100 books like A Mind For Numbers

By Barbara Oakley,

Here are 100 books that A Mind For Numbers fans have personally recommended if you like A Mind For Numbers. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less

Scott Young Author Of Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career

From my list on becoming a more effective learner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer, programmer, traveler and avid reader of interesting things. For the last ten years I've been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better. I don't promise I have all the answers, just a place to start. 

Scott's book list on becoming a more effective learner

Scott Young Why did Scott love this book?

The best book for college students, Newport wrote the book by looking at top-scoring, relaxed students and observing what they used to study. His findings mostly back up my own book, Ultralearning, which points to the importance of active recall over review, solving problem sets in technical classes and Quiz and Recall for essay-based classes.

By Cal Newport,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Become a Straight-A Student as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Looking to jumpstart your GPA?

Most college students believe that straight A’s can be achieved only through cramming and painful all-nighters at the library. But Cal Newport knows that real straight-A students don’t study harder—they study smarter. A breakthrough approach to acing academic assignments, from quizzes and exams to essays and papers, How to Become a Straight-A Student reveals for the first time the proven study secrets of real straight-A students across the country and weaves them into a simple, practical system that anyone can master.

You will learn how to:

 • Streamline and maximize your study time
 • Conquer…


Book cover of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Sage Rountree Author Of The Athlete's Guide to Recovery: Rest, Relax, and Restore for Peak Performance

From my list on books for athletes who want to up their game.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I’ve coached endurance athletes to world championships, I’m an expert on not working out. It’s what you do when you’re not training that matters most! All the books on this list teach habits that help you relax about things that don’t matter while guiding you to define what does matter and explaining ways to most efficiently focus your energies there. This jibes with my work as a yoga teacher: we seek to find the right application of effort, and to layer in ease wherever possible. I don’t think it’s stretching too much to call each book on the list both a work of philosophy and also a deeply practical life manual.

Sage's book list on books for athletes who want to up their game

Sage Rountree Why did Sage love this book?

I think about this book every day, even though it was written almost 25 years ago, and the edition I read explained how to manage your paper file folders! (One of my most-used apps, the to-do manager Things, is built on this system.)

I love how much time this book has saved me as I juggle running several businesses, staying active in my hobbies, and running a household. Allen’s approach to capturing your ideas and then deciding how to organize them so that you can keep track of what needs your attention is both simple and really profound.

For athletes who need to be as efficient as possible to reserve time and energy for training, this book is a lifesaver.

By David Allen,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Getting Things Done as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book Lifehack calls "The Bible of business and personal productivity."

"A completely revised and updated edition of the blockbuster bestseller from 'the personal productivity guru'"-Fast Company

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen's Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. "GTD" is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text…


Book cover of Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

Scott Young Author Of Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career

From my list on becoming a more effective learner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer, programmer, traveler and avid reader of interesting things. For the last ten years I've been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better. I don't promise I have all the answers, just a place to start. 

Scott's book list on becoming a more effective learner

Scott Young Why did Scott love this book?

Harvard-educated cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham is one of the foremost experts in educational psychology. While the title of this book may not sound so appealing, it’s really a tight summary of some of the most important principles of psychology to learning more effectively. Willingham’s blog and other books are also excellent resources for someone who wants to understand how to learn well.

By Daniel Willingham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Don't Students Like School? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Easy-to-apply, scientifically-based approaches for engaging students in the classroomCognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. * Nine, easy-to-understand principles with clear applications for the classroom * Includes surprising findings, such as that intelligence is malleable, and that you cannot develop "thinking skills" without facts * How an understanding of the brain's workings can help teachers…


Book cover of “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

John Staddon Author Of The New Behaviorism: Foundations of Behavioral Science

From my list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology emeritus. He got his PhD at Harvard and has an honorary doctorate from the Université Charles de Gaulle, Lille 3, France. His research is on the evolution and mechanisms of learning in humans and animals, the history and philosophy of psychology and biology, and the social-policy implications of science. He's the author of over 200 research papers and five books including Adaptive Behavior and Learning, The New Behaviorism: Foundations of behavioral science, 3rd edition, Unlucky Strike: Private health and the science, law and politics of smoking, 2nd edition and Science in an age of unreason.  

John's book list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work

John Staddon Why did John love this book?

Richard Feynman was unique. A brilliant theoretical physicist, humorous, eccentric, and independent.

Feynman’s genius gave him a certain freedom, which he exploited to the full. The book is autobiographical and shows his often irresponsible behavior but also a relentless curiosity, and willingness to try anything, the essence of a successful scientist.

One cannot hope to imitate Feynman (and perhaps we should not: he was often mischievous, even mildly malicious); but any scientist should envy the way he approached problems in engineering as well as science—and the book is fun!

