The best 38 Mathematics books

The Black Swan

The Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Impact of the Highly Improbable
4.4 (597 ratings)

What's The Black Swan about?

The Black Swan (2010) offers insights into perceived randomness and the limitations we face in making predictions. Our over-reliance on methods that appeal to our intuition at the expense of accuracy, our basic inability to understand and define randomness, and even our biology itself all contribute to poor decision making, and sometimes to “Black Swans” – events thought to be impossible that redefine our understanding of the world.

Who should read The Black Swan?

  • Anyone whose job involves analyzing charts and trends
  • Anyone interested in how they can minimize their exposure to risk
  • Anyone interested in epistemology

The Grand Design

The Grand Design

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
How science unlocked the secrets of the universe
4.4 (241 ratings)

What's The Grand Design about?

The Grand Design (2010) tells the fascinating story of how humans came into being and how we began to use the scientific method to explain both our remarkable growth as a species and the world around us. From the foundational laws of Newton and Einstein to the mind-bending science of quantum physics, find out how far we’ve come and how close we are to answering life’s big questions.

Who should read The Grand Design?

  • Armchair philosophers
  • Science geeks who are into astronomy and physics
  • Anyone who’s ever wondered about the mysteries of life

The Beginning of Infinity

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch
Explanations That Transform the World
4.2 (145 ratings)

What's The Beginning of Infinity about?

Everyday, we benefit from huge advances in both scientific theory and practice. What triggered this progress? In The Beginning of Infinity (2011) – a journey through the fundamental fields of science and philosophy – physicist David Deutsch argues that all progress results from one single human activity: the quest for explanations. Human creativity opens up limitless opportunities for progress, making knowledge the “beginning of infinity.”

Who should read The Beginning of Infinity?

  • Fans of science and philosophy
  • Anyone fascinated by the power of knowledge and creativity
  • Readers interested in the future of our species

The God Equation

The God Equation

Michio Kaku
The Quest for a Theory of Everything
4.6 (301 ratings)

What's The God Equation about?

The God Equation (2021) is an approachable look at the history and present of theoretical physics. This primer untangles the science behind relativity, string theory, and the search for the elusive “theory of everything.”

Who should read The God Equation?

  • Science enthusiasts interested in the tiniest scales of physics
  • Freethinkers asking the big question about the universe
  • Anyone curious about the structure of reality

The Data Detective

The Data Detective

Tim Harford
Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics
4.5 (212 ratings)

What's The Data Detective about?

The Data Detective (2021) is a smart, practical guide to understanding the ways in which statistics –⁠ and our reactions to them –⁠ distort and obscure reality. Using psychological research and illuminating examples, it reveals some of the ways our brains influence how we see data and statistics and how we draw incorrect conclusions as a result. By picking apart our cognitive biases and misconceptions, we gain the ability to see data, and in turn, the world, for what it really is.

Who should read The Data Detective?

  • News and social media addicts
  • Avid consumers of scientific articles and research
  • Anyone who regularly comes into contact with data or statistics



James Gleick
The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
4.6 (128 ratings)

What's Genius about?

Genius (2011) charts the life and career of brilliant physicist Richard Feynman, from his formative upbringing to his remarkable and lasting contributions to science. Though he’s not as renowned as Albert Einstein, and has no groundbreaking theories to his name, Feynman did change the way scientists look at the world.

Who should read Genius?

  • Students and lovers of science
  • Curious problem solvers
  • History buffs

The Art of Statistics

The Art of Statistics

David Spiegelhalter
Learning from Data
4.4 (225 ratings)

What's The Art of Statistics about?

The Art of Statistics (2019) is a non-technical introduction to the basic concepts of statistical science. Sidelining abstract mathematical analyses in favor of a more human-oriented approach, it explains how statistical science is helping us to answer questions and tell more informative stories. Stepping beyond the numbers, it also considers the role that the media and psychological bias play in the distortion of statistical claims. In these blinks you’ll find the tools and knowledge needed to understand and evaluate these claims.

Who should read The Art of Statistics?

  • Statistics students looking for a non-technical overview of basic issues
  • Journalists who want to report statistics more accurately
  • Anyone who wants to better evaluate the statistical claims they encounter day-to-day

The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver
Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't
4.3 (112 ratings)

What's The Signal and the Noise about?

