First Impressions

The beginnings of Algebra I found far more difficult [than Euclid], perhaps as a result of bad teaching. I was made to learn by heart: ‘The square of the sum of two numbers is equal to the sum of their squares increased by twice their product.’ I had not the vaguest idea what this meant, and when I could not remember the words, my tutor threw the book at my head, which did not stimulate my intellect in any way.

The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, 1967