Top positive review
Still great content but book construction quality is really low. No dust jacket.
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2019
CONTENT REVIEW UPDATE!!!
So I've had a couple of days to read a few chapters and I have to say that the content is just great! I love both math and philosophy and this book certainly takes a walk on that very journey of discovery!
It has fascinating histories throughout the book as well as graphics to represent concepts (like why positive numbers have two square roots, or how doubling quickly increases exponentially). This is certainly a cornerstone of these books and "The Math Book" certainly keeps delivering in this aspect.
Of the chapters I've read, I feel like the contributors do a good job of providing historical facts and references along with contrasting ideas at the time (if any of relevance appear). The chapters feel balanced this way. I also really appreciated reading about how a new discovery was perceived by the peoples of its time which was not often in a positive manner.
The contents of this book are really great and although the construction leaves MUCH to be desired, I feel like the contents are still an amazing addition to this series.
I've updated the review score and taken away 1 star due to the obviously poor construction. I feel like 3 stars is too low because people that like Math would enjoy this book even in tatters, on the other hand 4 stars feels too high to support such an unexpected quality dip (in construction, not contents).
Finally I settled on 4 stars because I feel the content is amazing. 3.5 is where I would have voted.
I want you to be aware of the construction quality but also know that if you do decide to purchase this, that the contents will still be amazing and although it may fall apart over time, if you can find some glue to keep it together you'll still enjoy each chapter as the small history/math/philosophy lesson that it brings.
THE REST OF THIS REVIEW is not about the contents but instead it is about the quality of construction.
I've been a buyer of this series since the beginning and the quality has always been superb. At least the last two volumes ("Ecology Book" and "The Feminism Book") have shown a reduction in paper thickness. Considering that these books tend to stay right at 352 pages, it is easy to tell the difference.
- The first quality dip is the lack of a dust jacket. Yes this is purely cosmetic but all the other books have one and this is the first volume that came without it. As a pre-order customer, it was unexpected and disappointing.
- The second is the hard cover itself. All previous books have a glossy finish and this is the first one that is matte. Yes, this is also purely cosmetic but it just keeps the quality low. Yet another visual difference when compared to all previous books.
- Third, the binding, I'm actually concerned for the longevity of this book. Please follow along with the pictures. The Math book (black cover) is compared to The Psychology book (red cover).
--First picture shows the signatures (that's those little books made up of typically 8 pages) are quite a bit loose, this is most likely due to the fact that the spine itself does not have a tight glue binding but just a glue strip. Please also notice how the book lays when it is opened half way and notice how the spine is bent at almost a right angle. This sharp angle is not good on the life of the spine.
--Second picture shows the Psychology book (an early volume in this collection) opened on top of the Math book. Notice the glue visible all along the signatures (right at the spine) and notice how flat the spine is. Yes the book doesn't open as flat but this is great for a long lasting spine.
--Third picture shows the thickness of the Math book (left) vs. Psychology book (right). Both 352 pages but very different page thickness. Again, the last couple of volumes have also had their page thickness reduced but at least the spine and binding were still of higher quality.
--Fourth picture shows the spines side-by-side
--Fifth picture shows the thickness measured. It's hard to tell from the picture but the pages alone (not including the covers) are 3/4" thick for the Math book and 7/8" for the Psychology book (on even denominators: 6/8" vs 7/8") that thickness really matters when pages need to last a long time.
--Sixth picture shows the number of pages. The Math book has an Acknowledgment page without the number on the top left but I'm showing the page 350 just behind it, making the page number at 352 while the Psychology book ends right at page 352 as shown.
--Seventh picture shows the stitches used in the Psychology book: count 6 stitches!! Nice and tight along the page height.
--Eight picture shows the stitches used in the Math book, a bit harder to see but there are only 5 stitches. The page height is the same so this means fewer stitches spread farther out, giving less strength to the binding itself
--Ninth and final picture shows the lack of glue from the spine of the Math book (on top) vs a thick glue binding on the Psychology book (bottom).
For the price paid for this book, I'd say that the quality change is baffling. I'm certainly hoping that quality resumes in future volumes.
PUBLISHER: if you're reading this, when you cut quality so explicitly (and really blatantly), you make a wonderful product into a much cheaper version of itself.
THINKING ABOUT COLLECTING THIS SERIES?: beware of construction quality. That's what this review is about. If you like the series, just be aware that not all volumes hold the same construction standards and this book in particular may not last as long as the previous books.
A personal disappointment: The low construction quality on this volume was really hurtful. I love these books and I'm so disappointed with the quality of this volume. The contents of these books has always been great, why cheapen the product with such poor materials and construction?