Alex Through the Looking-Glass/The Grapes of Math:

A Sunday Times Bestseller

The book is written for the general reader. It’s my journey as I travel around the world meeting characters who bring mathematical ideas to life. The pages contain reportage, history and mathematical proofs.

The subject areas I discuss include emotional, psychological and cultural responses to numbers, universal statistical laws like Benford’s Law and Zipf’s Law, triangles, trigonometry, conic sections, cycloids, sinusoids, exponentials, the constant e, negative numbers, imaginary numbers, calculus, logic, proofs and cellular automata.

The site has more information about my online survey to find the world’s favourite number.

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science called it one of the best books of 2014

Mother Jones magazine called it one of the best books of 2014 

Another sparkling romp through the world of numbers, with the inimitable Alex Bellos as your friendly, informed, and crystal-clear guide. A brilliant successor to Alex’s Adventures in Numberland

Ian Stewart, author of The Great Mathematical Problems

Channeling the spirit of Martin Gardner, the Guardian's math blogger Bellos reveals—and revels in—the pleasures of mathematics, which he has dubbed ‘the most playful of all intellectual disciplines.’… Bellos introduces fascinating characters, from the retired cabdriver in Tucson whose hobby is factoring prime numbers, to swashbuckling astronomer Tycho Brahe, who lost his nose in a duel over a math formula. Through intriguing characters, lively prose, and thoroughly accessible mathematics, Bellos deftly shows readers why math is so important, and why it can be so much fun.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A charming and eloquent guide to math’s mysteries...there's an interesting fact or mathematical obsessive on almost every page. And for its witty flourishes, it’s never shallow. Bellos doesn’t shrink from delving into equations, which should delight aficionados who relish those kinds of details. Those willing to make the intellectual investment will find much to savor.

New York Times

Fresh, fascinating and endlessly charming.

Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist

To read Alex Through The Looking Glass is to have one's mind quietly but continually blown with the knowledge that the world, so seemingly complex, is constantly conforming to patterns

Sunday Express

If anything, Looking Glass is a better work than Numberland – it feels more immediate, more relevant and fun. ****

Daily Telegraph

Bellos excels at...taking seemingly abstract maths formulae and rules and showing how they actually underpin much of what goes on in the real world. Making maths tangible and relatable is an achievement in itself, and it's worth reading the book for Bellos's elegant style of doing so.

Dean Burnett, Physics World

Bellos [is] on fine form, guiding readers through the mathematical landscape on a series of adventures that range from jaunts in the foothills to clambering up some quite challenging peaks.

Simon Singh, Observer

“A first-rate survey of the world of mathematics by a British practitioner of the art.... Great reading for the intellectually curious.


An excellent book on what could be called ‘mathematics appreciation'.

Library Journal

Alex Through the Looking-Glass...attempts to show that, despite surface appearances, the language of Numberland is stacked full of rather good 'jokes'. For those willing to engage with these playful connections, they are very well worth hearing too, and the book contains some excellent material I'd not heard before. No one delivers these lines better than Bellos, and no one has perhaps communicated the territory with such clarity.

Bellos has produced another highly readable and ultimately joyous book that is regularly satisfying and always stimulating.

Thurd Way Magazine