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Marcus du Sautoy's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Marcus du Sautoy recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Marcus du Sautoy's favorite book recommendations of all time.



An Epic Search for Truth

An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.
This graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, he crosses paths with thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert & Kurt Gödel, & finds a passionate student in Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Thru love & hate, peace & war, he persists in the mission threatening to claim both his career...
Recommended by Marcus du Sautoy, and 1 others.

Marcus du SautoyThis is quite a recent publication and I saw the first inklings of this graphic novel when I went to a meeting in Mykonos on maths and narrative and it really looked an incredibly exciting project. I enjoy the graphic novel as an art form and I’ve always enjoyed Tintin and this has a very Tintinesque line to it, the illustration. But it brings alive one of the great stories of 20th-century... (Source)

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". . . full of intellectual treats and tricks, of whimsy and deep scientific philosophy. It is highbrow entertainment at its best, a teasing challenge to all who aspire to think about the universe." — New York Herald Tribune
One of the world's foremost nuclear physicists (celebrated for his theory of radioactive decay, among other accomplishments), George Gamow possessed the unique ability of making the world of science accessible to the general reader.
He brings that ability to bear in this delightful expedition through the problems, pleasures, and puzzles of modern...
Recommended by Marcus du Sautoy, and 1 others.

Marcus du SautoyYes, one of the things that really excited me when I read this – again when I was at school – was this idea of infinity. Gamow was a physicist first of all: Mathematics is the language of physics and you can see that through this book. It was where I read for the first time the idea that there could be different sorts of infinity and that was just mind-blowing. I thought infinity was something... (Source)

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A Disappearing Number

Winner of the 2008 Olivier Award for Best New Play

“With touching emotion and unnerving disquietude, A Disappearing Number forces the spectator to consider the fact of love, death and belonging, within the space of his or her own personal universe.”—New Statesman
Recommended by Marcus du Sautoy, and 1 others.

Marcus du SautoyThe captivating thing about this story is it’s really a mathematical love affair between GH Hardy – Cambridge mathematician, English – and this Indian mathematician, Ramanujan, who had no formal training but somehow had this extraordinary way of thinking about mathematics. And they saw it in such different ways and they came from such different cultures, yet mathematics was this common language... (Source)

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A Mathematician's Apology

Written in 1940 as his mathematical powers were declining, G.H. Hardy's apology offers an engaging account of the thoughts of a man known for his eccentricities as well as his brilliance in mathematics. less
Recommended by Marcus du Sautoy, and 1 others.

Marcus du SautoyYes, it really appealed to me when I read it as a kid because I was interested in music, I played the trumpet, I loved doing theatre, and somehow GH Hardy in that book revealed to me how much mathematics is a creative art as much as a useful science. In fact he probably goes further, he really revels in the beauty of the subject and says he’s not particularly interested in the applications. That... (Source)

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The Glass Bead Game

The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, 'The Glass Bead Game' is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature.

Set in the 23rd century, 'The Glass Bead Game' is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since his childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music,...

Tyler CowenThis is about the beauty of organised structures and how we play them in game-like fashion and how much they entrance us. (Source)

Marcus du SautoyThere’s the ideas of mathematics, of philosophy, of music all brought together in this game, the glass bead game. (Source)

Igor DebaturQuestion: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why? Answer: The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche The Castle by Franz Kafka 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Source)

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