I was given this book as a Christmas present as a teenager but I had picked it out in a bookshop. It was part of a bunch of books I was given that included Anarchism by George Woodcock (since lost) and the Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland (which I still have somewhere).
The difference with this book was that maths was a new and surprising interest. I had never liked mathematics and for much of my schooling arithmetic had baffled me. However, past a certain age algebra in particular just clicked. I hadn’t noticed at first but as the work became more advanced I found that work was not getting proportionally harder, as in I was still finding it difficult but in the way I’d found times tables difficult except now we were doing work that everybody found hard.
So I started taking an interest in mathematics as mathematics and this book arrived when I needed it. Stepping into it I fell into a new rabbit hole – the sociology and philosophy of mathematics.