Mathematics Reading List
following is a list of books that you might find useful to buy or
borrow from a library (some may be out of print). Be selective, but try
to find ones that challenge your mathematical thinking. The list is in
the following sections:
S. (1999) The Study Skills Handbook, Macmillan
Press Ltd, Basingstoke & London. A general guide to study
skills with useful checklists
Use the comments button to email comments and star rating (1–5) or
suggestions for additions to this list.
Kahn. P. (2001) Studying Mathematics and its Applications,
Palgrave, Wokingham. Advice on how to study and apply complex
mathematical ideas with exercises and extension material..
Northedge. A., Thomas. J., Peasgood. A. (1997) The Sciences
Good Study Guide, The Open University, Milton Keynes. A study
guide for students of science, technology and engineering with a basic
(sub A–level) mathematics help section.
P. (1996) Teach Yourself Algebra, Teach Yourself,
Abbott, P. Neill, Hugh (1997) Teach Yourself Calculus,
Teach Yourself, London
Abbott, P. Neill, Hugh (Ed) (1998) Teach Yourself Trigonometry,
Teach Yourself, London
Graham, Alan (1999) Teach Yourself Statistics,
Teach Yourself, London
Graham. L., Sargent.D., (1981) Countdown to Mathematics
Vol 1 and Vol 2, Addison–Wesley Publishers Ltd in association with Open
University Press, Wokingham. Vol 1 arithmetic, simple algebra, graphs,
representing data; Vol 2 algebra, trigonometry.
There are plenty of other mathematics textbooks around; look in
bookshops and libraries until you find one that suits your needs (maybe
lots of practice exercises at your level and beyond, perhaps offering
straightforward or multiple explanations). Some revision guides can be
succinct yet informative enough to refresh your understanding
D (2002),1089 and all that, Oxford University Press, Oxford. A little
book of mathematical puzzles and other delights.
Barrow, John D. (1993) Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking and
Being, Penguin, London. The author discusses rival views of
where maths comes from and how it is done.
Blastland, M (2007) The Tiger that Isn't, Profile Books, London.
Illustrates how to understand numbers in the media with many everyday
Doxiadis, Apostolos (2000) Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s
Conjecture Faber & Faber, London. Though this is a
work of fiction, it is a story of the search for a solution to a famous
problem and of the possible pitfalls in a research project that is too
restricted in its outlook. There is a mix of humour, pathos and
Eastaway, Rob & Wyndham, Jeremy (1998) Why Do Buses
Come in Threes?, Robson Books, London. Practical uses for
probability theory, Fibonacci series, matrices, Venn Diagrams, prime
numbers and more.
Eastaway, Rob & Wyndham, Jeremy (2002) How long is a
piece of string?, Robson Books, London. More on the hidden
mathematics of everyday life.
Flannery, Sarah (2000) In Code: A Mathematical Journey,
Profile Books, London. This is a book about growing up in a
mathematical household written when Sarah was a teenager. It includes
some problems with solutions and explanations.
Guillen, Michael (1995) Five Equations that Changed the World,
Abacus, London. Tells the stories of five of the most important
mathematicians and scientists in history and gives the background to
their discoveries of ‘world changing’ equations.
Guedji, Dennis (1998) Numbers the Universal Language,
Thames & Hudson, London. Small book with good illustrations and
extracts from historic documents.
Hoffman, Paul (1998) The Man Who Loved Only Numbers,
Fourth Estate, London. The story of Paul Erdös and the search for
Huntley, H.E. (1970) The Divine Proportion A Study in
Mathematical Beauty, Dover, New York. Topics more or less
directly connected with the ‘Golden Section’ or ratio.
Ifrah, Georges (1998) The Universal History of Numbers, The Harvill
Press, London. About the history of numbers and counting from
pre–history to the age of computers.
Paulus, John Allen (1990) Innumeracy Mathematical Illiteracy
and its Consequences, Penguin, London.
Real–world examples of innumeracy – stock scams, medical claims, risk
perception, election statistics and more.
Peterson, Ivars (2001) The Mathematical Tourist: New and
Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics, Palgrave,
Pólya.G (1990) How to Solve It, Penguin, London.
The classic text on mathematical problem solving with helpful forward
by Ian Stewart.
Salsburg, D (2001) The Lady Tasting Tea, Henry Holt and Co., New York.
The story of twentieth century statistics
Singh, Simon (2000) The Code Book Fourth Estate,
London. A history of codes and ciphers and their modern applications in
Singh, Simon (1998) Fermat’s Last Theorem Fourth
Estate, London. An account of Andrew Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last
Theorem, but it touches on many of the problems that have interested
mathematicians over the centuries.
Stewart, Ian (1996) From Here to Infinity, Oxford
University Press, Oxford. An introduction to how mathematics is
developing today, it shows how many ideas, old and new, can be
important in answering questions in today’s world.
Stewart, Ian (1997) Does God Play Dice? Penguin,
London. An introduction to the field of chaos, it gives an insight into
the mathematics behind fractals as well as many other situations where
you can find chaotic behaviour.
Stewart, Ian (1998) The Magical Maze: seeing the world
through mathematical eyes, Orion Paperback , London.
Stewart, Ian (1998) Nature’s Numbers: discovering order and
pattern in the universe, Orion Paperback, London.
Wilson, Robin (2002) Four Colours: How the Map Problem was
Solved, Allen lane Science. An account of proving the
four–colour conjecture that has at last been achieved with the aid of a
R. and Robbins, H. (revised by Ian Stewart) (1996) What is
Mathematics? Oxford University Press, Oxford. This is a
classic book, covering a broad spectrum of fundamental mathematical
ideas. It has been updated to describe mathematical developments such
as the proof of the Four Colour Theorem and Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Fauvel, John & Gray, Jeremy (1987) The History of
Mathematics: A Reader, Macmillan Education with The Open
University, Basingstoke. Readings from a wide variety of sources to
show the nature and development of mathematics from the earliest time
to the twentieth century.
Hogben, Lancelot (1968) Mathematics for the Millions, The
Merlin Press, London. From pre–history arithmetic to calculus with
exercises and problems.
Gardner, Martin (2001) The Colossal Book of Mathematics,
Norton, New York & London. Number theory, algebra, geometry,
probability, topology, game theory, infinity, and other topics of
Kuhn, Harold W (Ed) (2002) The Essential John Nash,
Princeton University Press. This book explains Nash’s work and reprints
his most famous papers.
Simmons, George F. (1991) Calculus Gems: Brief Lives and
Memorable Mathematics McGraw–Hill, Berkshire. This book
includes brief lives of 33 important mathematicians. They are followed
by 26 notes on significant moments in maths, from Pythagoras’ theorem
to rocket propulsion.
are several mathematical dictionaries available. Some are more
technical, giving definitions in symbols and words, whereas others give
explanations in words and include short biographies of mathematicians.
Choose one that suits you.