Book: The Maths Handbook

maths_handbook_cover   math_handbook_cover


This page is for reviews and errata for The Math[s] Handbook by me (Quercus, 2011).




The Maths Handbook was been the Number 1 bestselling e-book in Amazon’s Mathematics Study & Teaching section for more than 6 months in 2014.


“Richard Elwes’ Maths handbook is a lucid presentation of basic mathematics facts… The author’s primary task was to show that there is nothing intimidating in mathematics, and this task was fulfilled. All those who would like to know more mathematics but are frightened by it should definitely read this book. It will also be an interesting read for mathematically inclined children.”

– Ilia Rushkin at Plus


“What this book does is to start from the very basics, you know, adding, multiplying and division, and then moves on to definitions of trigonometry and algebra, and how to actually use them without being too scared of them… And it’s good… It’s got little quizzes along the way, lots of diagrams and lots of helpful hints.”

– Sue Cole on ABC Brisbane Radio


“This comes highly recommended, for young and older learners alike, lots of helpful tips… brilliant… has helped me tremendously.”


“The author has a real gift for conveying mathematical concepts in a concise, easy-to-understand way. I had vague memories of high school math which never failed to fill me with dread. Now I feel confident with fractions, algebraic equations and basic trigonometry (I got sin, cos and tan – remember them? – in one page). A great read if you want to brush up on everyday math. “


“I am currently teaching maths to level 2 (equivilent to Grade C in GCSE) in a prison… it is very challenging to get the students to understand basic concepts without too many wordy explanations – yet this author has done a wonderful job of stating the facts and leaving out the waffle. It is modern, bang up to date and yet gets the job done systematically, light heartedly and consistently. I simply ask students to read the relevant chapter in the book and then we discuss their understanding… this book therefore backs me up, succinctly and sweetly. It is simply the best, the book I wish I had written! “


“I love this book. I have never understood or enjoyed maths and it has played on my mind a lot recently, with two young children at school – I didn’t want to have to defer to my husband to help them with their homework, and I didn’t want to be the maths dummy of the family!

This book simply and in everyday language explains why you do what you do in maths, as well as how. It starts right at the beginning, even explaining what adding and subtracting are, so even if you have no maths knowledge whatsoever, you will never feel out of your depth.”



“I’m studying a level 3 electrical engineering course and the maths has been ‘scary’. Being a slightly older student I felt intimidated so thought it best to read up and learn. I found this book to be well written and simple to understand. The author makes learning fun. Highly recommended.”


“I enjoyed it very much and it improved my skills and I passed the 11+ because of that book
Please try it “


“Great book!

Short and snappy chapters with great explanations and a little quiz towards the end.
Starting at the basics (addition, subtraction and so on) and moving on to more advanced topics whilst offering great little tips that can be applied in everyday life.

If you want a quick A-Z recap of the basics of maths THIS IS YOUR BOOK.
5 stars!”



“I highly recommend @RichardElwes’s ‘The Maths Handbook: Everyday Maths Made Simple’… one of the clearest math recounts I ever saw.”


“Good useful book, easy to understand and just what i needed to help me at college. “



“Richard Elwes explains everything very well. I understand and can repeat and do the puzzles so far…. I definitely recommend this book to others.”


“Brilliant… I love this book,well written and thought-out… I highly recommend this book.”


“An excellent maths handbook”


“I have been struggling to help my children with some of their maths homework for years, telling them to go ask Dad. I finally came to the point where I thought I must master my fear of maths… I got this book on Kindle and I am very impressed it explains things so I can understand – it is brilliant. Highly recommended”



“Grandchildren (6 and 9) use this book and keep it handy.
I’m so pleased I bought it.
Might get one for myself! “


“as a full time maths dummy I’d recommend this book to everyone regardless of previous experience or preconceived fears about maths!”


“an excellent reference book, good for refreshing forgotten concepts, and brushing up on topics that you only vaguely understood in school”



“Maths made clear, at last!!!”


“Excellent – exactly what I needed to revise the basics! I had got a bit rusty with maths but this book made it straightforward again.”


“Perfect – It’s almost 20 years since I left school with an very poor grade in maths. Maths has always been my achilles heal, but recently I made a career change where maths skills are used daily. I was out of my depth and although sceptical about how much any one book could help, I have to say that I could not recommend this book more strongly.”


“…great for anyone teaching Level 6 maths in a primary school”

“Wow. This book really made me take a U-Turn through my education, and now I’m focused on pursuing one of a choice of a few scientific careers. It really does do what it says on the wrapper; makes everyday maths simple… Makes scary names like Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry and the like become simple in ways that you would never have expected… prepare to make friends with the greats such as Pythagoras and Euclid, and you spin on an intellectual whirlwind ride of whimsy, whit and education.”

“…for everyday use this book is a must. I bought two, one for my daughter and one for me – my daughter’s maths homework is all the better for it and better understood. Highly recommended.”

“This book helped me a lot!”

– Rose M




These are errors in the first edition of the Maths Handbook, and have been put right in subsequent editions.

P.194 The illustrated graph is of the line (y=-x) (not (y=2x-1) )

P.220. The answer to Fractions Quiz 3 c is ( 2 frac{1}{4})

P.220 The answer to Fractions Quiz 6 should read “All numbers except those whose only prime factors are 2 & 5.”

Errors in Paperback Edition:

P.291 The answer to Addition Quiz 2 d is 11000.