At Sixes and Sevens

We review the fourth of this year’s nominees for the Book of the Year


Rachel Riley is a British mathematician best known for appearing on Countdown. At Sixes and Sevens (Amazon UK, Waterstones) is her book that revisits school-level maths.


At Sixes and Sevens takes the reader on a journey through school-level maths. The book includes many tricks and methods that Rachel Riley uses herself when performing very quick calculations during the Countdown numbers rounds. There are puzzles spread throughout, and the book encourages the reader to do some maths as well as reading about it.


The explanations in this book are clear and easy to follow.


At Sixes and Sevens is aimed at adults who didn’t get on well with maths at school. It does a very good job of making maths more fun and more understandable than many people’s school experience. (Thankfully, teachers are also doing great work making maths more fun and understandable, so fewer and fewer adult in the future will need books like this.)


I’d recommend this book to anyone who struggled with maths at school and wants to give it another go: this book should make you realise that you were probably taught in a bad, old-fashioned way and there’s actually nothing wrong with your mathematical ability. There’s less in this book for the already-seasoned mathematician, but there are still plenty of puzzles and nice connections you may not have previously noticed throughout the book that will keep you entertained.


You can vote for your favourite book on the Book of the Year shortlist below. The winning book will be crowned the Chalkdust Readers’ Choice. Voting closes at 5pm (BST) on Saturday 16 April.

What is your favourite book on the 2021 Book of the Year shortlist?

  • Maths Tricks to Blow Your Mind by Kyle D Evans (50%, 11 Votes)
  • How To Think About Abstract Algebra by Lara Alcock (23%, 5 Votes)
  • Math Without Numbers by Milo Beckman (9%, 2 Votes)
  • Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan (9%, 2 Votes)
  • How to Read Numbers by Tom Chivers & David Chivers (5%, 1 Votes)
  • Weirdest Maths by David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee (5%, 1 Votes)
  • At Sixes and Sevens by Rachel Riley (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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