The best books to help you to think logically

Dennis E. Shasha Author Of The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco
By Dennis E. Shasha

The Books I Picked & Why

Abraham Lincoln, His Speeches and Writings

By Roy Basler, Carl Sandburg

Abraham Lincoln, His Speeches and Writings

Why this book?

Abraham Lincoln famously had little formal education but was capable of sophisticated logical thinking in his arguments. He credits his ability to form his arguments to his encounter with Euclid’s writings about geometry. He felt in awe by the notion of “demonstration” and went on to apply that notion to his compelling arguments about the injustice and hypocrisy of slavery. 


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Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur's Collection

By Peter Winkler

Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur's Collection

Why this book?

Peter Winkler is an outstanding theoretical computer scientist, which is another way of saying that he is a mathematician who loves combinatorics and logic. He brings the precision and clarity of a mathematician to both the presentation and the solutions of his puzzles. The book consists of great puzzles from the centuries. Professor Winkler has excellent taste.


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What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles

By Raymond M. Smullyan

What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles

Why this book?

Raymond Smullyan is a professor, a magician, and an author. In this book, he combines humor with logic and a flair for magic in a set of ingenious puzzles. Though the puzzles initially appear to be quirky and light-hearted, they evolve towards some of the deepest topics in modern logic, including the undecidability of even simple fields of mathematics. You will enjoy a sense of wonder at both the puzzles and their solutions.


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How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method

By George Polya

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method

Why this book?

In this book, George Polya explains some techniques for solving problems. While this might sound too much like a textbook, the book features puzzles and their solution and a systematic guide as to how to find such a solution. He shows that mathematics is an empirical science, full of experimentation and dead ends, but, with a little luck, crowned with a solution. 


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Syntactic Structures

By Noam Chomsky

Syntactic Structures

Why this book?

In the history of science, fields of studies have evolved from empirical to principled. In linguistics, field linguists had understood the need to construct grammars of languages they encountered. Noam Chomsky understood the need to place grammars into a mathematical hierarchy of formalisms, showing through brilliant counter-examples which grammatical constructs could be handled by each formalism. For example, Chomsky showed that finite state automata model noun phrases beautifully but fail with if-then sentences. He showed that context-free grammars handle if-then, but fail at passive constructions. The book offered a new way to think about language.


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