The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer"Georges Ifrah is the man. This book, quite simply, rules. . . . It is outstanding . . . a mindboggling and enriching experience." –The Guardian (London) "Monumental. . . . a fascinating journey taking us through many different cultures."–The Times (London)"Ifrah’s book amazes and fascinates by the scope of its scholarship. It is nothing less than the history of the human race told through figures." –International Herald Tribune Now in paperback, here is Georges Ifrah’s landmark international bestseller–the first complete, universal study of the invention and evolution of numbers the world over. A riveting history of counting and calculating, from the time of the cave dwellers to the twentieth century, this fascinating volume brings numbers to thrilling life, explaining their development in human terms, the intriguing situations that made them necessary, and the brilliant achievements in human thought that they made possible. It takes us through the numbers story from Europe to China, via ancient Greece and Rome, Mesopotamia, Latin America, India, and the Arabic countries. Exploring the many ways civilizations developed and changed their mathematical systems, Ifrah imparts a unique insight into the nature of human thought–and into how our understanding of numbers and the ways they shape our lives have changed and grown over thousands of years. "Dazzling."–Kirkus Reviews "Sure to transfix readers."–PublishersWeekly 
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This book is a mine of knowledge. All the images are great. If you like to know eg how the egyptians did their counting with numbers and fractions, this is the book. I use it to get inspiration in my math teaching.
Review: The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer
User Review  GoodreadsI assumed that this would be a history of mathematics, or perhaps arithmetic. But no, like the title says, it's a history of of numbers. Numbers and counting systems from all different cultures, from ... Read full review
Contents
Explaining the Origins Ethnological and Psychological Approaches to the Sources of Numbers  3 
Base Numbers and the Birth of Numbersystems  23 
The Earliest Calculating Machine The Hand  47 
Copyright  
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Common terms and phrases
abacus according alBiruni ancient Arabic arithmetic Aryabhata astronomers Babylonian base Brahman Brahmi numerals calculation calendar century BCE Chinese civilisation column concept corresponding counting cuneiform Datta and Singh decimal divine Egyptian example expressed figures finger four Greek hand hieroglyphic High numbers Hindu hundred Indian astronomy Indian mathematics Indian numerals Indian written numeral Infinity inscriptions invented Islamic Kushana Lalitavistara Sutra language letters literally Mahaviracharya mathematical mathematician Maya Mesopotamia method millennium BCE Mount Meru multiplicand multiply mystical Nagari Name given Names of numbers notch numbersystem numbers and High numeral systems Classification numerical notation numerical symbols numerical value Ordinary Sanskrit name origin Pallava Persian placevalue system position principle protoElamite representation represented Roman scribes script Semitic serpent Serpent Symbolism seven sexagesimal Shaka Shunga Shunya signs Sumerian symbolic meaning tablet tally stick texts thousand units vigesimal words writing written numeral systems Yuga zero