10 books like Gödel, Escher, Bach

By Douglas R. Hofstadter,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Gödel, Escher, Bach. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Cosmos

By Carl Sagan,

Book cover of Cosmos

I read Cosmos when I was young and it inspired the love of science I still carry today. I found Sagan’s musings about the pale blue dot mesmerizing, and the science was thrilling. I ended up going to Space Camp when I was 14 and Governor’s School for Physics when I was 16 to further my scientific knowledge. When I wrote A Paradox of Fates, I used some of the science I learned in Governor’s School to explain time travel, which has always been a fascinating subject to me.

Cosmos

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* Spacecraft missions to nearby planets
* The Library of ancient Alexandria
* The human brain
* Egyptian hieroglyphics
* The origin of life
* The death of the sun
* The evolution of galaxies
* The origins of matter, suns and worlds

The story of fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution transforming matter and life into consciousness, of how science and civilisation grew up together, and of the forces and individuals who helped shape modern science. A story told with Carl Sagan's remarkable ability to make scientific ideas both comprehensible and exciting.


Einstein's Dreams

By Alan Lightman,

Book cover of Einstein's Dreams

An enthralling, fictional description of a young scientist (Einstein) and his dreams/thoughts about space, time, relativity, and the nature of reality. The book fictionalizes Einstein’s dreams in 1905, his “Annus Mirabilis” (“Miracle Year”), in which he wrote four fundamental papers, including one on his theory of Special Relativity. While this is a work of fiction, the physics concepts are beautifully explained.

Einstein's Dreams

By Alan Lightman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Einstein's Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is ten minutes past six by the invisible clock on the wall. The young patents clerk sprawls in his chair, dreaming about time. He is Albert Einstein, and in his dreams he imagines new worlds, in which time can be circular, or flow backwards, or slow down at higher altitudes.


Men of Mathematics

By E.T. Bell,

Book cover of Men of Mathematics

First published in 1937, this lovely book is a true classic. In two volumes Bell brings to life 30 or so mathematicians, from Archimedes to Cantor. When first reading the book many years ago I had remembered some of the names from school and college, but only as labels to theorems or equations, and I felt taken into a delightful new realm of knowledge – I could now think of Fermat, Lagrange, Gauss, and Riemann as people. And I began to want to know more about the scientists whose names I had heard in school and college. Bell’s book had sparked a lifelong interest.

Men of Mathematics

By E.T. Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

Whatever those deep questions are that you have, somebody’s already thought about them, and this masterwork of a book will show you that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re thinking and feeling the same way women and men did a couple thousand years ago – and some very wise individuals have thought through what you’re thinking through. This book will change your life and your mind. You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. Read three pages (no more) a day, every day. Plan on sticking with this for more than a year, then do so. Use a highlighter for a bookmark. It changed me. It’ll change you, too.

A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A History of Western Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its scholarship, that has made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time.


Influence

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Book cover of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Cialdini shines the light on evidence-based persuasion principles on their application by real-world influencers—many of which he observed when going undercover. Once we understand the power of reciprocation, of commitment, of social proof, of liking, of authority, and of scarcity, we will better understand both how to ethically apply these persuasive powers, and how to resist those who would use them to manipulate us. Cialdini’s gift for engrossing storytelling further explains what has made this book a multi-million copy best-seller.

Influence

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…


How Not to Be Wrong

By Jordan Ellenberg,

Book cover of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

This book is not about computing, but it is relevant in an indirect way. I love this book, since it is written in such an engaging style and illustrates with many examples that math is not a dry subject to be practiced only by mathematicians but helps everyone to solve real-world problems. The book shows how important it is to be precise in describing problems and that applying a little mathematical rigor goes a long way in solving them. Ellenberg describes mathematics as the “extension of common sense by other means.” In a similar way, I view computer science as the extension of problem-solving methods (aka “algorithms”) by other means. 

How Not to Be Wrong

By Jordan Ellenberg,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How Not to Be Wrong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Witty, compelling, and just plain fun to read . . ." -Evelyn Lamb, Scientific American

The Freakonomics of math-a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn't confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do-the whole world is shot through…


Machines Like Me

By Ian McEwan,

Book cover of Machines Like Me

Adam is a limited edition robot who can pass for human (something I can’t do on a bad day). It takes a while for Adam to learn to be part of that world, but as time passes, he moves from being the slave of his owner Charlie to being better than him in every way (just ask his girlfriend!). I kept thinking of what would it be like to have a better version of me hanging around the house. It took slaves a long time to be recognized as people, how long for the robots?

Machines Like Me

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Machines Like Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Booker Prize winner and bestselling author of Atonement—”a sharply intelligent novel of ideas” (The New York Times) that asks whether a machine can understand the human heart, or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.

Set in an uncanny alternative 1982 London—where Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power, and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence—Machines Like Me powerfully portrays two lovers who will be tested beyond their understanding. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a…


Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Klara is not human she is an Artificial Friend. She possesses outstanding observational qualities, which she uses to learn the behavior of those who come to buy her. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon purchase her and take her home with them. However, when she is sold, she really begins to understand her new masters. This book is a thrilling look at our changing world and explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?

Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Klara and the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…


The Center Cannot Hold

By Elyn R. Saks,

Book cover of The Center Cannot Hold

Books on mental illness usually describe it either from the outside or the inside. Elyn Saks does both, integrating a subjective, first-person view with an objective, scholarly perspective. Saks is a legal scholar and psychoanalyst who has struggled with schizophrenia since her childhood. She combines vivid descriptions of what it feels like to be psychotic with clear-eyed discussions of the scientific, medical, and legal issues raised by schizophrenia. I haven’t read a better book on mental illness.

The Center Cannot Hold

By Elyn R. Saks,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Center Cannot Hold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elyn Saks is Professor of Law and Psychiatry at University of Southern California Law School. She's the author of several books. Happily married. And - a schizophrenic. Saks lifts the veil on schizophrenia with her startling and honest account of how she learned to live with this debilitating disease. With a coolly clear, measured tone she talks about her condition, the stigma attached and the deadening effects of medication. Her controlled narrative is disrupted by interjections from the part of her mind she has learned to suppress. Delusions, hallucinations and threatening voices cut into her reality and Saks, in a…


Thinking in Bets

By Annie Duke,

Book cover of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

I never realized it, but purchasing a house is a bet. Sales negotiations and contracts are bets. Job and relocation decisions are bets. This fascinating book claims that even ordering the chicken and not steak is a bet. Yes, everything is a bet. Thinking in Bets helps us re-examine our view of the world, and enhance all facets of decision-making in our lives.

The author says that we are overly biased in our decision-making. We con ourselves into accepting our beliefs, whether or not they're even worthy of our trust. Worse, our biases invariably hamper our decision-making. And gosh, we're so quick to develop beliefs, we gravitate towards absolutes ('this is wrong, that is right'), and fall prey to “motivated reasoning,” searching for confirmation while all but ignoring contradictory evidence.

I didn't know that believing is so easy – we are hardwired to believe. Our beliefs then impact how we…

Thinking in Bets

By Annie Duke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Thinking in Bets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller, now in paperback. Poker champion turned decision strategist Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions.

Even the best decision doesn't yield the best outcome every time. There's always an element of luck that you can't control, and there's always information hidden from view. So the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets: How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Did I land in the unlucky 10%…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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