100 books like Time and Chance

By David Z. Albert,

Here are 100 books that Time and Chance fans have personally recommended if you like Time and Chance. 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 What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles

Martin Cohen Author Of Rethinking Thinking: Problem Solving from Sun Tzu to Google

From my list on thinking skills.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most of my books (101 Philosophy Problems, Wittgenstein's Beetle, Critical Thinking for Dummies, and so on) are on thinking skills, in the broad sense. However, I'm always a bit uncomfortable when I'm presented as an expert on thinking, as people tend to imagine I must have some brainy strategies for thinking better when my interest is also in the ways we "think badly." Because logic is really a blunt tool, compared to the brilliant insights that come with intuition. Yet how do you train your intuition? So the books I've chosen here are all ones that I've found don't so much tell you how to think, but actually get you thinking. And that's always been my aim in my books too.

Martin's book list on thinking skills

Martin Cohen Why did Martin love this book?

Raymond Smullyan is a riddler, a puzzler, well-known for various Knights and Knaves puzzles, a type of logic game where some characters can only answer questions truthfully, and others only falsely. However, I recommend this book as here he offers not only logical tricks but many insights too. One section offers the World's shortest explanation of Gödel's theorem which is a magnificent achievement but frankly, reminds me why I like long explanations sometimes.

Basically, this is an examination of boolean logic, which is (rather boringly) a branch of algebra in which all operations are either true or false, and relationships are expressed with logical operators such as and, or, or not. So it’s serious stuff, but also pretty funny along the way.

By Raymond M. Smullyan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked What Is the Name of This Book? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The most original, most profound, and most humorous collection of recreational logic and math problems ever written." — Martin Gardner, Scientific American
"The value of the book lies in the wealth of ingenious puzzles. They afford amusement, vigorous exercise, and instruction." — Willard Van Orman Quine, The New York Times Book Review
If you're intrigued by puzzles and paradoxes, these 200 mind-bending logic puzzles, riddles, and diversions will thrill you with challenges to your powers of reason and common sense. Raymond M. Smullyan — a celebrated mathematician, logician, magician, and author — presents a logical labyrinth of more than 200…


Book cover of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value

Steven E. Landsburg Author Of Can You Outsmart an Economist?

From my list on the biggest questions.

Why am I passionate about this?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things like why there is something instead of nothing, why we can remember the past but not the future, and how consciousness arises. Although I’m a professor of economics, I take such things seriously enough to have published some papers in philosophy journals, and even a whole book about philosophy called The Big Questions. These are some of the books that sharpened my thinking, inspired me to think more deeply, and convinced me that good writing can render deep ideas both accessible and fun.

Steven's book list on the biggest questions

Steven E. Landsburg Why did Steven love this book?

Would you guess that the average daily temperature in San Francisco is above or below 558 degrees Fahrenheit?

I'm going to assume you guessed "below", because that's the right answer and absolutely everybody gets it right.

Now---what would you guess is the actual average daily temperature in San Francisco? If you are like just about everybody, your guess right now is quite a bit higher than the guess you’d have made a minute ago, before you saw my first (entirely ludicrous) question. This well-documented effect persists even when subjects are told about it and warned not to fall prey to it.

Perhaps I’m overestimating, but I believe this book contains about 14 billion equally fascinating and weird facts about how human minds process information. But although these facts are quirky, they are not quirks --- they are central to the working of the human mind, not just little mistakes we…

By William Poundstone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Prada stores carry a few obscenely expensive items in order to boost sales for everything else (which look like bargains in comparison). People used to download music for free, then Steve Jobs convinced them to pay. How? By charging 99 cents. That price has a hypnotic effect: the profit margin of the 99 Cents Only store is twice that of Wal-Mart. Why do text messages cost money, while e-mails are free? Why do jars of peanut butter keep getting smaller in order to keep the price the "same"? The answer is simple: prices are a collective hallucination.

In Priceless, the…


Book cover of A History of Pi

Steven E. Landsburg Author Of Can You Outsmart an Economist?

From my list on the biggest questions.

Why am I passionate about this?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things like why there is something instead of nothing, why we can remember the past but not the future, and how consciousness arises. Although I’m a professor of economics, I take such things seriously enough to have published some papers in philosophy journals, and even a whole book about philosophy called The Big Questions. These are some of the books that sharpened my thinking, inspired me to think more deeply, and convinced me that good writing can render deep ideas both accessible and fun.

Steven's book list on the biggest questions

Steven E. Landsburg Why did Steven love this book?

