RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • History Riddles
    Leon Conrad
    Also available on Kindle, History Riddles: A Treasure Trove Book in an unusual educational tool offering 30 cultural riddles that feature popular historical stories and legends. The riddles are ordered by increasing word count and complexity, and enriched with detailed recommendations to explore further and learn more. History's Riddles is a wonderful resource for testing one's wits, or enriching education for all ages. ~ August, Midwest Book Reviews

  • History Riddles
    Leon Conrad
    'If you enjoy, stories, enjoy history and relish a quizzing challenge, then you will enjoy this unusual and thought-provoking book.' ... ' a brilliant way to engage students with history and to encourage them both to think about the riddles and to explore further.' ~ Sarah Brew, www.ParentsInTouch.co.uk

  • Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System
    David Pinto
    Leon Conrad
    'An innovative approach to inspirational learning experiences' ... 'Odyssey Journeys are based on the Odyssey Dynamic Learning System - a flexible, adaptable, scalable content-free educational intervention that can be used in any educational setting, for any age group.' ~ Sarah Brew, www.ParentsInTouch.co.uk

  • Frogs, Cats and Pyramids
    Tony Cleaver
    The author has assembled under a common framework nine short stories dealing with contemporary disciplines, ranging from literature and foreign languages, to mathematics and sciences, and concluding his tour with computer science, economics and religion, each analysing a different way in which we learn to see the world... There is a framework embracing the individual tales in the book: a group of people with different attitudes is staying in a mountain retreat, seeking to understand why knowledge has always been categorised into various academic disciplines, each with its own way of looking at reality. The structure could remind one of Boccaccio or other classic authors, putting several tales in a common framework with an artifice. We several times meet David and Ana Maria, Ivan and Abdul, Hugo and Julia, discussing among themselves Mathematics, Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Computer Science, Economics, Religion and Ethics. ‘Faith in science is no different from faith in God,’ says David. ‘There is something irreducibly mystical in all life,’ says Ana Maria (p viii). Each discipline is a way of seeing that separates us from other ways. It’s also a Standpoint, one of several different points of view through which it’s possible to form an understanding of the surrounding multiplicity of experiences. Lending from Classical German Philosophy we can easily make reference to the notion of Standpunkt, the only possible way to understand experiences, as explained by Kant and Fichte in their Transcendental Philosophy. Concepts without intuition are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind, so the famous Kantian motto said. Contemporary epistemology is dealing with these pairs also today, either trying to find new paths like Chalmers, Ladyman or Unger, or trying to think again following the paths of the post-kantian understanding of concepts, like Brandom and McDowell.
    In this book the characters take you on travels through Maths, Science, Linguistics and Literature like you never imagined in school. This could be very useful for high school students trying to make sense of the structure of the school itself, or for younger children assisted by their parents. Also the general reader could gain more interest in popular philosophy and the nature of different sciences. ~ Giovanni Cogliandro, ESSSAT News and Reviews: European Society for the Study of Science and Theology - 25:2

  • History Riddles
    Leon Conrad
    I am a sucker for quizzes. Although I had never heard of an Odyssey Grid, that in itself drew me to explore “History Riddles”. Not knowing much about a subject has never stopped me from embarking on a quiz. After all it is a learning process and next time round I may well have the golden answer when it crops up in the pub trivia quiz.
    There is nothing trivia about “History Riddles”. This book strikes me as an educator’s bible. The format, the information and the fun factor all add up to an inspirational read.
    I commissioned (with chocolate bars and fizzy drinks) a group of teenage history buffs to join me on the journey through history as we worked our way through the pages a chunk at a time.
    Of course their young minds gave me a right showing up with their knowledge of historical characters and events. If this book had been around when I was at school I am sure it would have drawn me towards the subject. Combined with the professional style of writing and basic but appropriate cover, this book is a winner in my opinion.
    I urge all head teachers out there to get this on their school book list for next term.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1782792945/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 ~ Cheeky Monkey, Amazon.co.uk

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    In honesty, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book. As a general rule, press releases that come my way -- unless they're very tightly targeted -- can expect to find their way into my 'spam' folder.

    Matthew Watkins' Secrets of Creation was a little lucky to escape that fate. Maybe it caught me in a good mood. In fact, it must have done: the title points directly at what the kind of misty profundity that Alfred North Whitehead suggested was an indication of nonsense.

    Still, I was evidently interested enough to respond (it quoted @alexbellos as having enjoyed it, and I'm a sucker for social proof) and, once my own books were out of the way, give it a chance.

    I'm surprisingly glad I did: Watkins takes the reader into the number system in an accessible and entirely readable way. With inventive illustrations as an aid, he comes up with analogies for tricky concepts (sprites play golf to show what the graph of a function is -- which sounds odder than it is).

