The Quality of Numbers One to Thirty-one

Wolfgang Held; Translated by Matthew Barton


Quick Look

  • Explores the fascinating characteristics of numbers in relation to our lives
  • In this readable book, Wolfgang Held reveals the hidden numerical order of our world

Explores the fascinating characteristics of numbers in relation to humans and the world around us.

Floris Books
Philosophy of the Natural World; Philosophy of Human Life
22 b/w illustrations
144 pages
Publication date:
08 Nov 2012


One sun, two parents, three meals a day, four seasons, five fingers … every child soon discovers that lots of things in life have an inherent number attached to them.

Just as five individual fingers become something much more important and powerful when combined together in a hand, these numbers are often much more than a simple addition of their parts: they are intrinsically connected to the object, expressing a particular quality.

In this readable little book, Wolfgang Held explores the fascinating qualities of numbers one to thirty-one. The Pythagorean School in ancient Greece had a saying, 'all is number'. Held reveals the hidden numerical order of our world and our remarkable harmonic relationship with our surroundings.


'The book is easy to read and requires no mathematical knowledge beyond the basics. It is full of fascinating snippets from history and culture. I particularly liked the explanation for the bizzare method of scoring in tennis, which must have puzzled generations … Held's charming book deserves to be widely read. It should serve as an 'appetiser', awakening us to a new feeling for the 'inside' of numbers.'
-- Paul Carline, New View

'Drawing on his anthroposophical background, the author provides a fascinating survey and commentary on the meaning and symbolism of numbers 1 to 31.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review


Wolfgang Held was born in Germany in 1964. He worked for many years in the Mathematics and Astronomy section of the Goetheanum, where he now runs the publicity department. He is the editor of the Sternkalender (Star Calendar) and the author of many articles on themes relating to numbers and science.


This book is also by Wolfgang Held, about the patterns and rhythms we find around us:
Rhythms of the Week and other Explorations of Time

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