The number Pi, of course, has no history; like any other number, it is what it is and exists outside of time and space. But the human understanding of Pi has a rich history indeed, beginning with the discovery that the circumference of a circle is more than three times, but less than four times, its radius. The centuries brought better estimates, better ways of discovering new estimates, the discovery that Pi is irrational, the recognition that it has a habit of popping up in areas of mathematics that appear to have nothing to do with circles, and a slew of curious and beautiful formulas like this one.

Of course, a lot of other things were happening during those centuries, not all of them mathematical. Beckmann has not failed to notice this. His fascination with pretty much everything comes alive as he uses the history of Pi as a…

By Petr Beckmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The history of pi, says the author, though a small part of the history of mathematics, is nevertheless a mirror of the history of man. Petr Beckmann holds up this mirror, giving the background of the times when pi made progress -- and also when it did not, because science was being stifled by militarism or religious fanaticism.


Book cover of Consciousness Explained

Matthew Hutson Author Of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane

From my list on consciousness and how our brain works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a freelance science reporter and Contributing Writer at The New Yorker, with degrees in cognitive neuroscience and science writing. Growing up, I wanted to understand the fundamental nature of the universe—who doesn’t?!—and grew interested in physics, before realizing our only contact with outside reality (if it exists) is through consciousness. Today I cover psychology and artificial intelligence, among other topics. Can machines be conscious? I don’t know. Why does consciousness exist at all? I don’t know that either. But if there’s anything at all that’s magic in the universe, it’s consciousness.

Matthew's book list on consciousness and how our brain works

Matthew Hutson Why did Matthew love this book?

We tend to picture an observer inside our heads experiencing consciousness as if watching a movie. But that just pushes explanation back a level: What’s inside that observer? The prolific philosopher Daniel Dennett dismantles many common intuitions about awareness, showing them to be illusions hiding the intricate and deceptive mechanics of the mind and brain. This was one of the first books on consciousness I read. I don’t agree with everything Dennett has to say on the matter, but he’s a great guide to think with.

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Consciousness Explained, Daniel C. Dennett reveals the secrets of one of the last remaining mysteries of the universe: the human brain.

Daniel C. Dennett's now-classic book blends philosophy, psychology and neuroscience - with the aid of numerous examples and thought-experiments - to explore how consciousness has evolved, and how a modern understanding of the human mind is radically different from conventional explanations of consciousness.

What people think of as the stream of consciousness is not a single, unified sequence, the author argues, but 'multiple drafts' of reality composed by a computer-like 'virtual machine'.

Dennett explains how science has exploded…


Book cover of Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution

Tim Maudlin Author Of Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory

From my list on quantum theory and its history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of philosophy at New York University, but my interests have always fallen at the intersection of physics and philosophy. Unable to commit to just one side or the other, I got a joint degree in Physics and Philosophy from Yale and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. My fascination with Bell’s Theorem began when I read an article in Scientific American in 1979, and I have been trying to get to the bottom of things ever since. My most recent large project is a Founder and Director of the John Bell Institute for the Foundations of Physics.

Tim's book list on quantum theory and its history

Tim Maudlin Why did Tim love this book?

Beller did a lot of the historical work that Becker relies on, delving deeply into the personal interaction between Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and the other founders of quantum theory. The presentation is more scholarly than Becker’s but is a goldmine for anyone who wants to understand the fine details of how quantum theory emerged from that set of distinctive personalities.

By Mara Beller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work seeks to show that science is rooted not just in conversation but in disagreement, doubt and uncertainty. Mara Beller argues that it is precisely this culture of dialogue and controversy within the scientific community that fuels creativity. Beller draws her argument from her reading of the history of the quantum revolution, especially the development of the Copenhagen interpretation. One of several competing approaches, this version succeeded largely due to the rhetorical skills of Niels Bohr and his colleagues. Using archival research, Beller shows how Bohr and others marketed their views, misrepresenting and dismissing their opponents as "unreasonable" and…


Book cover of How Physics Makes Us Free

John T. Maier Author Of Options and Agency

From my list on defending the reality of free will.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton. From the beginning of my work in philosophy, I have been interested in the nature of agency: what is it to be an agent, and how is agency even possible in the first place? These questions naturally drew me to the metaphysics of free will, as well as related topics in the logic and semantics of agentive modality (that is, the kind of possibility and necessity that is characteristic of agents). Much of my recent work has been on more clinical issues, especially on understanding addiction. I continue to be fascinated by fundamental topics in metaphysics, and especially the question of free will.

John's book list on defending the reality of free will

John T. Maier Why did John love this book?

Ismael is one of our leading philosophers of physics, and of fundamental questions more generally.

