100 books like Graph Theory in America

By Robin J. Wilson, John J. Watkins, David J. Parks

Here are 100 books that Graph Theory in America fans have personally recommended if you like Graph Theory in America. 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 The Magic of Math: Solving for X and Figuring Out Why

Gary Chartrand Author Of Mathematical Proofs: A Transition to Advanced Mathematics

From my list on if you want to be a mathematician.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have enjoyed mathematics and writing since I’ve been a kid, not only enjoying doing research in mathematics but assisting others to appreciate and enjoy mathematics. Along the way, I’ve gained an interest in the history of mathematics and the mathematicians who created mathematics. Perhaps most important, my primary goal has been to show others how enjoyable mathematics can be. Mathematics has given me the marvelous opportunity to meet and work with other mathematicians who have a similar passion for mathematics.

Gary's book list on if you want to be a mathematician

Gary Chartrand Why did Gary love this book?

Have you ever been to a mathematics lecture where the speaker wore a tuxedo and baffled the audience with his mystifying knowledge of numbers? Well, I have and the speaker was Arthur Benjamin, who combined mathematics and magic. He even displayed this knowledge with Stephen Colbert on his earlier show The Colbert Report. It is our good fortune that he describes much of this mathematical wizardry in this fascinating book. 

By Arthur Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller Arthur Benjamin . . . joyfully shows you how to make nature's numbers dance." ,Bill Nye The Magic of Math is the math book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examples,from ice-cream scoops and poker hands to measuring mountains and making magic squares,this book revels in key mathematical fields including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and calculus, plus Fibonacci numbers, infinity, and, of course, mathematical magic tricks. Known throughout the world as the mathemagician," Arthur Benjamin mixes mathematics and magic to make the subject fun, attractive, and easy to understand for math…


Book cover of I Want to Be a Mathematician: An Automathography in Three Parts (Maa Spectrum Series)

Gary Chartrand Author Of Mathematical Proofs: A Transition to Advanced Mathematics

From my list on if you want to be a mathematician.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have enjoyed mathematics and writing since I’ve been a kid, not only enjoying doing research in mathematics but assisting others to appreciate and enjoy mathematics. Along the way, I’ve gained an interest in the history of mathematics and the mathematicians who created mathematics. Perhaps most important, my primary goal has been to show others how enjoyable mathematics can be. Mathematics has given me the marvelous opportunity to meet and work with other mathematicians who have a similar passion for mathematics.

Gary's book list on if you want to be a mathematician

Gary Chartrand Why did Gary love this book?

Told by one of the most famous orators and expositors of mathematics, Paul Halmos tells us what it’s like being a mathematician – at least what it was like for him being a mathematician. While I was fortunate to have had a conversation with such a unique person (about writing mathematics), it is even more fortunate that he has done many of us a favor by writing this book.

By Paul R. Halmos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Want to Be a Mathematician as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I Want To Be A Mathematician" is an account of the author's life as a mathematician. It tells us what it is like to be a mathematician and to do mathematics. It will be read with interest and enjoyment by those in mathematics and by those who might want to know what mathematicians and mathematical careers are like. Paul Halmos is well-known for his research in ergodic theory, and measure theory. He is one of the most widely read mathematical expositors in the world.


Book cover of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth

Gilbert Strang Author Of Introduction to Linear Algebra

From my list on mathematicians and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

A key event in my mathematical life was videotaping my linear algebra class (the MATH 18.06 course at MIT). This was the right moment when MIT created OpenCourseWare to describe all courses freely to the world—with some big classes on video. Linear algebra has had 12 million viewers and many of them write to me. So many people like to learn about mathematics and read about mathematicians—it is a great pleasure to help. I hope you will enjoy the OpenCourseWare videos (on YouTube too), the books about mathematical lives, and the Introduction to Linear Algebra that many students learn from. This is real mathematics.

Gilbert's book list on mathematicians and their lives

Gilbert Strang Why did Gilbert love this book?

I well remember when Erdos came to MIT to visit my wonderful friend Gian-Carlo Rota. He traveled without money and without a place to stay. He depended entirely on friends. What he offered in return was something of much greater value: his ideas. A mathematician searches everywhere for the right problems to work on – not easy, not random, but opening a door from what we know to what we don't know. Erdos gave that ideal gift to his friends. If you wrote a paper with him, your Erdos number is 1.  

By Paul Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Man Who Loved Only Numbers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The biography of a mathematical genius. Paul Erdos was the most prolific pure mathematician in history and, arguably, the strangest too.

