Eugenia Cheng’s x + y is marketed as a book about feminism and gender, but Frank and I feel as though it’s actually more radical and universal than that. In this slim, plainspoken, pellucid book, you will find—after a brief section on mathematics—a charmingly practical approach to utopian philosophy, alongside specific recommendations for ways to improve your classroom practice to better serve all learners (including you!).

Cheng grew up as a competitive pianist. “Competitive pianist” is such an innocuous phrase, but by the end of the book, Cheng would like for this to give us pause. Cheng believes that music performance—the act of creating something beautiful—shouldn’t be competitive. There is no limit to the amount of beauty that can exist in the world, so why approach music with a scarcity mindset?

But we often do. The Greek myth of Arachne depicts her competing with Athena to create beautiful tapestries. In...

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