Once you know how to see them, numbers are all around us – buried in the dimensions of buildings and encoding the data on our favourite gadgets. They’re a beautiful system of patterns and codes, but also an essential tool that can guide our daily decisions, change our behaviour, and even predict the future – if we can just learn how to use them right.
Long before his rise to cult fame on University Challenge, Bobby Seagull was obsessed with numbers. They were the keys that unlocked the randomness of football results, helped him organise his time, directed his social life and opened up the world of music. Told through stories from his life, Bobby illuminates the world of numbers and brings his infectious enthusiasm to everything from the mystery of magic numbers, the improbability of probability, the right number of friends to have, and how prime numbers control everything from credit card encryption to cicada hibernation habits.
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers will fill you with wonder, change how you see the world around you, and help you use numbers to make better choices and decisions every day.
If there’s anyone to help champion the joy of numbers, it’s Bobby Seagull. He’s the man helping the BBC Breakfast presenters study for their maths GCSEs; he’s an ambassador for National Numeracy alongside Rachel Riley; he’s the face of a new Open University course helping young adults manage their finances; he writes a guest column in the Financial Times and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Puzzle for Today – all while doing a PhD in numberphobia at Cambridge.
Bobby Seagull became a cult star as a contestant on University Challenge in 2017. He is now an obsessive quiz enthusiast, a secondary school maths teacher, a doctoral student researching maths anxiety at Cambridge University and a long-suffering West Ham fan.