Mathematical Resources

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What are some other interesting nonfiction books about mathematics?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of nonfiction books devoted to mathematics. And it’s true—math can be both fun and interesting, as the following books illustrate:

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (Basic Books, Inc., 1999; ISBN: 0465026567). The classic work on human creativity and thought, bringing together the mathematics of Gödel, the art of Escher, and the music of Bach.

The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse by Jennifer Ouellette (Penguin, reprinted, 2010; ISBN: 0143117378). The author helps you learn to love math by taking you through your everyday life with mathematics in mind.

The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century by David Salsburg (Henry Holt & Company, 2002; ISBN: 0805071342). As the title suggests, this is the story of how statistics changed the way science was done in the 20th century. The methods of statistics are covered in easily understood terms, and there are short biographies of the major contributors to this field.

The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life while Corresponding about Math by Steven Strogatz (Princeton University Press, reprinted, 2010; ISBN: 0691150389). This book highlights 30 years of letters between a teacher and his student.

Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio (Simon & Schuster, 2009; ISBN: 074329405X). This book traces the evolution of mathematical reasoning from Pythagoras to the 21st century.

Mathematics in 10 Lessons: The Grand Tour by Jerry P. King (Prometheus Books, 2009; ISBN: 1591026865). This introduction to mathematics allows the reader to understand not only mathematical methods, but how to think mathematically.

Here’s Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion through the Astonishing World of Math by Alex Bellos (Free Press, 2010; ISBN: 1416588256). This book takes the reader off the beaten mathematical path, using examples and amazing stories to explain mathematics.

The Mathematics of Life by Ian Stewart (Basic Books, 2011; ISBN: 0465022383). This is an overview of biology, all with an emphasis on the mathematical connections, such as life’s origins.

The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind by Richard Restak and Scott Kim (Riverhead Books, 2011; ISBN: 9781594487774). This book, written by a neuroscientist, shows how working on puzzles is not only fun but can help your brain’s thinking processes.

The Math Instinct: Why You’re a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs) by Kevin Delvin (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005; ISBN: 0641976321). Written by National Public Radio’s “Math Guy,” this entertaining book looks at the innate mathematical abilities found in humans and other animals on the planet.


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