100 books like The Art of Logic in an Illogical World

By Eugenia Cheng,

Here are 100 books that The Art of Logic in an Illogical World fans have personally recommended if you like The Art of Logic in an Illogical World. 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 How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Martin Erwig Author Of Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing

From my list on computer science without coding.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of computer science at Oregon State University. My research focus is on programming languages, but I also work on computer science education and outreach. I grew up in Germany and moved to the United States in 2000. Since computer science is a fairly new and not widely understood discipline, I am interested in explaining its core ideas to the general public. I believe that in order to attract a more diverse set of people to the field we should emphasize that coding is only a small part of computer science.

Martin's book list on computer science without coding

Martin Erwig Why did Martin love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Author Of Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain

From my list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna.

Who am I?

I first learned about life in 1930s Vienna from my grandfather’s memoir: Reminiscences of the Vienna Circle and the Mathematical Colloquium. I was fascinated by the time and place and began to read more about the era, which ultimately served as a setting for my forthcoming novel, The Expert of Subtle Revisions.

Kirsten's book list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Why did Kirsten love this book?

In the mood for a graphic novel starring Bertrand Russell and a supporting cast of famous thinkers like Whitehead, Frege, Gödel, and Wittgenstein? Logicomix is for you!

Flip to Chapter Six, “Incompleteness,” for a peek of Vienna in the 1930s. The logic and philosophy illustrated throughout provide a great context for the work of Vienna’s famous philosophical circle led by Moritz Schlick, whose 1936 murder provides a chilling contrast to the intellectual pursuits of that time.

By Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This brilliantly illustrated tale of reason, insanity, love and truth recounts the story of Bertrand Russell's life. Raised by his paternal grandparents, young Russell was never told the whereabouts of his parents. Driven by a desire for knowledge of his own history, he attempted to force the world to yield to his yearnings: for truth, clarity and resolve. As he grew older, and increasingly sophisticated as a philosopher and mathematician, Russell strove to create an objective language with which to describe the world - one free of the biases and slippages of the written word. At the same time, he…


Book cover of Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality

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

From my list on books that make maths interesting.

Who am I?

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?

Frenkel came from the Soviet Union, where discrimination against Jews made it impossible for him to get into Moscow State University. During the oral exam they sent two graduate students to question him, pick holes in his responses, and ensure he failed. He turned to an informal network of Soviet mathematicians for help.

Like him, they were denied serious employment in the field, but after the 'cold war' against the Soviet Union, Harvard invited him to take a fellowship that later turned into a permanent job. Years later, when his old tormentor from Moscow State arrives to give a talk, he confronts the man in a lecture room with first-hand evidence of allegations against the system. Faced with a victim, the Russian mathematician's denials rang hollow. 

This book reaches beyond mathematics to anyone of independent thought in an environment where it is not permitted to step out of line or,…

By Edward Frenkel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Love and Math as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Science BestsellerWhat if you had to take an art class in which you were only taught how to paint a fence? What if you were never shown the paintings of van Gogh and Picasso, weren't even told they existed? Alas, this is how math is taught, and so for most of us it becomes the intellectual equivalent of watching paint dry.In Love and Math , renowned mathematician Edward Frenkel reveals a side of math we've never seen, suffused with all the beauty and elegance of a work of art. In this heartfelt and passionate book, Frenkel…


Book cover of Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe

Amir Alexander Author Of Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World

From my list on the power and wonder of mathematics.

Who am I?

I have written four books (so far) about the surprising ways mathematics pervades human culture, religion, and even politics. The five books I recommend here, each in its own way, shows how mathematics is very much a part of our lives, even if we don’t always notice it. Thanks to books like these, you do not have to be a mathematician to appreciate how this seemingly abstract field shapes our very human world.

Amir's book list on the power and wonder of mathematics

Amir Alexander Why did Amir love this book?

That Steven Strogatz, Cornell Professor and longtime New York Times columnist, is unsurpassed as an expositor of mathematics, goes without saying. No one can make the abstract and technical appear simple and intuitive like Strogatz. In Infinite Powers he takes on the Calculus -- the central pillar of modern mathematics that is also the bane of many a high-school student. It is an immensely powerful field, and at its core is a concept that is both counter-intuitive and paradoxical: the infinite.

