Other books I like (not maths)

This isn’t a page of maths books – in fact mostly they are totally unrelated to maths. But sometimes people ask me what other books I’ve read and enjoyed, so if they appealed to me perhaps you’ll like them too! There is a broad theme of pyschology/philosophy and personal development here, because success in maths, and most other things, requires a lot more than just technical knowledge.

All the images contain Amazon links so please use them to buy the books if this has been useful to you!

Many of these books are also great as Audiobooks – get a free trial of Audible here:

The Examined Life – How We Lose and Find Ourselves – Stephen Grosz

An experienced psychoanalyst recalls a collection of encounters with clients that beautifully illuminate the human experience. Because sometimes the toughest problems we have to solve are nothing to do with mathematics.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig

A story of a father and son taking a road trip across America, but mostly actually a book about philosophy, this is an exciting and compelling book about relationships, values, and eventually, enlightenment and the meaning of our existence.

The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

Josh Waitzkin was a young chess prodigy who mastered the game and then also went on to master the martial art of tai-chi. In this incredibly insightful book he explores the commonalities between learning a physical and a mental discipline. This is learning how to learn at its very best. I listened to this as an Audiobook and the author’s narration was excellent too – click here for a free trial of Audible.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanahigara

I was in two minds about whether to include this – it’s the least about mathematics here, but it does include some mathematical insights through the experience of one of the characters and it’s important to read some fiction sometimes too! But it’s also just an incredibly gripping and enlightening novel – very dark in places, an honest and uncompromising account of many forms of the human condition so it has made it into my list.

Search Inside Yourself – Chade-Meng Tan

Mindfulness has really helped me in all sorts of ways. This is a mindfulness book that might particularly appeal to mathematicians – written by Google’s happiness engineer and a bit more aimed at mindfulness for productivity than some other books I’ve read on the subject.

Emotional Intelligence – Why it Can Matter More than IQ – Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman argues in this exceptional book that we need to look beyond the traditional metrics of intelligence when we look at the predictors of success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all as important for success in a wide range of applications and this book picks ideas apart with exceptional clarity.

Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

This book picks apart some fascinating ways that people make errors in reasoning and how even educated brains be tricked in coming to the wrong conclusions. Essential reasoning to overcome natural error and prejudice that can occur even when we think we are being logical and incudes a lot of practical advice to make better decisions both in work and personal situations.