'A mathematical genius of the first order, Paul Erdos was totally obsessed with his subject - he thought and wrote mathematics for nineteen hours a day until he died. He travelled constantly, living out of a plastic bag and had no interest in food, sex, companionship, art - all that is usually indispensible to a human life. Paul Hoffman, in this marvellous biography, gives us a vivid and strangely moving portrait of this singular creature, one that brings out…


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 Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

John MacCormick Author Of Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers

From my list on algorithms for people who don’t know algorithms.

Why am I passionate about this?

Once upon a time, I was a computer science researcher, working in the research labs of companies like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Later I started teaching computer science to college students and writing books about algorithms. I love computers and I love algorithms. Most of all, I love explaining algorithms to other people. In fact, one of my most important missions in life is to advance the public understanding of computer science and algorithms. So if you read any of the books on my list, you’ll bring me one step closer to achieving my mission. Go ahead, read one now!

John's book list on algorithms for people who don’t know algorithms

John MacCormick Why did John love this book?

A graphic novel about Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and their quixotic Victorian escapades designing computers and algorithms nearly a century before their time? As fascinating as that may already sound, it’s only the beginning. This is the only graphic novel I’ve read that has footnotes to the footnotes—immensely amusing footnotes. While reading this book, I feel constantly in the presence of insane genius. (But please read this book on physical paper. It is a work of art.)

By Sydney Padua,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the British Book Design and Production Award for Graphic Novels
Winner of the Neumann Prize in the History of Mathematics

In The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage Sydney Padua transforms one of the most compelling scientific collaborations into a hilarious set of adventures

Meet two of Victorian London's greatest geniuses... Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron: mathematician, gambler, and proto-programmer, whose writings contained the first ever appearance of general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. And Charles Babbage, eccentric inventor of the Difference Engine, an enormous clockwork calculating machine that would have…


Book cover of Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard of

Mara Rockliff Author Of Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat

From my list on biographies of Jewish women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s author best known for digging up fascinating, often funny stories about famous people—and forgotten people who deserve to be famous again. After a trip to Israel with the PJ Library program, which sends free books each month to hundreds of thousands of Jewish children and their families, I was spurred to find out more about the many brilliant, bold, creative, persistent, and too often unsung Jewish women who have made a difference in our world.

Mara's book list on biographies of Jewish women

Mara Rockliff Why did Mara love this book?

This might be the most important picture book biography I’d never heard of. Why do all of us know Albert Einstein but not Emmy Noether, who sewed up a hole in his theory of relativity and went on to a discovery that transformed physics? Three guesses why. Like every account of the many brilliant women of STEM who were barred from classrooms, denied degrees, refused fair pay, and robbed of credit for accomplishments, Emmy’s story is often enraging. Add a narrow escape from the Nazis followed by a tragically early death, and you might not expect a fun read. But Becker and Rust manage to inject plenty of kid-friendly humor, and the scientific explanations were so clear and colorful that even I could (almost) understand. 

By Helaine Becker, Kari Rust (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Emmy Noether as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

In this engaging and inspiring biography, a groundbreaking but relatively unknown woman finally gets her due as one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century.

Emmy Noether is not pretty, quiet, good at housework or eager to marry --- all the things a German girl is expected to be in her time. What she is, though, is a genius at math. When she grows up, she finds a way to first study math at a university (by sitting in, not actually enrolling) and then to teach it (by doing so for free). She also manages to do her…


Book cover of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture

Manil Suri Author Of The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math

From my list on to make you fall in love with mathematics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mathematics professor who ended up writing the internationally bestselling novel The Death of Vishnu (along with two follow-ups) and became better known as an author. For the past decade and a half, I’ve been using my storytelling skills to make mathematics more accessible (and enjoyable!) to a broad audience. Being a novelist has helped me look at mathematics in a new light, and realize the subject is not so much about the calculations feared by so many, but rather, about ideas. We can all enjoy such ideas, and thereby learn to understand, appreciate, and even love math. 

Manil's book list on to make you fall in love with mathematics

Manil Suri Why did Manil love this book?

For me, this book got the closest to the nitty-gritty of why mathematicians like me, whose job is to prove theorems, find this activity so compelling.

It’s always been the long hunt, with all the frustration as well as the occasional success, that I’ve found so addictive. Doxiadis brought out the nuances of such pursuits brilliantly – the wily Uncle Petros tells the narrator to prove a mathematical statement despite knowing it is almost surely false.

Ah, these little tricks that we mathematicians enjoy playing on unsuspecting souls (I’ve been known to do this to my students a couple of times).