The Signal and the Noise explains why so many expert predictions today fail spectacularly, and what statistical and probability tools are more up to the task of predicting real-world phenomena.

Who should read The Signal and the Noise?

  • Anyone whose job involves making predictions or forecasts
  • Anyone who wants to know why the economy is so difficult to predict

The Great Mental Models Volume 3

The Great Mental Models Volume 3

Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice
Systems and Mathematics
4.3 (268 ratings)

What's The Great Mental Models Volume 3 about?

The Great Mental Models Volume 3 (2021) is the third book in a series that shows how mental models from various disciplines can be applied to make positive changes to your life. This volume focuses on mental models from systems and mathematics. It demonstrates how you can use cognitive tools to improve everything from decision-making and relationships to healthy eating and personal productivity.

Who should read The Great Mental Models Volume 3?

  • Decision-makers
  • Problem-solvers
  • The intellectually curious

The Emperor's New Mind

The Emperor's New Mind

Roger Penrose
Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics
4.6 (214 ratings)

What's The Emperor's New Mind about?

The Emperor’s New Mind (1989) is a timeless argument against the computability of the human mind. Taking you on a fascinating journey through math, computer science, philosophy, and physics, famous mathematician Roger Penrose explains what makes the human mind so special – and what quantum mechanics has to do with consciousness.

Who should read The Emperor's New Mind?

  • Math freaks and science geeks 
  • Hobby psychologists and armchair philosophers
  • Anyone concerned about a robot uprising

The Economist: Numbers Guide

The Economist: Numbers Guide

Richard Stutely & The Economist
The Essentials of Business Numeracy
4.0 (45 ratings)

What's The Economist: Numbers Guide about?

The Economist: Numbers Guide (1991) explores a variety of mathematical tools that are exceptionally useful across a range of business environments. These blinks reveal just how simple it is to manage risk by quantifying it, helping improve decision making in the process. The book’s mathematical notions are explained at a basic level, so no prior math knowledge is required.

Who should read The Economist: Numbers Guide?

  • Entrepreneurs wondering how to apply mathematical ideas to their business
  • Anyone seeking reliable tools for making decisions in uncertain business situations

The Master Algorithm

The Master Algorithm

Pedro Domingos
How The Quest For The Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
4.3 (96 ratings)

What's The Master Algorithm about?

Though you might not be aware of it, machine learning algorithms are already seeping into every aspect of human life, becoming more and more powerful as they continue to learn from an ever-increasing amount of data. The Master Algorithm (2016) provides a broad overview of what kind of algorithms are already out there, the problems they face, the solutions they can provide and how they’re going to revolutionize the future.

Who should read The Master Algorithm?

  • Entrepreneurs who want to connect producers and customers
  • Tech junkies interested in the next big technological evolution
  • Anyone concerned about how their personal data is being used

Numbers Rule Your World

Numbers Rule Your World

Kaiser Fung
The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do
4.1 (64 ratings)

What's Numbers Rule Your World about?

Numbers Rule Your World (2010) is a guide to statistical reasoning and how you can use concrete statistical information productively to understand as well as improve your world. These blinks walk the reader through the five key principles of statistics and how they can be applied to improve decision making in various contexts.

Who should read Numbers Rule Your World?

  • People interested in statistics and how they apply to everyday life
  • Anyone keen to reap the benefits of statistical thinking

When Einstein Walked with Gödel

When Einstein Walked with Gödel

Jim Holt
Excursions to the Edge of Thought
4.4 (228 ratings)

What's When Einstein Walked with Gödel about?

When Einstein Walked with Gödel (2018) is an excursion through both the fabric of our reality and the limits of scientific imagination. Combining math and physics with history and philosophy, it sheds light on some of the most important scientific theories of the last three centuries – and examines the turbulent lives of the geniuses who conceived them. 

Who should read When Einstein Walked with Gödel?

  • Laypeople who’d like to understand more about math and physics
  • Critical thinkers interested in the history and philosophy of science
  • Anyone who’d like to leave a big impression at their next cocktail party

The Book of Why

The Book of Why

Judea Pearl and Dana MacKenzie
The New Science of Cause and Effect
4.4 (68 ratings)

What's The Book of Why about?

