Why is 7 such a lucky number and 13 so unlucky? Why does a jury traditionally have `12 good men and true’, and why are there 24 hours in the day and 60 seconds in a minute? This fascinating new book explores the world of numbers from pin numbers to book titles, and from the sixfold shape of snowflakes to the way our roads, houses and telephone numbers are designated in fact and fiction. Using the numbers themselves as its starting point it investigates everything from the origins and meaning of counting in early civilizations to numbers in proverbs, myths and nursery rhymes and the ancient `science’ of numerology. It also focuses on the quirks of odds and evens, primes, on numbers in popular sports – and much, much more.
So whether you’ve ever wondered why Heinz has 57 varieties, why 999 is the UK’s emergency phone number but 911 is used in America, why Coco Chanel chose No. 5 for her iconic perfume, or how the title Catch 22 was chosen, then this is the book for you. Dip in anywhere and you’ll find that numbers are not just for adding and measuring but can be hugely entertaining and informative whether you’re buying a diamond or choosing dinner from the menu.