By Richard P. Feynman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard P. Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. In this lively work that "can shatter the stereotype of the stuffy scientist" (Detroit Free Press), Feynman recounts his experiences trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets-and much more of an eyebrow-raising nature. In his stories, Feynman's life shines through in all its eccentric glory-a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

Included for this edition is a new introduction by Bill Gates.


Book cover of Linear Algebra Done Right

Ivan Savov Author Of No Bullshit Guide to Linear Algebra

From my list on textbooks for learning linear algebra.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been teaching math and physics for more than 20 years as a private tutor. During this time, I experimented with different ways to explain concepts to make them easy to understand. I'm a big fan of using concept maps to show the connections between concepts and teaching topics in an integrated manner, including prerequisites and applications. While researching the material for my book, I read dozens of linear algebra textbooks and watched hundreds of videos, looking for the best ways to explain complicated concepts intuitively. I've tried to distill the essential ideas of linear algebra in my book and prepared this list to highlight the books I learned from.

Ivan's book list on textbooks for learning linear algebra

Ivan Savov Why did Ivan love this book?

In my opinion, Prof. Axler's book is the best way to learn the formal proofs of linear algebra theorems.

My undergraduate studies were in engineering, so I never learned the proofs. This is why I chose this book to solidify my understanding of the material; it didn't disappoint! Already, in the first few chapters, I learned new things about concepts that I thought I understood.

The book contains numerous exercises which were essential for the learning process. I went through the exercises with a group of friends, which helped me stay motivated. It wasn't easy, but all the time I invested in the proofs was rewarded by a solid understanding of the material.

I highly recommend this book as a second book on linear algebra.

By Sheldon Axler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Linear Algebra Done Right as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This best-selling textbook for a second course in linear algebra is aimed at undergrad math majors and graduate students. The novel approach taken here banishes determinants to the end of the book. The text focuses on the central goal of linear algebra: understanding the structure of linear operators on finite-dimensional vector spaces. The author has taken unusual care to motivate concepts and to simplify proofs. A variety of interesting exercises in each chapter helps students understand and manipulate the objects of linear algebra.

The third edition contains major improvements and revisions throughout the book. More than 300 new exercises have…


Book cover of Teaching and Learning Algebra

David Acheson Author Of The Wonder Book of Geometry: A Mathematical Story

From my list on mathematics for the general reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an applied mathematician at Oxford University, and author of the bestseller 1089 and All That, which has now been translated into 13 languages. In 1992 I discovered a strange mathematical theorem – loosely related to the Indian Rope Trick - which eventually featured on BBC television. My books and public lectures are now aimed at bringing mainstream mathematics to the general public in new and exciting ways.

David's book list on mathematics for the general reader

David Acheson Why did David love this book?

This may seem an odd choice, but as a maths popularizer I need to know all that I can about why some people find the main elements of the subject so difficult. I found Doug French's book exceptionally helpful in this respect, even though it is aimed principally at high school teachers. This is partly because he focuses throughout on the most important mathematical ideas and difficulties. Moreover, the scope is wider than the title suggests, for he also ventures imaginatively into both geometry and calculus.

By Doug French,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Teaching and Learning Algebra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Continuum has repackaged some of its key academic backlist titles to make them available at a more affordable price. These reissues will have new ISBNs, distinctive jackets and strong branding. They cover a range of subject areas that have a continuing student sale and make great supplementary reading more accessible. A comprehensive, authoritative and constructive guide to teaching algebra.


Book cover of Introduction to Linear Algebra

Ivan Savov Author Of No Bullshit Guide to Linear Algebra

From my list on textbooks for learning linear algebra.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been teaching math and physics for more than 20 years as a private tutor. During this time, I experimented with different ways to explain concepts to make them easy to understand. I'm a big fan of using concept maps to show the connections between concepts and teaching topics in an integrated manner, including prerequisites and applications. While researching the material for my book, I read dozens of linear algebra textbooks and watched hundreds of videos, looking for the best ways to explain complicated concepts intuitively. I've tried to distill the essential ideas of linear algebra in my book and prepared this list to highlight the books I learned from.

Ivan's book list on textbooks for learning linear algebra

Ivan Savov Why did Ivan love this book?

Prof. Strang has been teaching linear algebra at MIT for more than 60 years! This wealth of experience shines through in his book, which covers all the standard concepts using clear and concise explanations that have been polished through time and contain just the right amount of details.

The book is accompanied by a whole course of video lectures available through MIT OpenCourseWare or via YouTube. I learned a lot from Prof. Strang's approach to teaching; in particular, I appreciate the visualization of the fundamental theorem of linear algebra and his explanation of the matrix-vector product from the column picture and the row picture.

If you want to learn linear algebra, you can't go wrong with this classic.

