The best math books

Who picked these books? Meet our 202 experts.

202 authors created a book list connected to math, and here are their favorite math books.
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Book cover of Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout: How the Timeless Wisdom of One Man Can Impact an Entire Generation

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Mugamore: Succeeding without Labels - Lessons for Educators

From the list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies.

Who am I?

The first twenty-five years of my life appeared to be atypical for an inner-city African American boy from a large family. Only a small number of children were bused to more “academically advanced” schools. I earned that honor by frequently running away from the local school. Overcoming the challenges of being a minority in a demanding, predominantly Jewish, school district eventually benefited me greatly. In the early 1970s, my parents did something unprecedented for a working-class African American family from Queens: They bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse in Upstate New York's dairy country as a summer home. What other unusual life experiences that impact people of color have taken place on the American tapestry? 

Jonathan's book list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies

Why did Jonathan love this book?

This beautiful homage to a father from “The Greatest Generation” reads like a sermon with several urgent messages: To be kind, timely, and disciplined. Make helping a regular part of life, do every job right, listen and learn. Be a person of impeccable character, and stand strong even when times are tough.

By Rick Rigsby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After his wife died, Rick Rigsby was ready to give up. The bare minimum was good enough. Rigsby was content to go through the motions, living out his life as a shell of himself. But then he remembered the lessons his father taught him years before- incredibly simple, yet incredibly profound.

These lessons weren't about advanced mathematics or the secrets of the stock market. They were quite straightforward, in fact, as Rigsby's father never made it through third grade. But if this man's instructions were powerful enough to inspire one of his children to earn a Ph.D. and another to…

Data Sketches

By Shirley Wu, Nadieh Bremer,

Book cover of Data Sketches

Adam Fortuna

From Adam's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Programmer Community builder Playful Explorer Optimizer

Adam's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Adam love this book?

Data visualizations are a cross between art, programming, and storytelling.

I've always been fascinated by the process creators go through to bring something from their imagination into existence. What amazed me was how the journey isn't a clear path from idea to finished product. I loved how Nadieh and Shirley documented their thought process – bringing me along and sharing why they made each decision.

Each chapter is a breakdown of a different data visualization. I laughed at how many of them were nerdy interests I loved: Dance Dance Revolution, Card Captor Sakura, and Lord of the Rings, to name a few. It reminded me that if I have fun, that'll show up in the finished product.

By Shirley Wu, Nadieh Bremer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Data Sketches, Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu document the deeply creative process behind 24 unique data visualization projects, and they combine this with powerful technical insights which reveal the mindset behind coding creatively. Exploring 12 different themes - from the Olympics to Presidents & Royals and from Movies to Myths & Legends - each pair of visualizations explores different technologies and forms, blurring the boundary between visualization as an exploratory tool and an artform in its own right. This beautiful book provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes account of all 24 projects and shares the authors' personal notes and drafts every…

Naked Statistics

By Charles Wheelan,

Book cover of Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Martin S. Fridson Author Of The Little Book of Picking Top Stocks: How to Spot Hidden Gems

From Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Financial analyst History buff Music lover

Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Martin love this book?

When I signed up for an introductory statistics course in college, I expected it would cover exactly what this book addresses. At that time, newspaper articles sometimes referred to the book that inspired this one, Darrell Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics.

I was excited to learn how to avoid getting snared by inadvertent and intentional flaws in public opinion polls, medical studies, and investment research. In a highly readable, entertaining style, Charles Wheelan arms his readers against all those pitfalls.

The somewhat abstruse quantitative methods actually taught emphasized in the statistics course proved to be helpful professionally. But Wheelan’s statistical malpractice stories are both accessible to readers unfamiliar with the underlying math and informative to those who are.

By Charles Wheelan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called "sexy." From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you'll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.…


By Edwin A. Abbott,

Book cover of Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Mike Russell Author Of Magic: a novel

From the list on questioning the nature of reality and fun to read.

Who am I?