The roots of the calculus, we learn, go back to the ancient Greeks, whose notions of the infinite were put to powerful mathematical use by Archimedes. Strogatz continues with Galielo’s dynamics and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, before reaching the turning point: The discovery of the Calculus by Newton and Leibniz. This leads straight to a discussion of differential equations, which are responsible for so much of what makes…

By Steven Strogatz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From preeminent math personality and author of The Joy of x, a brilliant and endlessly appealing explanation of calculus—how it works and why it makes our lives immeasurably better. 
 
Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket.

Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down-to-earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number—infinity—to tackle real-world problems,…


Book cover of Mathematics for Human Flourishing

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From my list on mathematics and life.

Who am I?

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?

This remarkable book is authored by Francis Su, the past president of the Mathematical Association of America. The author describes human flourishing as follows: “a wholeness of being and doing, of realizing one’s potential and helping others do the same, of acting with honour and treating others with dignity.” He explains how human beings, of all ages and ability levels, can experience flourishing through the doing of mathematics.

In each of the final twelve chapters, the author explores a trait of mathematics, how it relates to our journey as humans, and how the development of each trait enables us to flourish: Exploration, Meaning, Play, Beauty, Permanence, Truth, Struggle, Power, Justice, Freedom, Community, Love. As a mathematical researcher and educator, I have experienced these traits first-hand, and recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

By Francis Su,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Mathematics Association of America's 2021 Euler Book Prize, this is an inclusive vision of mathematics-its beauty, its humanity, and its power to build virtues that help us all flourish

"This is perhaps the most important mathematics book of our time. Francis Su shows mathematics is an experience of the mind and, most important, of the heart."-James Tanton, Global Math Project

"A good book is an entertaining read. A great book holds up a mirror that allows us to more clearly see ourselves and the world we live in. Francis Su's Mathematics for Human Flourishing is both a…


Book cover of Our Days Are Numbered: How Mathematics Orders Our Lives

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From my list on mathematics and life.

Who am I?

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?

For decades, the most famous opening chord in rock and roll was an unsolved problem, since no one could reproduce it. But in 2004, Jason Brown, a professor at Dalhousie University, used mathematics to recreate the opening chord of the Beatles hit song, “A Hard Day’s Night”. I remember when newspapers around the world reported on Jason’s findings, as I was at Dalhousie at the time, as one of Jason’s Ph.D. students.

Jason’s Beatles story serves as the final chapter in this wonderful book, a collection of short vignettes about how mathematics relates to every aspect of our lives, including garbage pickup routes, grocery shopping, political polling, and social networks. The book’s thesis is that as we understand mathematics better, our lives become more meaningful. I couldn’t agree more.    

By Jason I. Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Days Are Numbered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A revealing and entertaining look at the world, as viewed through mathematical eyeglasses.

From the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow, numbers are everywhere. And yet most of us go through each day unaware of the mathematics that shapes our lives.

In fact, many people go through life fearing and avoiding mathematics, making choices that keep it at arm’s length or further. Even basic math — like arithmetic — can seem baffling.

In Our Days Are Numbered, Jason Brown leads the reader through a typical day, on a fascinating journey. He…


Book cover of The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From my list on mathematics and life.

Who am I?

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?

The full title of this wonderful book is The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy. Bayes’ Theorem is a one-line mathematical formula, named after a Scottish church minister, that calculates the updated probability of an event occurring given new information that we receive.  Applications of Bayes’ Theorem are diverse and profound, from recommendation systems to automated translation algorithms to weather prediction.

This well-researched book does a deep dive into the most important characters of mathematical statistics over the past three centuries, and explains how Bayes’ Theorem was used to solve problems that were deemed unsolvable, including cracking the German Enigma Machine during World War II. I teach Bayes’ Theorem in several of my courses, and have found much inspiration in McGrayne’s book.

