Link to Guardian Review

20th March 2010 | Books, Daily Life | 3 comments

If you would like to read the excerpts from ‘Out of Silence’ in today’s Guardian, click here.


  1. peter

    Let me say how strongly I support your views of competition, Susan (as examplified in the playing of tennis). One of the great frustrations of my childhood was having aptitude and skill for mathematics, yet my math teachers insisting on my doing puzzles, games, tests of mental arithmetic, etc, and entering mathematics competitions. I found the competitive elements of these activities morally repulsive and divisive, and still do. At university, where I did a degree in pure mathematics, I learnt that large swathes of the discipline are dominated by a macho, dog-eat-dog, take-no-prisoners culture – like, perhaps, the very competitive worlds of violin soloists and operatic tenors. I always felt that doing mathematics should be a collaborative activity, akin to playing in an orchestra, and I always got most pleasure from collaboration, not competition. I discovered that some parts of the discipline (eg, mathematical statistics, computing and artificial intelligence) are far more co-operative than are the traditional areas, and it is into these areas that I took my career.

    • Susan Tomes

      That’s very interesting, Peter. I hadn’t realised that mathematics has its own equivalent of competitive versus collaborative aspects.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FT Best Summer Books of 2024

FT Best Summer Books of 2024

My book on women pianists has been chosen by the Financial Times as one of their Best Summer Books of 2024. Music critic Richard...

read more