Hello. My name is Mike Russell. I write books (novels, short story collections, and novellas) and make visual art (mostly paintings, occasionally sculptures). I love art and books that are surreal and magical because that is the way life seems to me, and I love art and books that are mind-expanding because we need to expand our minds to perceive just how surreal and magical life is. My books have been described as strange fiction, weird fiction, surrealism, magic realism, fantasy fiction… but I just like to call them Strange Books.

Mike's book list on questioning the nature of reality and fun to read

Why did Mike love this book?

I remember being very surprised when I discovered that this book was written so long ago. It’s a social satire that is sadly still relevant. More importantly, it’s also a story constructed to point towards a transcendent reality. I love stories that are a springboard for the reader to journey into a deeper world. It is something I do in my own writing. Flatland is a book that can be used to flex the imagination; active imagination is the bedrock of my writing but is also vital in so many aspects of life. I think Flatland would be a great book to help kids take control of their own minds. 

By Edwin A. Abbott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This masterpiece of science (and mathematical) fiction is a delightfully unique and highly entertaining satire that has charmed readers for more than 100 years. The work of English clergyman, educator and Shakespearean scholar Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926), it describes the journeys of A. Square, a mathematician and resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, where women-thin, straight lines-are the lowliest of shapes, and where men may have any number of sides, depending on their social status.
Through strange occurrences that bring him into contact with a host of geometric forms, Square has adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland…

The Conquest of Water

By Jean-Pierre Goubert, Andrew Wilson (translator),

Book cover of The Conquest of Water: The Advent of Health in the Industrial Age

Katherine Ashenburg Author Of The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History

From the list on the history of washing our bodies.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to social history, so the chance to learn what people used for toilet paper in the middle ages or how deodorant was invented and popularized in the early 20th century was perfect for me. The three years I spent researching The Dirt on Clean included trips to see the bathing facilities in Pompeii and actually bathing in ancient mineral baths and spas in Hungary, Switzerland, and Germany, and what’s not to like about that?

Katherine's book list on the history of washing our bodies

Why did Katherine love this book?

Europeans had feared water since the Black Death of 1347 when the doctors of the Sorbonne pronounced that people who took warm baths were more susceptible to the plague. There followed what the French historian Jules Michelet called (with some hyperbole) “five hundred years without a bath.” Goubert’s scholarly but always readable book describes the gradual and tentative death of this longstanding myth. Beginning in the 18th century, the emergence of the idea of water as a benefit and not a danger to public health was complicated and touched many areas of life. Goubert is adept at moving from social to cultural to administrative sectors, with just the right balance of theory and anecdotes.

By Jean-Pierre Goubert, Andrew Wilson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The preoccupation with water is, according to Jean-Pierre Goubert, one of the subdivisions of the religion of progress. . . . Goubert's research is entirely interdisciplinary, and his procedure is highly original. The first in his field, the author has at all points built up a study which never departs from its faithfulness to texts, documents and facts."--From the introduction

This book is the first major study of the social and cultural conquest of water during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Jean-Pierre Goubert discloses the changing meanings of everyday reality as he explores the transition from water-scarce cultures, in which…

Four Colors Suffice

By Robin J. Wilson,

Book cover of Four Colors Suffice: How the Map Problem Was Solved

Ian Stewart Author Of Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So

From the list on to find out why math isn’t what you think.

Who am I?

As a kid I read every popular math book I could lay my hands on. When I became a mathematician I wanted to do more than teaching and research. I wanted to tell everyone what a wonderful and vital subject math is. I started writing popular math books, and soon was up to my neck in radio, TV, news media, magazines... For 12 years I wrote the mathematical Recreations Column for Scientific American. I was only the second mathematician in 170 years to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, on TV with a live tiger. The University changed my job description: half research, half ‘outreach’. I had my dream job.

Ian's book list on to find out why math isn’t what you think

Why did Ian love this book?

