Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Ouellette is a science writer who specializes in physics topics, yet avoided calculus as a student. Here, she provides a variety of links between everyday events and the mathematics behind them. However, this is not in any respect a computational treatise. Basing her presentations on such events as driving to Las Vegas, gambling at the casinos, experiencing the Tower of Terror at Disneyland, taking on a mortgage, and losing weight, Ouellette describes the clear connections between these experiences and the underlying principles of derivatives, integrals, and probability. In many ways, the epilogue presents the most powerful point. The clear message is that many highly capable individuals do not necessarily benefit from traditional calculus teaching methods that emphasize abstraction (which the author agrees is crucial). Instead, people gain considerable insight and a stronger appreciation of the subject when connections are made in context between the abstract and the concrete, encouraging them to actually learn the calculus. Ouellette draws connections throughout the book, but she does not flesh them out mathematically either in the discourse or in the appendixes, which may disappoint some readers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers. N. W. Schillow Lehigh Carbon Community College