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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eugenia Cheng Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it?

In How to Bake Pi, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen: we learn, for example, how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number five and why making a good custard proves that math is easy, but life is hard. Of course, it’s not all about cooking; we’ll also run the New York and Chicago marathons, take a closer look at St. Paul’s Cathedral, pay visits to Cinderella and Lewis Carroll, and even get to the bottom of why we think of a tomato as a vegetable.

At the heart of it all is Cheng’s work on category theory, a cutting-edge “mathematics of mathematics,” which is about figuring out how math works. This is not the math of our high school classes: seen through category theory, mathematics becomes less about numbers and formulas and more about how we know, believe, and understand anything, including whether our brother took too much cake.

Many of us think that math is hard, but, as Cheng makes clear, math is actually designed to make difficult things easier. Combined with her infectious enthusiasm for cooking and a true zest for life, Cheng’s perspective on math becomes this singular book: a funny, lively, and clear journey through a vast territory no popular book on math has explored before. How to Bake Pi offers a whole new way to think about a field all of us think we know; it will both dazzle the constant reader of popular mathematics and amuse and enlighten even the most hardened math-phobe.

So, what is math? Let’s look for the answer in the kitchen.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] slyly illuminating dispatch on the deep meaning of mathematics…She compels us to see numbers and symbols as vivid characters in an ongoing drama.”

    Natalie Angier, Pulitzer prize-winning science columnist

  • “Invoking plenty of examples from cooking and baking, as well as other everyday-life situations such as calculating a taxi fare, searching for love through online dating services and training for a marathon, [Cheng] explains abstract mathematical ideas—including topology and logic—in understandable ways….[A] lively, accessible book.”

    Scientific American

  • “Her tone is clear, clever, and friendly. Even at her most whimsical she is rigorous and insightful. Potentially confusing ideas are expressed with a matter-of-fact simplicity…How to Bake Pi is a welcome addition to the popular-math shelf.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Cheng is exceptional at translating the abstract concepts of mathematics into ordinary language…and makes her love for mathematics contagious.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Tavia Gilbert narrates with a liveliness and lightness that one might not expect in a book about the world of mathematics…Gilbert’s fluid voice conveys the themes of beauty and power in both the concrete and abstract aspects of math…Gilbert’s lyrical narration, together with her deliberate speed as she delivers the formulas, brings clarity and a down-to-earth approach to this often intimidating subject matter. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “An original book using recipes to explain sophisticated math concepts to students and even the math-phobic…[Cheng] is a gifted teacher…A sharp, witty book to press on students and even the teachers of math teachers.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “What a charming and original book! The central analogy—math is like cooking—turns out to be surprisingly apt and often funny.”

    Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics, Cornell University, and author of The Joy of x

  • “With this delightfully surprising book, Eugenia Cheng reveals the hidden beauty of mathematics with passion and simplicity. After reading How to Bake Pi, you won’t look at math (nor porridge!) in the same way ever again.”

    Roberto Trotta, author of The Edge of the Sky

  • “Cheng’s charming new book embeds math in a casing of wry, homespun metaphors…Cheng is at home with math…by the end of How to Bake Pi, you might be, too.”

    Jordan Ellenberg, professor of mathematics, University of Wisconsin, and author of How Not to Be Wrong

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
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About the Author

Eugenia Cheng is tenured in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. She has previously been on the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago and is the Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Chicago.