The Four Color Problem was one of the most baffling questions in mathematics for over 120 years. First posed in 1852, it asks whether every map can be colored with four colors, or fewer, so that regions adjacent along a boundary have different colors. The answer (yes) was finally obtained in 1976, with massive computer assistance. This method was initially controversial, but the result is now firmly established. This highly readable account, with full-color illustrations, opens up the history and the personalities who tackled this topological enigma, as well as making the mathematics comprehensible. The path to the final solution is littered with blunders and mistakes, but also illustrates how mathematicians can join forces across the generations to chip away at a problem until it cracks wide open. 

By Robin J. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On October 23, 1852, Professor Augustus De Morgan wrote a letter to a colleague, unaware that he was launching one of the most famous mathematical conundrums in history--one that would confound thousands of puzzlers for more than a century. This is the amazing story of how the "map problem" was solved. The problem posed in the letter came from a former student: What is the least possible number of colors needed to fill in any map (real or invented) so that neighboring counties are always colored differently? This deceptively simple question was of minimal interest to cartographers, who saw little…

Mind and Matter

By John Urschel, Louisa Thomas,

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

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From the 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

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…

Alan Turing's Manchester

By Jonathan Swinton,

Book cover of Alan Turing's Manchester

Andrew Hodges Author Of Alan Turing: The Enigma

From the list on Alan Turing’s world.

Who am I?

I am a mathematician, based at Oxford University, following up the ideas of the Nobel prizewinner Roger Penrose on fundamental physics.  But I am best known for writing a biography of Alan Turing, the founder of computer science. I did this at a time when he was almost unknown to the public, long before computers invaded popular culture. And it meant giving a serious account of two kinds of secret history: the codebreaking of the Second World War and the life of an unapologetic gay man. Since then I have also created a supporting website. When I was drawn to find out about Alan Turing, it was not only because he was a mathematician. I seized the chance to bring together many themes from science, history, and human life. This broad approach is reflected in my recommendations. I am choosing books that hint at the great scope of themes related to Turing’s life and work.

Andrew's book list on Alan Turing’s world

Why did Andrew love this book?

My first pick is the one most directly about Alan Turing himself. After 1950 his attention turned mainly to his new theory of mathematical biology, but his death in 1954 left most of this work unpublished.  His ideas were 20 or more years ahead of their time and few people could assess them. Jonathan Swinton is a leading expert in this field, and has been studying Turing’s manuscripts for 30 years. But his book has a much broader range: he adds so much on the culture of Manchester and its region, with a particular focus on women both as protagonists and observers. He has also illustrated his story with a wealth of pictures.

By Jonathan Swinton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Manchester is proud of Alan Turing but does it deserve to be? Dr Jonathan Swinton explores the complexity of the city that Alan Turing encountered in 1948. He goes well beyond Turing as a mathematician, to cover wire-women, Wittgenstein and the daisy. This is a richly illustrated account of lives lived - and one life ended tragically early - in a post-war Manchester busy creating the computer. This is a book about the people one might have met in Turing s Manchester. It records the patronage of older men, triumphant from the successful prosecution of a scientific war, who could…


By Peter Watson,

Book cover of Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud

Tamim Ansary Author Of The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection

From the list on the human story as a single whole.

Who am I?

Tamim Ansary is the son of an Afghan father and an American mother.  As a writer, growing up in Afghanistan and growing old in America has drawn him to issues that arise from cultural confusion in zones where civilizations overlap. His books include histories and memoirs, which he considers two sides of the same coin: a memoir is history seen up close, history is memoir seen from a distance.  Much of his work explores how perspective shapes perceptions of reality—a central theme of his best-known book, Destiny Disrupted, A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes.

Tamim's book list on the human story as a single whole

Why did Tamim love this book?

History isn’t just “what happened.” Trillions of things happened. History is about the patterns to be found among those trillions of facts. Getting at such patterns means following deep themes, and what could be deeper than ideas? Watson explores when, where, how, and why significant ideas emerged in history, how ideas led to more ideas, to inventions, to cultural changes…we witness the emergence of a soul as a concept, we’re there to see Freud construct his tripartite model of the human psyche… Every idea is part of a thread and this book is woven of many threads. 