The Book of Why (2018) introduces basic concepts of statistical methods of argumentation and makes the case for a mathematical model of causation. For decades, the mantra “correlation does not imply causation” has been hammered home by statisticians. The result has been stagnation in many forms of research, and this book aims to push back against this trend.

Who should read The Book of Why?

  • Followers of national news and government reports
  • Social scientists reliant on big data
  • Humanities students looking to break with dominant paradigms



James Gleick
Making a New Science
4.6 (251 ratings)

What's Chaos about?

Chaos (1987) delves into the most recent theoretical revolution in physics: chaos theory. In the 1970s, scientists began discovering that the world doesn’t behave as neatly as classical physics suggests. From the weather to animal populations to our heartbeats – irregularities, disorder, and chaos pervade our universe. And yet, there seems to be a strange order to the chaos of life. Chaos explores the history of this new science, revealing its startling findings, and pondering its implications.

Who should read Chaos?

  • Curious minds interested in unraveling the mysteries of the universe
  • People interested in the history of modern science
  • Anyone looking to understand and appreciate the chaos of life



Charles Seife
The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
4.4 (318 ratings)

What's Zero about?

Zero (2000) is the fascinating story of a number banned by the ancient Greeks and worshipped by ancient Indians. Zero – as well as its twin, infinity – is a number that’s been at the heart of both mathematics and philosophy over the centuries.

Who should read Zero?

  • Popular science enthusiasts
  • History buffs curious about how concepts have evolved over time
  • Philosophers interested in everything . . . and nothing



Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
The Art and Science of Prediction
4.0 (114 ratings)

What's Superforecasting about?

Based on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament, Superforecasting (2015) describes how to make your predictions more accurate, whether you’re trying to anticipate changes in the stock market, politics or daily life.

Who should read Superforecasting?

  • Those curious about how forecasting works
  • Critical thinkers
  • Businesspeople wanting to improve their predictions

How Not to Be Wrong

How Not to Be Wrong

Jordan Ellenberg
The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life
4.1 (112 ratings)

What's How Not to Be Wrong about?

How Not to Be Wrong gives us an intimate glimpse into how mathematicians think and how we can benefit from their way of thinking. It also explains how easily we can be mistaken when we apply mathematical tools incorrectly, and gives advice on how we can instead find correct solutions.

Who should read How Not to Be Wrong?

  • Anyone interested in math
  • Anyone interested in logic or philosophy
  • Anyone interested in seeing the equations behind everyday situations



Geoffrey West
The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies and Companies
4.1 (56 ratings)

What's Scale about?

Scale (2017) is a glimpse into the hidden and fascinating world of the mathematical relationships that tie the world together. The blinks describe how such laws connect everything from microscopic organisms to international metropolises, and what they can tell us about the behavior of complex systems.

Who should read Scale?

  • Physicists, biologists, mathematicians and economists
  • City planners, company owners and innovators
  • Environmentalists and anyone interested in sustainable development

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn
A groundbreaking study in how science progresses
4.3 (76 ratings)

What's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions about?

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) is a groundbreaking study in the history of science and philosophy. It explains how scientists conduct research and provides an interesting (if controversial) explanation of scientific progress.

Who should read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions?

  • Students of the sciences, philosophy and history
  • Participants in Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Books
  • Anyone who’s interested in the history of thought

A Mind for Numbers

A Mind for Numbers

Barbara Oakley
How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)
4.3 (161 ratings)

What's A Mind for Numbers about?

A Mind for Numbers offers insight into the way our brains take in and process information. It outlines strategies that can help you learn more effectively, especially when it comes to math and science. Even if mathematical or scientific concepts don’t come naturally to you, you can master them with the right kind of dedication and perseverance – and this book will teach you how.

Who should read A Mind for Numbers?

  • Anyone interested in math
  • Anyone interested in science
  • Anyone who wants to get better at studying and retaining information

The Knowledge Illusion

The Knowledge Illusion

Steven Sloman & Philip Fernbach
Why We Never Think Alone
4.6 (82 ratings)

What's The Knowledge Illusion about?

The Knowledge Illusion (2017) is an in-depth exploration of the human mind. It argues against the view that intelligence is solely an individual attribute, offering compelling arguments for how our success as a species would have been impossible without a community of knowledge.