By Apostolos Doxiadis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uncle Petros is a family joke. An ageing recluse, he lives alone in a suburb of Athens, playing chess and tending to his garden. If you didn't know better, you'd surely think he was one of life's failures. But his young nephew suspects otherwise. For Uncle Petros, he discovers, was once a celebrated mathematician, brilliant and foolhardy enough to stake everything on solving a problem that had defied all attempts at proof for nearly three centuries - Goldbach's Conjecture.

His quest brings him into contact with some of the century's greatest mathematicians, including the Indian prodigy Ramanujan and the young…


Book cover of Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From my list on mathematics and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have devoted my entire career to mathematics, and have a life filled with meaning and purpose through my roles as an educator, researcher, and consultant. I teach at the Vancouver campus of Northeastern University and am the owner and principal of Hoshino Math Services, a boutique math consulting firm. 

Richard's book list on mathematics and life

Richard Hoshino Why did Richard love this book?

John Urschel is an African-American mathematician specializing in graph theory, who recently completed his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT. But he is better known for his football career, as a starting offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Six of Urschel’s papers were completed while he was still in the National Football League.

Mind and Matter is John Urschel’s memoir, co-authored with his wife Louisa Thomas. Each chapter alternates between football and mathematics, and how his success on the field translated to success in the classroom, and vice-versa. I loved how accessible the book is, for readers of all ages, and I fully agree with the author’s perspective that mathematics gives us a way of making sense of the world, and helping us see past the confusion of everyday life.

By John Urschel, Louisa Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

John Urschel, mathematician and former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, tells the story of a life balanced between two passions

For John Urschel, what began as an insatiable appetite for puzzles as a child developed into mastery of the elegant systems and rules of mathematics. By the time he was thirteen, Urschel was auditing a college-level calculus course. But when he joined his high school football team, a new interest began to eclipse the thrill he felt in the classroom. Football challenged Urschel in an entirely different way, and he became addicted to the…


Book cover of The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

Max Griffin Author Of Timekeepers

From my list on writing fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

A dozen years ago, I decided to publish short stories. I figured it’d be easy. After all, I’d published textbooks and countless research papers. It turned out I was wrong. Writing fiction is hard. My stories read like my math publications, but without the math. Then I had the good fortune to join a writing group that included experienced, published authors. Their guidance taught me the basics of the craft. I supplemented their mentorship by reading books on writing. It was like going to graduate school all over again. This list of books is the distillation of those dozen years of learning. I’m still learning. I expect I’ll never quit.

Max's book list on writing fiction

Max Griffin Why did Max love this book?

I’m a mathematician. Mathematicians start with basic ideas—axioms and definitions—and use logic to deduce magical things called theorems. When I decided I wanted to write fiction, I looked for books on writing. I found lots of good books, but they left my mathematical brain unsatisfied. Then I found Gardner’s book. Gardner’s genius is that he provides a theory of fiction, a framework for understanding what makes writing come alive. Reading Gardner, I saw at once the difference between, say, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King. They’re both geniuses, to be sure, but King’s writing draws you into his fictional worlds in ways Poe’s never does. The underlying theory, the fictional dream, makes all the difference. The fictional dream is the secret to compelling writing.

By John Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This classic guide, from the renowned novelist and professor, has helped transform generations of aspiring writers into masterful writers—and will continue to do so for many years to come.  
 
John Gardner was almost as famous as a teacher of creative writing as he was for his own works. In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, he explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing. Gardner’s lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics—from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of…


Book cover of Makers of Mathematics

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?

One way of enlivening any presentation of mathematics is by including some history of the subject, but this only really works if there is some serious scholarship behind it. I especially like Hollingdale's book, partly because of the concise writing style, and partly because of the unusually good balance between history and mathematics itself. The calculus, in all its various forms, with some aspects going right back to the Ancient Greeks, is treated especially well.

By Stuart Hollingdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fascinating and highly readable, this book recounts the history of mathematics as revealed in the lives and writings of the most distinguished practitioners of the art: Archimedes, Descartes, Fermat, Pascal, Newton, Leibniz, Euler, Gauss, Hamilton, Einstein, and many more. Author Stuart Hollingdale introduces and explains the roles of these gifted and often colorful figures in the development of mathematics as well as the ways in which their work relates to mathematics as a whole.
Although the emphasis in this absorbing survey is primarily biographical, Hollingdale also discusses major historical themes and explains new ideas and techniques. No specialized mathematical knowledge…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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