By Peter Watson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Peter Watson's hugely ambitious and stimulating history of ideas from deep antiquity to the present day—from the invention of writing, mathematics, science, and philosophy to the rise of such concepts as the law, sacrifice, democracy, and the soul—offers an illuminated path to a greater understanding of our world and ourselves.

The Looking Glass House

By Vanessa Tait,

Book cover of The Looking Glass House

Mark Davies Author Of Alice in Waterland: Lewis Carroll and the River Thames in Oxford

From the list on Lewis Carroll and Alice.

Who am I?

I am an Oxford local historian, and the only Oxford guide endorsed by the Lewis Carroll Society. I have helped shape Oxford’s annual Alice’s Day since the first one in 2007, and have participated in French, Dutch, Canadian, Brazilian and British TV and radio documentaries, most notably for BBC 2 and BBC Radio 4. My interest is mainly the many Oxford realities which are hidden away within the apparent fantasy of the ‘Alice’ books, an angle which has enabled me to lecture on this internationally famous topic as far away as Assam in India. Subsequently, my appreciation of Carroll’s versatility as a mathematician, photographer, inventor, diarist, and letter writer has grown steadily over the years.

Mark's book list on Lewis Carroll and Alice

Why did Mark love this book?

This fictional interpretation of the creation of Alice’s Adventures is seen from the viewpoint of a constant, yet largely unremarked, fixture during these critical years: the Liddell family governess, Mary Prickett. The Oxford context of the time is convincingly depicted, and some of the burning issues of the day – Darwinism and Nonconformism, for instance – are interwoven with the more immediate tensions within the Liddell household, interpreted by an author who has more right than anyone to comment because Tait is the great-granddaughter of the real Alice herself. To sustain the pace she condenses the real events of 1857 to 1863 into a single fictionalised year, drawing on many well-known facts and suppositions – including Carroll’s rumoured amorous interest in Miss Prickett – and some lesser known details from her own family’s archives.

By Vanessa Tait,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Oxford, 1862. Poor, plain Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church. When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, a friend of the family, she is flattered by his attentions and becomes convinced he plans to propose marriage. But it is also clear that he is drawn to the little girls in Mary's care, and on a boating trip one sunny day Mr Dodgson tells the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a curious tale about the precocious Alice Liddell

As Mary waits for her life to change, she becomes increasingly suspicious of…

Love + Math

By Tiffany Michelle, Nimrah Ikram (illustrator), Mariya Akram (illustrator), Emma Lawson (editor)

Book cover of Love + Math

Tiffani Teachey Author Of What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z

From the list on engaging kids in STEM.

Who am I?

As a Sr. Mechanical Engineer, STEM advocate, TEDx international speaker and international best-selling author of children's books, I have a deep expertise and passion for inspiring young minds in the world of science, technology, engineering, and math. Through my books, including What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z and the STEM Crew Kids Adventures series, I aim to introduce kids to diverse STEM careers and empower them to pursue their dreams fearlessly. My background in engineering and dedication to youth mentorship drives me to promote STEM education and underrepresented voices. I believe in the power of books to spark curiosity and open doors to endless possibilities for future innovators and problem-solvers.

Tiffani's book list on engaging kids in STEM

Why did Tiffani love this book?

Love + Math is a delightful math book that transforms kids' perception of math from boring to enjoyable.

With engaging examples and colorful illustrations, it shows how math is present in everyday life, making it relatable and fun. This book helps kids see the beauty of math and replaces "I hate math" with "I love math."

It's a fantastic resource to instill a positive attitude towards math and encourage young minds to embrace the subject's possibilities. Get ready to witness a delightful transformation as kids discover the joy of math all around them!

By Tiffany Michelle, Nimrah Ikram (illustrator), Mariya Akram (illustrator), Emma Lawson (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

How to Lie with Statistics

By Darrell Huff, Irving Geis (illustrator),

Book cover of How to Lie with Statistics

Martin Sternstein Author Of Barron's AP Statistics

From the list on statistical insights into social issues.

Who am I?