By Sharon Bertsch McGrayne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Theory That Would Not Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice: A vivid account of the generations-long dispute over Bayes' rule, one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of applied mathematics and statistics

"An intellectual romp touching on, among other topics, military ingenuity, the origins of modern epidemiology, and the theological foundation of modern mathematics."-Michael Washburn, Boston Globe

"To have crafted a page-turner out of the history of statistics is an impressive feat. If only lectures at university had been this racy."-David Robson, New Scientist

Bayes' rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new…


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.

Who am I?

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 How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions

John V. Petrocelli Author Of The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit

From my list on detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news.

Who am I?

As an experimental social psychologist, who has conducted years of empirical research on bullshitting behavior and bullshit detection, I’ve found compelling evidence that the worst outcomes of bullshit communications are false beliefs and bad decisions. I’m convinced that all of our problems, whether they be personal, interpersonal, professional, or societal are either directly or indirectly linked to mindless bullshit reasoning and communication. I’m just sick and tired of incompetent, bullshit artists who capitalize by repackaging and selling what I and other experimental psychologists do for free. It’s time the masses learn that some of us who actually do the research on the things we write about can actually do it better.    

John's book list on detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news

John V. Petrocelli Why did John love this book?

If there is one book I wish I’d written myself, it is How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass. One of the things I admired most about the people who shaped my education and career path most was their ability to listen carefully and ask critical questions that uncovered even more than what was first expressed. Christopher DiCarlo’s book is a manual to practicing these traits. The book provides all of the tools needed to question beliefs and assumptions held by those who claim to know what they’re talking about, while at the same time providing practical solutions for today’s world of misinformation. The book also convinced me that faulty reasoning can be spotted by asking the right sorts of questions—what better gift to give someone? 

By Christopher Dicarlo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this witty, incisive guide to critical thinking the author provides you with the tools to allow you to question beliefs and assumptions held by those who claim to know what they're talking about. These days there are many people whom we need to question: politicians, lawyers, doctors, teachers, clergy members, bankers, car salesmen, and your boss. This book will empower you with the ability to spot faulty reasoning and, by asking the right sorts of questions, hold people accountable not only for what they believe but how they behave.

By using this book you'll learn to analyze your own…


Book cover of Is Math Real? How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics' Deepest Truths

Jo Boaler Author Of Math-ish: Finding Creativity, Diversity, and Meaning in Mathematics

From my list on women rocking math and science.

Who am I?

I'm a British writer, (though I now live and work in California) and a Stanford professor who is passionate about helping everyone know they have endless potential and that math is a subject of creativity, connections, and beautiful ideas. I spend time battling against math elitism, systemic racism, and the other barriers that have stopped women and people of color from going forward in STEM. I am the cofounder of youcubed, a site that inspires millions of educators and their students, with creative mathematics and mindset messages. I've also made a math app, designed to help students feel good about struggling, called Struggly.com. I love to write books that help people develop their mathematical superpowers!

Jo's book list on women rocking math and science

Jo Boaler Why did Jo love this book?

I love all of Eugenia’s books, she is a cool mathematician working to educate the public about real mathematics – a subject of deep explorations and connected ideas.

Eugenia shares the creativity in mathematics, and the importance of pushing against boundaries, including the gender boundaries that often stop girls and women going forward in STEM. Her playful use of mathematical ideas to disrupt the myths of narrow and inequitable mathematics and the dominance of men in the field, is so fascinating, especially for those of us perturbed by the inequities in STEM.

This is a great book for those who would like to love mathematics a little more than they do now.

By Eugenia Cheng,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Is Math Real? How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics' Deepest Truths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the world’s most creative mathematicians offers a new way to look at math—focusing on questions, not answers 

Where do we learn math: From rules in a textbook? From logic and deduction? Not really, according to mathematician Eugenia Cheng: we learn it from human curiosity—most importantly, from asking questions. This may come as a surprise to those who think that math is about finding the one right answer, or those who were told that the “dumb” question they asked just proved they were bad at math. But Cheng shows why people who ask questions like “Why does 1 +…


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