Who should read The Knowledge Illusion?

  • Students of cognitive science
  • Know-it-alls
  • Aspiring intellectuals worried that they know too little

The Man Who Solved the Market

The Man Who Solved the Market

Gregory Zuckerman
How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
4.3 (173 ratings)

What's The Man Who Solved the Market about?

The Man Who Solved the Market (2019) traces the life of enigmatic hedge fund manager and mathematician Jim Simons. It chronicles his early life as a brilliant geometer who won awards for his math, to his work breaking Soviet codes, all the way through to his success with his hedge fund management firm Renaissance Technologies. Far more than just another investor, Simons changed the world with his math and methods.

Who should read The Man Who Solved the Market?

  • Anyone working in the world of finance
  • Business journalists
  • Mathematicians and geometers

The Mathematics of Love

The Mathematics of Love

Hannah Fry
Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation
3.7 (62 ratings)

What's The Mathematics of Love about?

Love is full of patterns – from the number of sexual partners we have to the way we select potential mates from dating websites. In The Mathematics of Love (2015), Hannah Fry sheds some light on these patterns and teaches you how to calculate your chances of finding The One, make a mathematical argument to justify approaching someone in a bar, and to use a mathematical trick to plan your wedding.

Who should read The Mathematics of Love?

  • Anyone interested in how mathematics can help them in the dating world
  • Romantics looking for The One

The Misbehavior of Markets

The Misbehavior of Markets

Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard L. Hudson
A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward
4.6 (45 ratings)

What's The Misbehavior of Markets about?

The financial theories you learn about in school are coherent, neat, convenient – and wrong. In fact, they’re so wrong that they might also be dangerous: in underestimating the risk of markets, we inadvertently set ourselves up for catastrophe. The Misbehavior of Markets lays out the flaws of economic orthodoxy, and offers a novel alternative: fractal geometry.

Who should read The Misbehavior of Markets?

  • Anyone who’s involved in finance
  • People wondering whether it's wise to put their finances in someone else’s hands
  • Those who find fractal images mesmerizing

In Pursuit of the Unknown

In Pursuit of the Unknown

Ian Stewart
17 Equations That Changed the World
4.4 (64 ratings)

What's In Pursuit of the Unknown about?

In this book, Ian Stewart focuses on 17 famous equations in mathematics and physics history, highlighting their impact on society. Stewart gives a brief history of the wonders of scientific discovery, and peppers it with vivid examples and anecdotes.

Who should read In Pursuit of the Unknown?

  • Anyone interested in how mathematical ideas affect science and society
  • Anyone who’s always been scared of complicated-looking formulas
  • Anyone fascinated by the beauty and hidden power of formulas

Lean Analytics

Lean Analytics

Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz
Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster
4.0 (77 ratings)

What's Lean Analytics about?

Lean Analytics (2013) offers key advice on how to successfully build your own start-up. It follows a data-based approach to explain how you can use effective metrics to help your organization grow.

Who should read Lean Analytics?

  • Start-up founders and entrepreneurs
  • Anyone looking to make their organization more effective
  • People who want to understand start-ups better

Don’t Trust Your Gut

Don’t Trust Your Gut

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life
3.9 (212 ratings)

What's Don’t Trust Your Gut about?

Don’t Trust Your Gut (2022) turns that tried-and-true wisdom about trusting your gut on its head. Not only does trusting your gut instinct often lead you to make the wrong decision, there’s a pretty foolproof method to ensure you make the right decision – analyzing the available data and acting on it.

Who should read Don’t Trust Your Gut?

  • Regretful impulsive decision-makers
  • Those so overwhelmed by decision-making that they rarely make any decisions
  • Anyone who’s ever resorted to a coin flip to make a particularly tricky decision



David Sumpter
Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game
3.9 (34 ratings)

What's Soccermatics about?

Soccermatics (2016) highlights the link between the world’s most popular sport and something slightly less popular – math. These blinks will show you how statistical models can help explain the beautiful game, from strategy on the field to tips for beating the spread.

Who should read Soccermatics?

  • Every soccer fan
  • People who want to predict scores
  • Anyone interested in applied mathematics or collective behavior



John Allen Paulos
Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
4.2 (31 ratings)

What's Innumeracy about?

