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I am preparing a list for my department library, consisting books of mathematics for general readers. I've included The men of mathematics by Bell, Fermat's last theorem by S.Singh , The man who knew infinity and The equation that couldn't be solved. But I need more books to add into my list. Can anyone suggest a few more, where mathematical development of certain concepts/problems or evolution is described in a lucid manner or contains mathematics which everyone can understand. Many thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ I've seen some pretty good popularizations on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. ${}\qquad{}$ $\endgroup$ Nov 23, 2015 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ I do not understand why this question has been closed. It is not asking for "the best" mathematics book. Just for some recommendations. How is this different from asking for a book recommendation on, say, Linear Algebra? $\endgroup$
    – Mathmo123
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Mathmo123: Any book recommendation will by definition be opinion-based, but this does not mean it is not useful. Such questions should be allowed. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2015 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ I need to make a list so I asked here, and so far I am having good responses, so this question should be allowed. I need more suggestions. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2015 at 9:52

5 Answers 5

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I would recommend these books:

Journey through Genius

Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula

Prime Obsession

The Music of the Primes

Gödel's Proof (by Ernest Nagel)

The Code Book

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Here are some examples:

  • Ian Roulstone, John Norbury: Invisible in the Storm: The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather
  • Vladimir Arnold: Catastrophe Theory
  • Julian Havil: GAMMA
  • David Harel: Computers Ltd
  • George Szpiro: Kepler's Conjecture
  • Malba Tahan: The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures.
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My recommendations

  1. Taming the infinite by Ian Stewart.
  2. The great mathematical problems by Ian Stewart.
  3. Does God play dice by Mario Livio
  4. Golden Ratio by Mario Livio
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I've only read the first couple chapters (so far), but I really like the Springer Undergrad Texts in Mathematics book

Mathematics and its History by John Stillwell

Also, I don't think you can do wrong with Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica - 'twas the book that first roused my interest in matters physick and mathematick.

As well, I don't think one can do better than in the biography department than to walk out with Gauss's life story under his arm. Carl Friedrich Gauss - Titan of Science served as a most pleasant pre-bedtime adventure for a wonderful week of my life.

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Mathematics by David Bergamini is good. Some of it (especially the parts about computers) is dated, but much of it is just as valid today as it ever was.

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