By Gilbert Strang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Introduction to Linear Algebra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linear algebra is something all mathematics undergraduates and many other students, in subjects ranging from engineering to economics, have to learn. The fifth edition of this hugely successful textbook retains all the qualities of earlier editions, while at the same time seeing numerous minor improvements and major additions. The latter include: • A new chapter on singular values and singular vectors, including ways to analyze a matrix of data • A revised chapter on computing in linear algebra, with professional-level algorithms and code that can be downloaded for a variety of languages • A new section on linear algebra and…


Book cover of The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity

Philip Nelson Author Of Biological Physics Student Edition: Energy, Information, Life

From my list on have your own science or math ideas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have taught undergraduate and PhD students physics and biophysics for 36 years, and I never get tired of it. I always look for hot new topics and everyday things that we all see but rarely notice as interesting. I also look for “how could anything like that possibly happen at all?”-type questions and the eureka moment when some idea from physics or math pries off the lid, making a seemingly insoluble problem easy. Finally, I look for the skills and frameworks that will open the most doors to students in their future work.

Philip's book list on have your own science or math ideas

Philip Nelson Why did Philip love this book?

Math is so much more than algebra.

Steve Strogatz is our generation’s poet laureate of math. I could not put this book down because, although I use math daily, I was amazed at how Strogatz connects everything to everyday experience. Just one example: Hardly anyone gets told about “group theory” in high school because it’s “too advanced”—but here we find it beautifully illustrated with the problem of flipping your mattress twice a year.

This book will help you have your own ideas by opening your eyes to a world of things that just make better sense through the lens of careful analysis, the interplay of the visual and the symbolic, and (just enough) abstraction.

By Steven Strogatz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Joy of X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning Steven Strogatz, one of the foremost popularisers of maths, has written a witty and fascinating account of maths' most compelling ideas and how, so often, they are an integral part of everyday life.

Maths is everywhere, often where we don't even realise. Award-winning professor Steven Strogatz acts as our guide as he takes us on a tour of numbers that - unbeknownst to the unitiated - connect pop culture, literature, art, philosophy, current affairs, business and even every day life. In The Joy of X, Strogatz explains the great ideas of maths - from negative numbers to calculus, fat…


Book cover of The History of Mathematics: A Reader

Mark Ronan Author Of Symmetry and the Monster: One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics

From my list on books that make maths interesting.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a full professor of mathematics for over 30 years, I have been engaged in research and teaching. Research can be difficult to describe to non-experts, but some important advances in mathematics can be explained to an interested public without the need for specialist knowledge, as I have done. 

Mark's book list on books that make maths interesting

Mark Ronan Why did Mark love this book?

This book presents excerpts from original contributions to mathematics by scholars of the past. It includes principal developments from Neolithic times, from Mesopotamia, and from the ancient Greeks, right up to the modern world.

The extensive and well-chosen quotations make this a unique book. I found the excerpts from original sources rendered it a mine of valuable information for me or anyone else interested in the long history of mathematics.

By John Fauvel (editor), Jeremy Gray (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mathematics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1922 Barnes Wallis, who later invented the bouncing bomb immortalized in the movie The Dam Busters, fell in love for the first and last time, aged 35. The object of his affection, Molly Bloxam, was 17 and setting off to study science at University College London. Her father decreed that the two could correspond only if Barnes taught Molly mathematics in his letters.

Mathematics with Love presents, for the first time, the result of this curious dictat: a series of witty, tender and totally accessible introductions to calculus, trigonometry and electrostatic induction that remarkably, wooed and won the girl.…


Book cover of Man Must Measure: The Wonderful World of Mathematics

T.W. Körner Author Of The Pleasures of Counting

From my list on mathematical life.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you want to know what conducting an orchestra is like, you ask a conductor. If you want to know what being a mathematician is like, you ask a mathematician. I have been studying, researching, and teaching mathematics (mainly at Cambridge but also in France and elsewhere) for a lifetime and loved (almost) every moment of it. In the words of Constance Reid, `Mathematicians are people who devote their lives to what seems to me a wonderful kind of play.'

T.W.'s book list on mathematical life

T.W. Körner Why did T.W. love this book?

This book is out of print, but I include it in the hope that some public-spirited publisher may be persuaded to reissue this large-format picture book. It was the first book on mathematics that I read at about the age of ten and it contained precisely what I needed to show me that this was a subject with a history and a use. (Nor am I the only mathematician to have this experience.)

As an adult, I found the same author’s Mathematics for the Million a bit crass and utilitarian but I pardon him everything for a wonderful first experience.

By Lancelot Hogben, Andre (illustrator), Charles Keeping (illustrator) , Kenneth Symonds (illustrator) , Marjorie Saynor (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Man Must Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


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