Innumeracy (1988) explains how an aversion to math and numbers pervades both our private and public lives. By examining various real-life examples of innumeracy and its consequences, the book offers helpful solutions to combat this irrational and misguided fear of math.

Who should read Innumeracy?

  • Anyone convinced that they’re not a numbers person
  • People interested in everyday applications of math

Simply Complexity

Simply Complexity

Neil F. Johnson
A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory
3.9 (47 ratings)

What's Simply Complexity about?

In Simply Complexity, Neil F. Johnson presents an introduction to complexity theory, explaining what complex systems are, where we can spot them in everyday life and how we can benefit from understanding complexity. Although a young field, complexity science already offers us ways to help explain and potentially avoid complex phenomena, such as traffic jams, financial market crashes and modern warfare.

Who should read Simply Complexity?

  • Anyone interested in new explorations in science
  • Anyone intrigued by the increasing complexity of today’s world
  • Anyone who wants to better understand complex phenomena such as dating and warfare

The Model Thinker

The Model Thinker

Scott E. Page
What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You
3.9 (152 ratings)

What's The Model Thinker about?

The Model Thinker (2018) is a guide to using models to make data talk. In a world inundated with information, it sheds some much-needed light on the patterns underlying the noise – and points us toward the ways we can reveal those patterns for ourselves.

Who should read The Model Thinker?

  • Modeling novices interested in making sense of data
  • Future-focused leaders interested in predicting the next big thing
  • Anyone who wants to sound a little smarter at dinner parties

The Magic of Maths

The Magic of Maths

Arthur Benjamin
Solving for x and Figuring Out Why
4.2 (32 ratings)

What's The Magic of Maths about?

The Magic of Maths (2015) reveals the magic hidden within the fascinating world of mathematics. These blinks will show you the beautiful and often surprising patterns of mathematical observations, expand your knowledge of geometry and algebra, teach you numerical party tricks and illuminate the mysterious properties of numbers like π (pi).

Who should read The Magic of Maths?

  • Anyone interested in mathematical techniques, tricks and curiosities
  • Professional and hobby mathematicians

The Drunkard’s Walk

The Drunkard’s Walk

Leonard Mlodinow
How Randomness Rules Our Lives
3.9 (40 ratings)

What's The Drunkard’s Walk about?

This book is about the role randomness plays in our lives. It explores the historical roots of modern statistics and delves into fundamental mathematical principles to explain how – like a drunk person struggling to walk – much of our lives is dictated by pure chance.

Who should read The Drunkard’s Walk?

  • Anyone interested in science
  • Anyone interested in math or math history
  • Anyone interested in how people become successful

The Improbability Principle

The Improbability Principle

David J. Hand
Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day
4.1 (21 ratings)

What's The Improbability Principle about?

The Improbability Principle illuminates the scientific background of chance and probability. Ultimately it demonstrates that even those events which we would otherwise consider “miraculous” are actually to be expected, as long as we have the right information.

Who should read The Improbability Principle?

  • Anyone who’s interested in probability theory
  • Anyone who wants to know how probability affects our daily lives
  • Anyone who has ever seen an event so unlikely that it had to be a miracle



Stuart Firestein
How It Drives Science
3.8 (10 ratings)

What's Ignorance about?

Ignorance investigates the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method and reveals the importance of asking the right questions over the discovery of simple facts. Using real-life examples from history, Ignorance shows that it is our awareness of what we don’t know that drives scientific discovery.

Who should read Ignorance?

  • Anyone considering working in a laboratory or research facility
  • Anyone who wants to know how a scientist’s mind works
  • Anyone interested in the history of knowledge

The Half-Life of Facts

The Half-Life of Facts

Samuel Arbesman
Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date
3.9 (16 ratings)

What's The Half-Life of Facts about?

As we continue to accumulate knowledge, we begin to realize how often old ideas are overturned due to new facts that contradict them. The Half-Life of Facts explores how knowledge is created and how it permeates our world and personal lives. The book also gives some helpful advice on how to deal with our ever-changing world and regain a sense of control.

Who should read The Half-Life of Facts?

  • Anyone who feels the world is changing too fast
  • Anyone interested in understanding scientific and technological developments
  • Anyone who’s completely sure of one particular fact about the world

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