of it was about him and not Fibonacci. I am glad I read this as it did give me a little more perspective on Fibonacci. I never realized that he was responsible for mainstreaming the modern way of mathematics.


  1. I love an honest review. Sometimes your dislike can be mitigated by saying who would enjoy the book. Can you think of an audience?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blog Post 1

Businesses need math majors