To start, it's a math book that is a quick and engaging read reminding me how awesome (inspiring awe) math is. A+ for that. It got the Royal Society Prize Nominee for General Prize in 1998.
This book, while providing an overview of the history and development of mathematics, also sets up a framework for laypersons helping us understanding the beautiful complexity of Fermat's last theorem. I didn't "get" all the math but fortunately I didn't need too to get a lot from this book. Perhaps a more math minded readers will feel differently.
Singh provides both the math and the personal
psychology of mathematicians who have had a go at Fermat's theorem. The secrecy, the edginess - in other words the human
concerns and psychology of doing advanced math got me coming back for more. Along with quotes, including this one:
"Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explores often get lost. Rigor should be a signal to the historian that the maps have been made, and the real explorers have gone elsewhere." W.S. Anglin.
And jokes: "An astronomer, a a physicist, and a mathematician are traveling by train... " A great joke which this book certainly helped me understand.
Godel and Escher are mentioned but no Bach... (That's still on my reading list.)
TIGER link: QA244 .S55 1997