I taught for 45 years at Ithaca College broken by two years as Fulbright Professor in West Africa at the University of Liberia. During my years in academia, I developed several new courses including a popular “Math in Africa” class and the first U.S. course for college credit in chess theory. I’ve always had a passion for and continue to have strong interests in (1) national educational and social issues concerning equal access to math education for all and (2) teaching others about the power of mathematics and statistics to help one more deeply understand social issues.

Martin's book list on statistical insights into social issues

Why did Martin love this book?

In this classic book, the author gives numerous examples of how statistics is misused by the corporate world, government agencies, journalists, politicians, and even educational institutions.

While the book is somewhat lighthearted and somewhat lacking in rigor, it gives the reader a critical understanding of logical fallacies. I’ve recommended this book to math phobic friends who all tell me they came away with good awareness of when data is unreliable and how data can be exploited and misapplied to force certain conclusions.

By Darrell Huff, Irving Geis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Lie with Statistics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From distorted graphs and biased samples to misleading averages, there are countless statistical dodges that lend cover to anyone with an ax to grind or a product to sell. With abundant examples and illustrations, Darrell Huff's lively and engaging primer clarifies the basic principles of statistics and explains how they're used to present information in honest and not-so-honest ways. Now even more indispensable in our data-driven world than it was when first published, How to Lie with Statistics is the book that generations of readers have relied on to keep from being fooled.

Book cover of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

Marian Petre Author Of Software Design Decoded: 66 Ways Experts Think

From the list on foundational perspectives on design.

Who am I?

I ‘pick the brains’ of expert software developers to understand what makes them expert. I’ve spent decades studying how professional software developers reason and communicate about design and problem solving. Informed by the seminal books I’ve highlighted (among many others), my research is grounded in empirical studies of professionals in industry and draws on cognitive and social theory. Observing, talking to, and working with hundreds of professional software developers in organisations ranging from start-ups to the world’s major software companies has exposed actionable insights into the thinking that distinguishes high-performing teams.  

Marian's book list on foundational perspectives on design

Why did Marian love this book?

In terms of conveying how to convey information (not just data) visually, Tufte is the undoubted master. 

This book is full of pithy examples, with clear insights about what works, what doesn’t, and why. I came across it when I was trying to understand why I was disgruntled with so many graphical representations – and Tufte provided useful clarity about my niggles.

(N.B. I had to pick just one of his titles for this list – but I’d recommend his other books as well.)

By Edward R. Tufte,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. Sources of deception. Aesthetics and data graphical displays. This is the second edition of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. This edition provides excellent color reproductions of…

Book cover of Teaching and Learning Algebra

David Acheson Author Of The Wonder Book of Geometry: A Mathematical Story

From the list on mathematics for the general reader.

Who am I?

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

Why did David love this book?

This may seem an odd choice, but as a maths popularizer I need to know all that I can about why some people find the main elements of the subject so difficult. I found Doug French's book exceptionally helpful in this respect, even though it is aimed principally at high school teachers. This is partly because he focuses throughout on the most important mathematical ideas and difficulties. Moreover, the scope is wider than the title suggests, for he also ventures imaginatively into both geometry and calculus.

By Doug French,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Continuum has repackaged some of its key academic backlist titles to make them available at a more affordable price. These reissues will have new ISBNs, distinctive jackets and strong branding. They cover a range of subject areas that have a continuing student sale and make great supplementary reading more accessible. A comprehensive, authoritative and constructive guide to teaching algebra.

Mathematics for Machine Learning

By Marc Peter Deisenroth, A. Aldo Faisal, Cheng Soon Ong

Book cover of Mathematics for Machine Learning

Yuxi (Hayden) Liu Author Of Python Machine Learning By Example: Build intelligent systems using Python, TensorFlow 2, PyTorch, and scikit-learn

From the list on machine learning for beginners.

Who am I?

I have been a machine learning engineer applying my ML expertise in computational advertising, and search domain. I am an author of 8 machine learning books. My first book was ranked the #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon in 2017 and 2018 and was translated into many languages. I am also a ML education enthusiast and used to teach ML courses in Toronto, Canada.  

