This page contains books that are definitely about maths, but are mostly quite readable, and don’t contain too much maths – or if there is maths it’s the sort of maths you’re meant to read through rather than stopping to do exercises. Many students include these sorts of books in their UCAS personal statements, but they’re also great choices as gifts for anyone who likes maths or enjoys thinking about the world around them. I was really torn as to whether to put my favourite books (Math Girls) here as they also make amazing gifts for mathematical GCSE and A-level students, but decided they have enough maths to go on this page instead.
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:
Hannah Fry books:
Hello World is a very accessible introduction to the every growing field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus is an interesting and amusing book with a very seasonal theme!
Kit Yates – The Maths of Life and Death
An excellent book about maths in everyday life, from modelling diseases, to interesting legal cases and understanding statistics in the media. I also made a full video review of this book!
Simon Singh books:
Fermat’s Last Theorem has inspired many students to study the subject. A word of warning – so many students include it on their UCAS personal statements that you might want to think about including something else!
But all these books are entertaining, interesting and inspiring. I think my favourite of these Simon Singh books is The Code Book, but all are worth a look!
David Spiegelhalter is the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge and writes excellent, readable books about statistics and understanding rusk!
Ian Stewart has inspired so many students to study maths and written a lot of popular maths books. Here are two fairly recent ones – contains a little more maths than some of the other books here but still very readable.
Rob Eastaway is another great popular maths author who has written a number of books including Why do Buses Come in Threes and Maths on the Back of an Envelope.
Alex Bellos explores a lot of the maths of everyday life in his very readable books Alex’s Adventures in Numberland and Alex Through the Looking Glass.
Paul Hoffman – The Man Who Loved Only Numbers
A highly readable and well ragarded biography of mathematician Paul Erdos, a mathematician so prolifically published that mathematicians sometimes rate themselves by their ‘Erdos number‘.
Marcus du Sautoy’s writes wonderful popular mathematics books, including The Music of the Primes, about the famously unsolved and important Riemann Hypothesis, and Finding Moonshine about the role and appeal of symmetry in mathematics and elsewhere.
Matt Parker’s books are both interesting and entertaining, combining his talents as mathematician and stand-up comedian.
Eugenia Cheng books:
The Art of Logic shows how mathematical logic can help you see a range of real world situations more clearly, and How to Bake Pi illuminates makes some deep points about the underlying principles and philosophies of maths through some entertaining baking analogies!