    In a sense, I'm not the audience for the book -- it's written for the lay reader, and studiously avoids mathematical language as much as possible, and equations almost entirely -- which, for me, made it trickier to read rather than easier, and for me, it was slightly slow going. For most lay readers, though, I'd imagine that the gentle pace was a benefit rather than a difficulty.

    So, in summary, it's good! I learned something about the distribution of prime numbers, and got plenty of ideas for teaching hard ideas. If you're not me ((and, in likelihood, you're not)), I think you'll learn plenty about the number system and how it fits together.
    ~ Colin Beveridge, http://www.flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk/

  • Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System
    David Pinto
    Leon Conrad
    "... an excellent methodology that creates learning environments in conditions of uncertainty"

    "Playing in the area of not knowing is when we create our deepest learnings, when we come to shared understandings, when we invent a solution through creatively connecting the available data."

    "The book is accessible and easily digestible and a great option for anyone looking at new ways of presenting complex information and engaging people around it."

    Full review at ...

    http://www.darlingarts.co.uk/#!Review-Odyssey-Dynamic-Learning-System/c1gfz/BFBED596-7DAB-40E8-BC22-B7738A0C431F ~ C G Beall, Darling Arts Blog

  • Transformations: Stories to Tell in the Classroom
    Phil McDermott
    ‘Transformations’ is the perfect title for this excellent book as it has the capacity to transform classroom practice and bedtime stories and is an absolute essential for all classroom practitioners and parents who wish to inspire and excite children through the power of oral storytelling. Phil McDermott is a renowned storyteller himself and Transformations reflects his own unique voice which is able to transport us to different times, places and situations. With its powerful stories, commentaries and ideas for follow up activities and discussions, this book goes far beyond the requirements of the curriculum and will enable teachers and parents to set fire to children’s imaginations through the power of language.

    ~ Virginia Bower, Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University

  • Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System
    David Pinto
    Leon Conrad
    The book is wonderful. Your grids help the facilitator focus the individual or group’s cognitive journeys on the lessons that emerge from their deep thinking and brain storming when they start to connect randomly chosen topics … it gives this intermediate and personal reflection more serious status than we traditionally do. Your methodology fits the philosophical grounds of cognition perfectly. It is absolutely ground-breaking.
    Alexander Sogomonov, Academic director,
    Centre for Sociological and Political Education, Russian Academy of Sciences
    and Expert at the Moscow School of Civic Education ~ Alexander Sogomonov

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 3
    Matthew Watkins
    See http://mathlesstraveled.com/2012/07/14/book-review-the-enigma-of-the-spiral-waves/ ~ Brent Yorgey

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 3
    Matthew Watkins
    "The Secrets of Creation trilogy is one of the most remarkable works of maths popularisation that I have read. Matthew Watkins has a gift for exposition, a gushing passion for his subject and a completely fresh way of approaching basic – and not so basic – mathematical ideas. He has written a brilliantly original work that is both whimsical and cosmically profound. I would recommend it to anyone." ~ Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 2
    Matthew Watkins
    "The first two Secrets of Creation books completely blew me away when I discovered them last year. I read through them in matter of days in a state of disbelief that there existed such an accessible and patient (and cartoon based!) explanation of the Riemann Hypothesis and related matters. It is a monumental achievement." ~ Paul Stepahin, San Francisco Exploratorium

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 2
    Matthew Watkins
    "The Secrets of Creation trilogy is one of the most remarkable works of maths popularisation that I have read. Matthew Watkins has a gift for exposition, a gushing passion for his subject and a completely fresh way of approaching basic – and not so basic – mathematical ideas. He has written a brilliantly original work that is both whimsical and cosmically profound. I would recommend it to anyone." ~ Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    "The Secrets of Creation trilogy is one of the most remarkable works of maths popularisation that I have read. Matthew Watkins has a gift for exposition, a gushing passion for his subject and a completely fresh way of approaching basic – and not so basic – mathematical ideas. He has written a brilliantly original work that is both whimsical and cosmically profound. I would recommend it to anyone." ~ Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

  • Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System
    David Pinto
    Leon Conrad
    Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System by Leon Conrad and David Pinto proposes an unusual and imaginative program of learning when schools are calling for conventionality. It is time that more experimental programs like the Odyssey grids should be supported.

    ~ Jack Zipes

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 2
    Matthew Watkins
    http://mathlesstraveled.com/2012/07/14/book-review-the-enigma-of-the-spiral-waves/ ~ Brent Yorgey

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    "Matthew Watkins' The Mystery of the Prime Numbers is an interesting read. It’s all you ever wanted to know about prime numbers – and then some...

