Book Review: “Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension”


Aris Sanders

Ben Undem reviews the book “Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension.”

Ben Undem, Reporter

What would you say if I were to ask you, how high can you count using your two hands? P.S. – the answer is NOT ten. “Things to Make and do in the Fourth Dimension” by Matt Parker is a collection of math history written in a way you have probably never experienced in any book.

You might be thinking this sounds like a generic geometry textbook. To be frank, it is nothing like a math textbook: problems are not scattered for you to solve, the text is not tiny and the writer didn’t scramble to fit as many words on one page as physically possible. To be fair, there are some questions and puzzles for you to complete for fun, but don’t worry, this math book does have “the answers in the back of the book.”

Parker is a brilliant man who happens to be a stand up comedian, and an Australian. The language used in the book can also be something you have probably never known before, just little phrases like “per cent” rather than “percent,” which literally means out of one hundred with the prefix “cent.” If you go through your day looking forward to math, this is the book for you.

1,048,575: One million, forty eight thousand, five hundred and seventy five. This is the number you can count to using only your fingers. It is a bit more complicated than sticking your fingers up in the air.  Using the four positions, “down touching your palm, down not touching your palm, halfway up and fully up,” is the algorithm you must use to achieve the “I can count to over one million using my ten fingers” award. With this strategy, it is possible to count to forty using only two fingers.

If you are a math “nerd” and would love to learn background to the math we use today. I would rate this book a 10 out of 10 for you. However, if you’re looking for a romantic adventure story, be advised: This book is NOT for you, and on that scale this book would receive a rating of 10 out of 100.

The amount of griping content in this book is outstanding, some other subjects described are “prime numbers”, “knots”, “the fourth dimension”, “ridiculous shapes”, “ridiculous numbers”, “to infinity and beyond”, and many more.