By studying math through the lens of the mathematicians, X Marks the Spot takes a unique approach to helping readers understand the development of various branches of mathematics. Garfinkle and Garfinkle explain how mathematical concepts were developed for utilitarian aims, such as calculating land mass, and how the resulting abstraction of such concepts — in this example, geometry — often comes at the expense of intuition. Through this new approach to describing how various branches of mathematics came into being, X Marks the Spot hopes to imbue readers with a new, more intuitive sense of how math works.