    During the discussions on number lines, counting numbers, division, Peano's Axioms and spirals, there are excursions along the way about religion, economics, philosophy and neuropsychology.

    The strength of this volume is in the simplicity of the explanations. There are just a few formulas throughout the book (sadly, each equation in a book reduces its sales appeal) and most of the heavy lifting when it comes to explanation is in the illustrations.

    For math teachers, the book could give you some ideas for activities for your students to better understand the nature of the number line, the distribution of primes or the nature of infinity." ~ Murray Bourne

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    "There are no equations to scare readers off. There are fun illustrations, by Matt Tweed. The concepts are deep. Matthew dives into the Prime Number Theorem, harmonic decomposition, spiral waves, and much more. The book reads like a fairy tale – a journey for children of all ages into the depths of truly simple mathematics. The book, in my judgment, lives up to its promise of being accessible. It is very entertaining yet remarkably rigorous. It renews my pleasure of finding joy in deep and simple things.
    ...

    I'm absolutely thrilled to see a book that doesn't dumb down serious Math but simplifies it and communicates it so clearly. I remember having loved Math so much in junior high school and in high school where so much of what I did was to dive into interesting explorations. Then, when I got to college, Math became so dry and lifeless. I can only imagine what college Math would have been like with this book as a text. I sincerely believe that "The Mystery" is a real paradigm changer..." ~ Sol Lederman

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    "This is a fantastic book. A fabulous book. A splendiferous book!

    It's easy enough to say what the book is about: it explains some extremely fascinating properties of the distribution of prime numbers. But that doesn't tell you why it's so great; books about prime numbers are a dime a dozen.

    First of all, Watkins (with the help of the illustrations, which I'll get to shortly) manages to explain everything extremely clearly, beginning from first principles—and I really mean first principles; he begins with the definition of the natural numbers and goes from there. The only thing that could possibly stand between elementary school students and an appreciation of this book is their reading ability and attention span, NOT their mathematical abilities. But—and here is the truly astounding thing—I, a PhD student who has studied math my whole life, could not put this book down. Not only was I not bored, I learned new things! How is this possible? Partly, it was due to the fresh, creative, insightful way everything is explained, coupled with excellent writing; partly, it was due to the subject, which starts conventionally enough but soon wanders into fascinating territory unfamiliar to many mathematicians (including this one). A book like this, accessible to young children and engaging to adults, is a rare and wonderful accomplishment indeed!

    Oh yes, and the illustrations. The illustrations!

    ...

    I eagerly await Volume II (to be published next year)!" ~ Brent Yorgey

  • Secrets of Creation, Volume 1
    Matthew Watkins
    "[U]nlike the numerous popular books that have probed deeply into the beauty and mystery of the prime numbers and the Riemann Hypothesis (such as the ones by M. du Sautoy, J. Derbyshire, etc.), this one is unique in many aspects. It is the only book geared towards general audience that actually gives an account of the complexity of the distribution of the prime numbers while containing almost no equations.

    So, how did the author achieve this? Through the radiant wit of the illustrations paired up with the exceptional writing. Additionally, his success is due to the simplicity of the explanations, which in an engaging manner reveal complex concepts with such clarity as to make the book accessible to children and non-mathematicians. Lastly, the exposition of the beauty of the harmonic decomposition is superb.

    ...

    Every argument in the book is backed up vividly by numerous illustrative examples and user-friendly visualizations. The illustrator, Matt Tweed, has provided brilliant drawings that convey and explain the mathematical ideas and concepts as they develop throughout the book. What could have been rigorous text saturated with formulas is replaced by the many entertaining illustrations which also offer an intuitive understanding of the technical complexities behind the text...(My 3-year old son literally could not put this book down; he had many questions and comments about what happens in the drawings.)

    This is a very unusual and inspiring book with the potential to spark interest even among experts on prime number theory. The exciting and original presentation is instructive and stimulates further study. Diving into the mystery of numbers in this book leaves one thirsting for the subsequent two volumes."

    [full review at
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120809155626/http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/19/?pa=reviews&sa=viewBook&bookId=73061] ~ Ana Momidic-Reyna, MAA Reviews

AUTHORS YOU MIGHT LIKE
  • Matthew WatkinsMatthew WatkinsMatthew Watkins was born in London in 1970. He trained to be a research mathematician, completing hi...
  • Tony CleaverTony CleaverTony Cleaver has been a journalist, hippy, teacher, road sweeper, mountain guide, university lecture...
  • Phil McDermottPhil McDermottPhil McDermott is a highly acclaimed storyteller, author and playwright. He is the creator of the ...
  • Leon ConradLeon ConradLeon is an educationalist. In addition to being the publisher for Liberalis, he works as a tutor, tr...
  • David PintoDavid Pinto
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