Fear No Numbers: How to Multiply Or Divide and Always Get It Right by Jose Paul Moretto is an innovative book about math that shows a new way of looking at numbers. Moretto introduces two “theorems” called “The Proof by 9 System” and “The MaXima System,” to help students check their work to see if they are solving multiplication and division problems correctly. Moretto’s hope is to help students who struggle with a fear of math to learn a new way of self-checking and correcting to improve the confidence of struggling math students.
Moretto includes many references to mathematicians of the past, including Pierre de Fermat, Frenicle de Bessy, Gilles de Roberval, Isaac Newton, and Pythagoras. The author also references Napoleon Hill throughout the book, inspiring students to take action and be fearless in their efforts to improve math skills. Moretto obviously has a strong connection to math and has an impressive interest in helping students get over any fear of math they may have.
As a special education teacher and school administrator, I have worked closely with many students who have struggled with math. While I found these systems interesting, I think that many of the students I have worked with in the past would struggle with these ideas. The author says they are simple, easy and fun; I think that is true to those already strong in math. I had a hard time tracking all of the details required to remember when performing these systems. I did like the tips the author discussed regarding the “Proof by 9 System.”
I would recommend Fear No Numbers to math teachers looking for new ways to excite students about math. I think there are many students who will find these ideas fun and interesting. These systems may also work for students who need an unorthodox way of checking their work.