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What maths book to read?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

What are the top 20 mathematics books to read before you die? I not looking for classicals like Principlia Mathematica. Just books that are very enlightening and readable for the layman.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Stephen Tashi
Science Advisor
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"For the layman"? Are we ruling out books written for mathematicians?
 
  • #3
jtbell
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Last edited by a moderator:
  • #4
kith
Science Advisor
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I like "What is Mathematics?" by Courant and Robbins.
 
  • #5
George Jones
Staff Emeritus
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Not exactly a math book, but I like "A Mathematician's Apology" by G.H. Hardy.
 
  • #6
201
2
"For the layman"? Are we ruling out books written for mathematicians?
No. It could even be textbook.
 
  • #7
Demystifier
Science Advisor
Insights Author
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Just books that are very enlightening and readable for the layman.
Here is my list:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0395929687/?tag=pfamazon01-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486296644/?tag=pfamazon01-20
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073X0IKO/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+think&pebp=1418386758657
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073X0IKO/?tag=pfamazon01-20 think&pebp=1418386758657[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/048669609X/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+foundations&pebp=1418386809861
https://www.amazon.com/dp/048669609X/?tag=pfamazon01-20 foundations&pebp=1418386809861[/URL]

[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486488209/?tag=pfamazon01-20
foundations of mathematics&pebp=1418386876706[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568814666/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+roads&pebp=1418386920660
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568814666/?tag=pfamazon01-20 roads&pebp=1418386920660[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LSX54VI/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+ideas&pebp=1418387005942
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LSX54VI/?tag=pfamazon01-20 ideas&pebp=1418387005942[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486780163/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+northrop&pebp=1418387560400
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486780163/?tag=pfamazon01-20 northrop&pebp=1418387560400[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486284247/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+mathematics
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486284247/?tag=pfamazon01-20 mathematics[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0465064892/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+visions&pebp=1418387194216
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0465064892/?tag=pfamazon01-20 visions&pebp=1418387194216[/URL]
[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568812388/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] [URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568812388/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] godel&pebp=1418387305120[/URL] [URL='[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393327604/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] [URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393327604/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] godel&pebp=1418387358125[/URL] [URL='[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0814758371/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] [URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/0814758371/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL] godel's proof&pebp=1418387408148[/URL] [URL='[URL]https://www.amazon.com/dp/1405197676/?tag=pfamazon01-20[/URL]+godel&pebp=1418387469033
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1405197676/?tag=pfamazon01-20 godel&pebp=1418387469033[/URL]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #8
jasonRF
Science Advisor
Gold Member
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I really like "A history of pi" by Beckmann
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0312381859/?tag=pfamazon01-20
and "An imaginary tale" by Nahin,
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691146004/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Both have some math and a bunch of history. Nahin requires calculus; Beckmann is better if you know calculus but enjoyable as long as you know some geometry and perhaps trigonometry - I read it in highschool with no calculus under my belt and LOVED it.

Don't know if they are "top 20" but I really like these books.

enjoy,

jason
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
201
2
Thanks for all this. I will be purchasing some of these books. Please let me know of any others.
 
  • #11
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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I would suggest, What is mathematics by Courant and Robbins, Geometry and the imagination by Hilbert and Cohn-Vossen, Euclid in the green lion edition along with Hartshorne's Geometry: Euclid and beyond as a guide, possibly some of Elements of algebra by Euler, Calculus by Mike Spivak, and Algebra by Mike Artin.
 

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