100 books like The Glass Bead Game

By Hermann Hesse, Clara Winston (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Glass Bead Game fans have personally recommended if you like The Glass Bead Game. 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 Glass Castle

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is quite possibly my favourite memoir ever written. It made me laugh, cry and scream. Never have I seen such a clearly dysfunctional family that didn’t even realize they were dysfunctional.

I loved them because they embraced life no matter what and hated them because they didn’t see how bad what they were doing to one another was. Full of elements and emotions from my own childhood, this book made me feel deeply and emotionally.  

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Glass Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…


Book cover of Educated: A Memoir

Genevieve Kingston Author Of Did I Ever Tell You?: A Memoir

From my list on young women on journeys of self-discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl and aspiring writer, I was shocked when I learned how recently women had been afforded the right to publish under our own names. As a life-long reader of female authors, and lover of complex female protagonists, I’m passionate about supporting and sharing stories by and about women. As an author and playwright, I love to seek out buried narratives or minor characters, and put them center stage. I hope you enjoy these extraordinary books by these extraordinary women.

Genevieve's book list on young women on journeys of self-discovery

Genevieve Kingston Why did Genevieve love this book?

I’m always astonished and grateful when someone who has lived through extraordinary events also has the skill to describe them brilliantly.

Tara Westover’s gorgeous writing won me over before I could even begin to appreciate the strange, dangerous, and ever-shifting terrain of her childhood. Her descriptions of growing up in a fundamentalist, survivalist home with no formal education, and no official record of her existence, never stopped surprising me as I gobbled up the pages.

I was amazed and inspired by her determination to forge her own path as an adult and to see the world for herself rather than simply accept the stories she’d always been told.

By Tara Westover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE MULTI-MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

Selected as a book of the year by AMAZON, THE TIMES, SUNDAY TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK TIMES, ECONOMIST, NEW STATESMAN, VOGUE, IRISH TIMES, IRISH EXAMINER and RED MAGAZINE

'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary story, beautifully told' Louise O'Neill
'A memoir to stand alongside the classics . . . compelling and joyous' Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate…


Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of The Beach

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Author Of The Lizard

From my list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been born in Fiji and lived in Cyprus, Austria, and Nigeria, I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust and a keen eye for my surroundings – both natural and man-made. I’ve always been open to "what might happen next," which makes sense as to why I became a professional storyteller – an actor, writer, and director. I am thrilled by not knowing what lies ahead, and I’ve always felt there is possible adventure at every turn in life, which is why I am so fond of the evocative and thrilling books I have listed.

Dugald's book list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Why did Dugald love this book?

I read this sultry and disturbing Thailand adventure story in one sitting. It transported me away from my out-of-work actor troubles that rainy day in London and took me to a beautiful and terrifying dreamscape, diving ever deeper into the backpacker protagonist’s murky quest. I can still picture the cut-glass water, the huts… the shark. I still feel the heat, the sting of mosquitoes, and the tang of blood.

I found it extraordinarily gripping, moody, and menacing. The speed at which the unexpected twists unfolded was mind-blowing.

By Alex Garland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Richard's first night in Bangkok, a fellow traveller slits his wrists, leaving Richard a map to "the Beach", where white sands circle a lagoon hidden from the sea, coral gardens and freshwater falls are surrounded by jungle. Richard was looking for adventure, and now he has found it.


Book cover of The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory Of Consciousness

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Author Of Memory Evolutive Systems: Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition: Volume 4

From my list on mathematical approaches to complex systems.

Why are we passionate about this?

An accident of professional life led us, Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch and Andrée Ehresmann, to meet in 1979. Jean-Paul was then a young physician who was also interested in problems of emergence and complexity. Andrée was a mathematician working in Analysis and, more recently, in Category Theory with Charles Ehresmann (her late husband). With Charles, she shared the idea that: “a category theory approach could open a wealth of possibilities to the understanding of complex processes of any kind.”This idea appealed to Jean-Paul who suggested that we both try applying it to problems of emergence, complexity, and cognition. It led to our 40 years old development of MES. 

Andrée and Jean-Paul's book list on mathematical approaches to complex systems

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Why did Andrée and Jean-Paul love this book?

This book by G. Edelman played an important role in the development of our mathematical MES theory for complex "living" systems. Our specific application of MES to neuro-cognitive systems, named MENS, represents a kind of mathematical translation of Edelman’s book into Category Theory. 