Yuxi's book list on machine learning for beginners

Why did Yuxi love this book?

The book is a well-curated collection of the essential mathematical concepts that form ML. You may experience a cultural shock jumping to this book from the previous one, because the writing in this book is a bit formal. However, it is the missing but necessary piece for building solid foundations for practical ML. You will find it more valuable combining the intuition behind ML that you gained previously. And the explanations in the book are succinct and from the ML perspectives. For instance, partial derivatives are explained in terms of neural network weight optimization. I wish the concepts in Linear Algebra, Vector Calculus, and Probability courses back in college were introduced this way so I understand better how they are applied.  

By Marc Peter Deisenroth, A. Aldo Faisal, Cheng Soon Ong

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fundamental mathematical tools needed to understand machine learning include linear algebra, analytic geometry, matrix decompositions, vector calculus, optimization, probability and statistics. These topics are traditionally taught in disparate courses, making it hard for data science or computer science students, or professionals, to efficiently learn the mathematics. This self-contained textbook bridges the gap between mathematical and machine learning texts, introducing the mathematical concepts with a minimum of prerequisites. It uses these concepts to derive four central machine learning methods: linear regression, principal component analysis, Gaussian mixture models and support vector machines. For students and others with a mathematical background, these…

Book cover of The Music of the Spheres; Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe

J. Anthony Allen Author Of Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers: The producer's guide to harmony, chord progressions, and song structure in the MIDI grid.

From the list on falling in love with music all over again.

Who am I?

When you get a PhD in music, you end up with a lot of music books. Like, hundreds of them. At the end of every semester I could never bring myself to sell my textbooks because I just love books. Over the years I’ve continued to collect books about music, and books about everything. I’m happy that now a few have my name on the spine. 

J.'s book list on falling in love with music all over again

Why did J. love this book?

This book is a nonfiction history of the concept of Spherics – the idea that music and astronomy are intimately connected. It starts by talking about Pathagorous and works our way chronologically up to Einstein. There are a lot of books on the topic of Music of the Spheres (and a Coldplay album), but this is the best book I’ve found to fully understand the concept. 

By Jamie James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Music of the Spheres; Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, scientists and philosophers believed that the universe was a stately, ordered mechanism, both mathematical and musical. The perceived distances between objects in the sky mirrored (and were mirrored by) the spaces between notes forming chords and scales. The smooth operation of the cosmos created a divine harmony that composers sought to capture and express. Jamie James allows readers to see how this scientific philosophy emerged, how it was shattered by changing views of the universe and the rise of Romanticism, and to what extent it survives today - if at all. From Pythagoras to Newton, Bach to Beethoven,…

The Elements of Statistical Learning

By Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, Jerome Friedman

Book cover of The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction

Chris Conlan Author Of Algorithmic Trading with Python: Quantitative Methods and Strategy Development

From the list on mathematics for quant finance.

Who am I?

I am a financial data scientist. I think it is important that data scientists are highly specialized if they want to be effective in their careers. I run a business called Conlan Scientific out of Charlotte, NC where me and my team of financial data scientists tackle complicated machine learning problems for our clients. Quant trading is a gladiator’s arena of financial data science. Anyone can try it, but few succeed at it. I am sharing my top five list of math books that are essential to success in this field. I hope you enjoy.

Chris' book list on mathematics for quant finance

Why did Chris love this book?

This book might as well be called Introduction to machine learning, and it is probably one of the only books truly deserving of the title. Did you know neural networks have been used for decades to scan checks at the bank? They are called Boltzman Machine. Have you ever heard of how decision trees were used in old-school data mining? You could only get them from proprietary software packages from the early 2000s.

In quant trading, you will constantly face compute power constraints, so it is invaluable to understand the mathematical foundations of the most old-school machine learning methods out there. Researchers 20 years ago used to do a lot of impressive work with a lot less computing power.

By Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, Jerome Friedman

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Elements of Statistical Learning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book describes the important ideas in a variety of fields such as medicine, biology, finance, and marketing in a common conceptual framework. While the approach is statistical, the emphasis is on concepts rather than mathematics. Many examples are given, with a liberal use of colour graphics. It is a valuable resource for statisticians and anyone interested in data mining in science or industry. The book's coverage is broad, from supervised learning (prediction) to unsupervised learning. The many topics include neural networks, support vector machines, classification trees and boosting---the first comprehensive treatment of this topic in any book.

This major…

Philosophy and Model Theory

By Tim Button, Sean Walsh,

Book cover of Philosophy and Model Theory

Rocco Gangle Author Of Diagrammatic Immanence: Category Theory and Philosophy

From the list on mathematics for the philosophically inclined.

Who am I?

Philosophy’s core questions have always obsessed me: What is real? What makes life worth living? Can knowledge be made secure? In graduate school at the University of Virginia I was drawn to mathematically formalized approaches to such questions, especially those of C. S. Peirce and Alain Badiou. More recently, alongside colleagues at Endicott College’s Center for Diagrammatic and Computational Philosophy and GCAS College Dublin I have explored applications of diagrammatic logic, category theory, game theory, and homotopy type theory to such problems as abductive inference and artificial intelligence. Philosophers committed to the perennial questions have much to gain today from studying the new methods and results of contemporary mathematics.

Rocco's book list on mathematics for the philosophically inclined

Why did Rocco love this book?

Far too many math books are written in a style so terse and ungenerous that all but the most mathematically gifted readers hardly have a fair chance of understanding.

On the other hand, the discursive style of much philosophy of mathematics gains readability at the expense of formal rigor. Button and Walsh strike the perfect balance in this exceptionally rich introduction to model theory from a distinctively philosophical perspective.

There’s no getting around the fact that the mathematics of model theory is hard going. But this book works through all the relevant proofs in clear and detailed terms (no lazy “we leave this as an exercise for the reader”), and the authors are always careful to motivate each section with well-chosen philosophical concerns right up front.

An Everest, but worth it.

By Tim Button, Sean Walsh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Model theory is used in every theoretical branch of analytic philosophy: in philosophy of mathematics, in philosophy of science, in philosophy of language, in philosophical logic, and in metaphysics.
But these wide-ranging uses of model theory have created a highly fragmented literature. On the one hand, many philosophically significant results are found only in mathematics textbooks: these are aimed squarely at mathematicians; they typically presuppose that the reader has a serious background in mathematics; and little clue is given as to their philosophical significance. On the other hand, the philosophical applications of these results are scattered across disconnected pockets of…

A History of Pi

By Petr Beckmann,

Book cover of A History of Pi

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

From the list on the biggest questions.

Who am I?

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

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.

A Cooperative Species

By Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis,

Book cover of A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution

Vangelis Chiotis Author Of The Morality of Economic Behaviour: Economics as Ethics

From the list on economic morality.

Who am I?

Two self-interested people will try to outperform each other. One will win, the other will lose. If they instead cooperate, both will win a bit, and lose a bit. Is this preferable? I say yes, because in the long term, winning a bit many times, is better than winning a lot, once. Choosing short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit is a waste of potential for societies and individuals. Traditional morality works, sometimes, in some cases. Rational morality can fill the gaps, and expand the circle of morality so that when higher ideals fail or become too difficult to follow, rationality can be about more than just short-term self-interest.

Vangelis' book list on economic morality

Why did Vangelis love this book?

For Gintis, morality is the result of social evolution.

Humans are meant to cooperate and behave morally because of the evolutionary history of our societies. If humans are social animals, then it follows, they must be moral animals as well.

Gintis, unlike the previous authors in the list, focuses on the social, rather than the individual, to also argue for a moral theory that does not depend on or stem from individual moral character, or moral constraints on behavior.

This is an important argument because it highlights, at least implicitly, that we have a lot in common with social animals and as such, we can learn a lot from animal societies, as well as from early human societies.

By Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted self-interest or a desire to help close genealogical kin. In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms…