100 books like Alan Turing

By Andrew Hodges,

Here are 100 books that Alan Turing fans have personally recommended if you like Alan Turing. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler

David C. Dawson Author Of A Death in Berlin

From my list on historical gay heroes.

Who am I?

I’ve read a lot of books that feature gay characters. These characters often partition into two main groups: angsty men who are victims of oppression or illness, or camp stereotypes who provide the light relief. I prefer to read about heroes who happen to be gay. That’s why I started writing novels. My recent books are historical novels inspired by real gay heroes. The feedback I get from readers indicates that there are a lot of people who want the same as I do.

David's book list on historical gay heroes

David C. Dawson Why did David love this book?

The untold true story of how a group of gay MPs lobbied the British government to stop its policy of appeasing Hitler in the run up to WWII. It’s a book about patriotic heroes who are criminals in their own land because of their sexuality. It moved me deeply and inspired my own fictional thriller set in Berlin in 1933.

By Chris Bryant,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Glamour Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A STORY OF UNSUNG BRAVERY AT A DEFINING MOMENT IN BRITAIN'S HISTORY

'Superb' Stephen Fry
'Thrillingly told' Dan Jones
'Fascinating' Neil MacGregor
'Astonishing' Peter Frankopan

We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one chapter that has never been told. In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of the Second World War.

Having witnessed the Nazis' brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler, repeatedly…


Book cover of The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

The Enigma story and Bletchley Park are now legitimate subjects for academic study, but modern books are necessarily written by people without first-hand experience of wartime Intelligence work. As a publisher, I have always been keen to record the experiences of those people personally involved in such things, and Welchman was not just a leading codebreaker at Bletchley Park throughout the whole war, he was also instrumental in transforming a random collection of a hundred academics into a non-stop production line of codebreaking and Intelligence, employing over ten thousand people. This, our best-selling book, continues to intrigue readers worldwide.

By Gordon Welchman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Welchman, Gordon


Book cover of The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

This anthology is a valuable complement to my first book, with a couple of dozen contributors: a mixture of some who worked at Bletchley Park during the war, and some who are professional historians. The passage of time has encouraged archival research, and allowed historical analysis, producing an authoritative account of Bletchley’s achievements, particularly the breaking of millions of Enigma-enciphered messages.

By Ralph Erskine, Michael Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The British codebreakers at Bletchley Park are now believed to have shortened the duration of the Second World War by up to two years. During the dark days of 1941, as Britain stood almost alone against the the Nazis, this remarkable achievement seemed impossible. This extraordinary book, originally published as Action This Day, includes descriptions by some of Britain's foremost historians of the work of Bletchley Park, from the breaking ofEnigma and other wartime codes to the invention of modern computing, and its influence on Cold War codebreaking. Crucially, it features personal reminiscences and very human stories of wartime codebreaking…


Book cover of X Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

The brilliance of the Bletchley Park codebreakers is undoubted, but it must be remembered that they did not start from scratch; they built on the work of the cryptanalysts of the Polish Cipher Bureau, who had first broken Enigma ciphers in 1932, and then passed on all their knowledge to Britain in 1939, before the war began. The tentative and suspicious negotiations between Poland, France and the UK were convoluted and lengthy. Alan Turing’s nephew conducted ground-breaking research in archives in the UK, France, Germany, Poland and the USA to compile this unrivalled account of those early days.

By Dermot Turing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked X Y & Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

December, 1932
In the bathroom of a Belgian hotel, a French spymaster photographs top-secret documents - the operating instructions of the cipher machine, Enigma. A few weeks later a mathematician in Warsaw begins to decipher the coded communications of the Third Reich and lays the foundations for the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park. The co-operation between France, Britain and Poland is given the cover-name 'X, Y & Z'.
December, 1942
It is the middle of World War Two. The Polish code-breakers have risked their lives to continue their work inside Vichy France, even as an uncertain future faces their homeland.…


Book cover of Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra, and the End of Secure Ciphers

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

At my presentations, I am so often asked ‘Didn’t the Germans know the Allies had broken Enigma?’ and ‘Did Germany have something like Bletchley Park?’ This book answers questions like these, and shows, in particular, the unjustified faith the Germans had in the Enigma machine. Believing its ciphers to be unbreakable, they failed to spot evidence of its weaknesses and vulnerability.

By R.A. Ratcliff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delusions of Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1974, the British government admitted that its WWII secret intelligence organization had read Germany's ciphers on a massive scale. The intelligence from these decrypts influenced the Atlantic, the Eastern Front and Normandy. Why did the Germans never realize the Allies had so thoroughly penetrated their communications? As German intelligence experts conducted numerous internal investigations that all certified their ciphers' security, the Allies continued to break more ciphers and plugged their own communication leaks. How were the Allies able to so thoroughly exploit Germany's secret messages? How did they keep their tremendous success a secret? What flaws in Germany's organization…


Book cover of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Who am I?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

The figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein has always been quite enigmatic for me.

The enormous contradictions of his life and the intensity of it are difficult to understand in the abstract. Ray Monk's biography contextualizes the life and work of the Austrian philosopher who set out to solve all the problems of philosophy.

Monk's biography stands as a testament to Wittgenstein's enduring influence on our understanding of language, thought, and reality. 

By Ray Monk,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ludwig Wittgenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Great philosophical biographies can be counted on one hand. Monk's life of Wittgenstein is such a one." The Christian Science Monitor.


Book cover of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Ron Ashkenas Author Of Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done

From my list on simplifying your organization.

Who am I?

As an organizational consultant, and a business writer, I’ve always been fascinated by Mark Twain’s comment that he would've written a shorter letter if he had more time. It’s a wonderful reminder that simplicity and clarity require hard work and won’t happen by itself. As part of the consulting team that worked with Jack Welch to transform GE in the 1990s, I saw firsthand that leaders actually have the power to simplify their organizations, and that it can make a huge difference. What they need is a playbook for how to do this, and that was my intention when I wrote Simply Effective. Since then I’ve seen “simplicity” become a driving force for business success. 

Ron's book list on simplifying your organization

Ron Ashkenas Why did Ron love this book?

I first read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions when I was in college many (many) years ago, and it fundamentally changed the way I think about organizational change and innovation. 

Written by a physicist, the book is about the philosophy and history of science and how we make advances in knowledge. Kuhn argues, and provides plenty of examples, of how science isn’t just the slow accumulation of data, but is actually influenced by “paradigms” that help us make sense of the data. Every so often however data emerges that doesn’t fit the paradigm. 

At first this kind of anomalous data is disregarded or its integrity is questioned. Eventually, after much struggle, the data that “doesn’t fit” becomes the starting point for a new and revolutionary paradigm which changes how we see the world.

OK, this sounds pretty theoretical. But think about organizations and simplicity. Many of our standard organizational practices…

By Thomas S. Kuhn,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. And fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Kuhn challenged long-standing…


Book cover of The Song of Achilles

Terry Bartley Author Of Tyranny of the Fey

From my list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything involving superheroes or D&D-style adventure. For the longest time, I had to find queer representation through subtle glances and creative readings of characters. I loved these stories for the sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it was frustrating that every love story that came up was straight. It didn’t feel possible for queer love to be a part of a plot, and even when there was a queer character it had a “very special episode” vibe to it. Finally, queer characters are becoming part of the story, and it doesn’t have to be a “big deal.”

Terry's book list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy

Terry Bartley Why did Terry love this book?

The Song of Achilles is such as beautifully written book that perfectly weaves together a queer love story with a proper Greek epic.

It was so fulfilling to follow Patroclus and Achilles as they grew up. The attraction grows subtly and feels very natural. The fantasy elements feel very matter-of-fact and never take away from the incredibly relatable character moments.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked The Song of Achilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**OVER 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD**
**A 10th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION, FEATURING A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR**

WINNER OF THE ORANGE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION
A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Captivating' DONNA TARTT
'I loved it' J K ROWLING
'Ravishingly vivid' EMMA DONOGHUE

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms…


Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Who am I?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

I have seldom read a book with as much zeal as The Code Breaker, written by the famous biographer and historian, Walter Isaacson, whom I’d met on the CRISPR conference circuit.

Isaacson focuses on Doudna’s life and science, but also introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including Doudna’s former colleague and fellow Nobelist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. He even has a crack at running a CRISPR experiment himself.

The success of this book has likely done more than anything to educate the public on the transformative promise of CRISPR.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…


Book cover of Labyrinths

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Who am I?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Maybe the weirdest and most beautiful collection of stories in my house full of books.

In “The Circular Ruins,” a man dreams up another man, only to realize that he, too, is a dream. “The Library of Babel” imagines a world containing every possible book, most of which are nonsense but some of which, if only you could find them, contain the most profound truths ever written. “Funes the Memorious” imagines a boy paralyzed by a perfect memory, one that retains every single detail of every event ever experienced.

Every sentence of these stories is bizarre and fascinating, with a richness that leaves me understanding them differently with every re-read.

By Jorge Luis Borges,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Labyrinths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking trans-genre work of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) has been insinuating itself into the structure, stance, and very breath of world literature for well over half a century. Multi-layered, self-referential, elusive, and allusive writing is now frequently labeled Borgesian. Umberto Eco's international bestseller, The Name of the Rose, is, on one level, an elaborate improvisation on Borges' fiction "The Library," which American readers first encountered in the original 1962 New Directions publication of Labyrinths.

This new edition of Labyrinths, the classic representative selection of Borges' writing edited by Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby (in translations…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mathematicians, Alan Turing, and Bletchley Park?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mathematicians, Alan Turing, and Bletchley Park.

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