Specifically, leveraging the categorical concept of a 'colimit,' we expand upon Edelman's principle of the "degeneracy of the neural code" by introducing a form of non-isomorphic redundancy termed the Multiplicity Principle (MP), wherein the system admits multifaceted components. Subsequently, we establish a significant result: if an MES adheres to the MP, the system is reliant not on pure reductionism but rather on an "emergentist-reductionism" as defined by the philosopher and physicist Mario Bunge.

By Gerald Edelman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A genuine understanding of how mental states arise from the structure and function of the brain would be, as William James declared in 1892, "the scientific achievement before which all past achievements would pale." Can a comprehensive biological theory of consciousness be constructed in 1990? Any attempt has to reconcile evidence garnered from such diverse fields as developmental and evolutionary biology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy.Having laid the groundwork in his critically acclaimed books Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987) and Topobiology (Basic Books, 1988), Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman now proposes a comprehensive theory of consciousness in…


Book cover of Janus: A Summing Up

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Author Of Memory Evolutive Systems: Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition: Volume 4

From my list on mathematical approaches to complex systems.

Why are we passionate about this?

An accident of professional life led us, Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch and Andrée Ehresmann, to meet in 1979. Jean-Paul was then a young physician who was also interested in problems of emergence and complexity. Andrée was a mathematician working in Analysis and, more recently, in Category Theory with Charles Ehresmann (her late husband). With Charles, she shared the idea that: “a category theory approach could open a wealth of possibilities to the understanding of complex processes of any kind.”This idea appealed to Jean-Paul who suggested that we both try applying it to problems of emergence, complexity, and cognition. It led to our 40 years old development of MES. 

Andrée and Jean-Paul's book list on mathematical approaches to complex systems

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Why did Andrée and Jean-Paul love this book?

We appreciate this book because it helped us to introduce the concept of a ‘hierarchical category,’ which is necessary to describe our MES. We accomplished this by translating Koestler's concept of a "hierarchy of holons," where a holon embodies a 'hybrid nature' akin to a two-faced Janus.

Technically, a hierarchical category organizes objects into numbered levels (0 to m). An object at level n is dual-faced: 'simple' compared to levels above n, but 'complex' compared to levels < n, this object being the "colimit" (or combination) of linked objects < n. Within a hierarchical category, we compute the 'complexity order' for each object. The category aligns with pure reductionism if it lacks objects with a complexity order greater than 1.

By Arthur Koestler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Excellent Book


Book cover of Semio Physics: A Sketch

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Author Of Memory Evolutive Systems: Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition: Volume 4

From my list on mathematical approaches to complex systems.

Why are we passionate about this?

An accident of professional life led us, Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch and Andrée Ehresmann, to meet in 1979. Jean-Paul was then a young physician who was also interested in problems of emergence and complexity. Andrée was a mathematician working in Analysis and, more recently, in Category Theory with Charles Ehresmann (her late husband). With Charles, she shared the idea that: “a category theory approach could open a wealth of possibilities to the understanding of complex processes of any kind.”This idea appealed to Jean-Paul who suggested that we both try applying it to problems of emergence, complexity, and cognition. It led to our 40 years old development of MES. 

Andrée and Jean-Paul's book list on mathematical approaches to complex systems

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Why did Andrée and Jean-Paul love this book?

Thom's work on the "physics of meaningful forms," also known as Semiophysics, deeply influenced our approach to modeling structural changes in Memory-Evolutive Systems (MES). Indeed, in ‘natural’ systems, he classifies these changes as one of four standard changes—Birth, Death, Confluence, and Scission—which offer valuable insights into how components and interactions evolve over time within these systems. Integrating Thom's framework has enriched our understanding of MES dynamics. 

In MES, this led us to formulate the "Complexification Theorem," which characterizes the resulting category following structural changes: Birth or Death corresponds to adding or removing components, while Confluence leads to the formation of a colimit for a specific pattern of interconnected components, and Scission results in the decomposition of a given colimit.

By R. Thom, Vendla Meyer (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Thom Rene


Book cover of Innovation beyond Fiction: An Imaginative Play with Mathematics

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Author Of Memory Evolutive Systems: Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition: Volume 4

From my list on mathematical approaches to complex systems.

Why are we passionate about this?

An accident of professional life led us, Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch and Andrée Ehresmann, to meet in 1979. Jean-Paul was then a young physician who was also interested in problems of emergence and complexity. Andrée was a mathematician working in Analysis and, more recently, in Category Theory with Charles Ehresmann (her late husband). With Charles, she shared the idea that: “a category theory approach could open a wealth of possibilities to the understanding of complex processes of any kind.”This idea appealed to Jean-Paul who suggested that we both try applying it to problems of emergence, complexity, and cognition. It led to our 40 years old development of MES. 

Andrée and Jean-Paul's book list on mathematical approaches to complex systems

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Why did Andrée and Jean-Paul love this book?

The last book on our list is a recent addition, distinguished by its illustrative format and contemporary content; in particular. Structured uniquely, it comprises three parts (plus a foreword). 

The first section, titled "The Innovator’s Odyssey," narrates the journey of a young innovator designer grappling with bureaucratic hurdles in organizational settings. Amidst these challenges, he embarks on a quest for a "mathesis singularis"–a unique mathematical framework to aid innovation management. This quest leads him to discover our MES book.

The second part features an insightful interview with the author, offering valuable insights into the book's creation. Lastly, the third section includes a short Mathematical Appendix (for further exploration).

By Mathias Bejean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is about mathematics in the management of innovation, showing how recent advances in mathematics help us grasp and support innovation as a social activity of thinking and imagining together. It will make the reader rethink both innovation and mathematics by having them interplay in practical organizational settings.Told as fiction to make its argument more accessible, the book is nonetheless grounded in theoretical reflections and recent mathematical advances. In recounting the adventures of a committed and enthusiastic inventor-designer hampered by the increasing industrial bureaucratization of his world, it accounts for the fate of many innovation processes in large companies…


Book cover of States of Disorder: Complexity Theory and UN State-building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan

Peter T. Coleman Author Of The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization

From my list on navigating seemingly impossible conflicts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent more than 30 years in my lab at Columbia University studying how seemingly intractable conflicts develop and the conditions under which they change. I'm a professor at Columbia, a social psychologist who has studied, taught, and written about conflict for decades. I'm also a mediator, facilitator, and consultant who has worked with divided groups and communities around the world. I direct the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia, where we run the Difficult Conversations Lab, an audio/video/physio “capture lab” where we systematically study the dynamics of divisive moral conflicts to try to understand when encounters over them go well and when they go terribly wrong. 

Peter's book list on navigating seemingly impossible conflicts

Peter T. Coleman Why did Peter love this book?

If you are interested in gaining a better understanding of why the UN fails so miserably at building and sustaining peace – read this new book. Adam Day works at the UN and uses ideas from complexity science to both explain why the UN is so challenged in its ultimate mission to sustain peace, and what it should do to move in the right direction. Day uses two current case studies on some of the most challenging situations faced by the international community and applies new ideas in useful and practical ways. This is the state-of-the-art of complexity-informed peacebuilding.

By Adam Day,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Today's vision of world order is founded upon the concept of strong, well-functioning states, in contrast to the destabilizing potential of failed or fragile states. This worldview has dominated international interventions over the past 30 years as enormous resources have been devoted to developing and extending the governance capacity of weak or failing states, hoping to transform them into reliable nodes in the global order. But with very few exceptions, this
project has not delivered on its promise: countries like Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remain mired in conflict despite decades of international…


Book cover of Lucy and Linh

Michelle Quach Author Of Not Here to Be Liked

From my list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Chinese Vietnamese American author who writes about the Asian girls I never saw in books as a kid. Growing up in Southern California, I was part of an Asian community that was extremely diverse—a reality that was rarely reflected in American pop culture. For years, I longed to see messy, flawed, fully humanized Asian characters in all different kinds of stories, not just the typical child-of-immigrant narratives. As a result, I now spend a lot of time thinking about representation (whether I want to or not!), and I’m always looking for writers who pull it off with nuance and realism. I hope you’ll find these books are great examples of that.

Michelle's book list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls

Michelle Quach Why did Michelle love this book?

There isn’t another young adult book out there that makes me feel as seen as Lucy and Linh, alternately titled Laurinda in its native Australia.

It was the first novel I’d ever come across with a Chinese Vietnamese protagonist, and the details about her life as the daughter of working-class refugees really hit home.

That the prose is impeccable, the social observations incisive, and the themes not at all didactic (the main character Lucy makes plenty of mistakes) instantly turned me into an Alice Pung superfan. 

By Alice Pung,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lucy and Linh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From an author Amy Tan calls “a gem,” this is a witty, highly acclaimed novel that’s “part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies” (The Bulletin, Starred review) about navigating life in private school while remaining true to yourself.
 
Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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