This book is a comprehensive exploration of the intersection of physics and free will, with the surprising moral signaled by her title. Properly understood, contemporary physics, even if it is deterministic, does not threaten free will. On the contrary, it helps to explain how free beings like us are possible in the first place.

By J.T. Ismael,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Physics Makes Us Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1687 Isaac Newton ushered in a new scientific era in which laws of nature could be used to predict the movements of matter with almost perfect precision. Newton's physics also posed a profound challenge to our self-understanding, however, for the very same laws that keep airplanes in the air and rivers flowing downhill tell us that it is in principle possible to predict what each of us will do every second of our entire lives, given the early conditions of the
universe.

Can it really be that even while you toss and turn late at night in the throes…


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 Relativity Visualized

Adrian Bardon Author Of A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time

From my list on time and our perception of time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I teach courses in the philosophy of space and time, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of science. In addition to several authored and edited books on the philosophy of time, I have published many scholarly articles on time, perception, knowledge, and the history of the philosophy of time. I have always been attracted to the philosophy of time because time is quite simply at the root of everything: through the study of time we confront and illuminate the deepest possible questions both as to the nature of the physical world and as to the nature of human existence.

Adrian's book list on time and our perception of time

Adrian Bardon Why did Adrian love this book?

Relativity Visualized is simply the secret weapon for understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity. Professor of physics Lewis Carroll Epstein uses brilliant, accessible visualizations (and no equations!) to help any reader to a good conceptual grasp of special and general relativity. If you want relativity without the math, this is the one.

By Lewis Carroll Epstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The latest book in the brilliant, bestselling Sharpe series brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper.

It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls.

Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they…


Book cover of Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality

Richard Botelho Author Of The Full Extent: An Inquiry Into Reality and Destiny

From my list on reality and destiny.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author, thinker, philosopher, and social critic. My previous books include gold award winner The New Individualism: Personal Change to Transform Society, Leah’s Way, and Reason for Existence. My works are used in hundreds of colleges and universities and have been featured in several publications. I received my B.A. in Government and M.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento. My thesis was entitled “Toward a Credible Central Intelligence Agency.” The research included interviews with the intelligence community and national security officials, including a former CIA Director. That process enabled vast insights into the structures and functions of society, specifically the confluence of politics, economics, power, technology, security, order, religion, and transformation.

Richard's book list on reality and destiny

Richard Botelho Why did Richard love this book?

Another wonderful examination of the foundational nature of Consciousness in the universe. Levy makes the subject matter easy to understand. In many ways, this book is an imploration for the public to comprehend the quantum discoveries of the past century since such mass awareness can fundamentally change our world. Reality is not as it appears and the public deserves to know the truth.

Book cover of Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory

Marc Lange Author Of An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass

From my list on the philosophy of physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My undergraduate physics textbook asked, “What is an electric field? Is it something real, or is it merely a name for a factor in an equation which has to be multiplied by something else to give the numerical value of the force we measure in an experiment?” Here, I thought, is a good question! But the textbook said that since electromagnetic theory “works, it doesn’t make any difference" what an electric field is! Then it said, "That is not a frivolous answer, but a serious one.” I felt ashamed. But my physics teacher helpfully suggested that I “speak to the philosophers.” I am very pleased that I decided to become one!

Marc's book list on the philosophy of physics

Marc Lange Why did Marc love this book?

When a world-class philosopher of physics is also a spectacularly gifted writer, you have the makings of an extraordinary book. This book offers a comprehensive introduction to various interpretations of quantum mechanics, while Maudlin's companion volume on the philosophy of space and time is equally highly recommended. Maudlin is a (very) opinionated guide, which makes these books even more valuable (and enjoyable to read). I especially enjoy Maudlin’s refusal to tolerate any of the nonsense that one often finds in quantum mechanics textbooks that depict the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics as indeed a genuine interpretation of quantum mechanics. Rather, as Maudlin forthrightly says, the “Copenhagen interpretation” amounts to a failure to offer any interpretation at all of quantum mechanics. Instead, it treats quantum mechanics merely as a device for predicting the chances of our making various observations.

By Tim Maudlin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sophisticated and original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics from one of the world's leading philosophers of physics

In this book, Tim Maudlin, one of the world's leading philosophers of physics, offers a sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The briefest, clearest, and most refined account of his influential approach to the subject, the book will be invaluable to all students of philosophy and physics.

Quantum mechanics holds a unique place in the history of physics. It has produced the most accurate predictions of any scientific theory, but, more astonishing, there has never been any…


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