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10 Best Mathematics Books to Read in 2023


Mathematics, often hailed as the universal language, is the foundation of countless scientific discoveries and technological advancements. It allows us to understand the fundamental principles that govern our world. If you possess a passion for exploring the beauty and power of mathematical concepts, consider Oxford Summer Courses. Embark on a transformative journey through our Mathematics summer school, where you will delve deep into the world of numbers, equations, and mathematical reasoning.


Please note that the following list of resources is recommended reading to broaden your knowledge and deepen your appreciation of Mathematics. While some of these resources may be included in the Oxford Summer Courses curriculum, the specific content of the summer school can vary. If you wish to study Mathematics with us, you can apply to our summer school.


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1. "Principia Mathematica" by Isaac Newton

  • "In mathematics, there are more numbers than nouns."
  • Published in 1687, "Principia Mathematica" by Isaac Newton has long been considered a foundational work in the field of mathematics. This masterpiece laid the groundwork for classical mechanics, calculus, and our understanding of the physical universe.
  • Discussion: How do Newton's mathematical principles continue to shape our understanding of the natural world?

2. "Elements" by Euclid

  • "There is no royal road to geometry."
  • Set in ancient Greece, Euclid's "Elements" is a fundamental treatise on mathematics. This work, composed around 300 BCE, covers geometry and number theory, serving as a cornerstone for mathematical education for centuries.
  • Discussion: How does Euclid's approach to geometry in "Elements" still influence modern mathematics and education?

3. "The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity" by Steven Strogatz

  • "Mathematics, more than any other art form, reveals the structure of things."
  • "The Joy of X" is a contemporary masterpiece by Steven Strogatz that explores mathematics in an engaging and accessible manner. It delves into various mathematical concepts, from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus, making it suitable for readers of all mathematical backgrounds.
  • Discussion: How does "The Joy of X" make complex mathematical concepts relatable to a broader audience?

4. "The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography" by Simon Singh

  • "Cryptography is the science of protecting information by transforming it into an unreadable format."
  • Simon Singh's "The Code Book" takes readers on a historical journey through the world of cryptography. From ancient ciphers to quantum cryptography, this book uncovers the secrets behind codes and code-breaking.
  • Discussion: How has the evolution of cryptography, as explored in "The Code Book," influenced modern technology and security?

5. "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin A. Abbott

  • "Do not all charms fly at the mere touch of cold philosophy?"
  • "Flatland" is a unique mathematical novella written by Edwin A. Abbott in 1884. It explores the concept of higher dimensions through the perspective of a two-dimensional world inhabited by geometric shapes.
  • Discussion: How does "Flatland" challenge our perception of reality and dimensions, and what relevance does it hold in modern mathematics?

6. "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas Hofstadter

  • "The 'strange loop' phenomenon occurs whenever, by moving upwards (or downwards) through the levels of some hierarchical system, we unexpectedly find ourselves right back where we started."
  • Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Gödel, Escher, Bach," intertwines mathematics, art, and music in an exploration of self-reference and the nature of intelligence.
  • Discussion: How does "Gödel, Escher, Bach" encourage interdisciplinary thinking and its impact on creativity and problem-solving?

7. "A Mathematician's Apology" by G. H. Hardy

  • "A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns."
  • G. H. Hardy's "A Mathematician's Apology" is a reflection on the aesthetics of mathematics and the role of pure mathematics in the scientific world.
  • Discussion: How does Hardy's perspective on the beauty of mathematics in "A Mathematician's Apology" influence our appreciation of abstract mathematical concepts?

8. "The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan" by Robert Kanigel

  • "An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God."
  • "The Man Who Knew Infinity" tells the inspiring story of the self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his groundbreaking contributions to number theory.
  • Discussion: How does Ramanujan's life and work, as depicted in "The Man Who Knew Infinity," inspire future generations of mathematicians?

9. "How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking" by Jordan Ellenberg

  • "The difference between a good mathematician and a bad one is the ability to see analogies between theorems."
  • In "How Not to Be Wrong," Jordan Ellenberg explores the practical applications of mathematics in everyday life, demonstrating how mathematical thinking can lead to better decision-making.
  • Discussion: How does "How Not to Be Wrong" illustrate the real-world relevance of mathematical concepts and problem-solving?

10. "Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem" by Simon Singh

  • "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it."
  • "Fermat's Enigma" explores the history and eventual proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, a mathematical problem that remained unsolved for centuries.
  • Discussion: How does the journey to solve Fermat's Last Theorem, as detailed in "Fermat's Enigma," exemplify the perseverance and collaborative nature of mathematics?


Oxford Summer Courses invites you to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of mathematics. In this blog post, we present a meticulously curated list of 10 classic and contemporary books that will ignite your mathematical imagination and deepen your understanding of this captivating field. From the foundational works of Newton and Euclid to modern explorations of cryptography and mathematical thinking, these books will transport you to different realms of mathematics. Through our Mathematics programme, you will have the opportunity to explore and discuss these influential texts, gaining valuable insights into the power of mathematical thought. Join us on this mathematical odyssey and embark on a transformative journey that will shape your appreciation for the world of numbers, patterns, and problem-solving.


Apply now to study Mathematics at Oxford Summer Courses and elevate your mathematical education to new heights. Join a community of motivated learners from around the world and embark on a transformative mathematical experience. Apply here.

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Ignite your passion for mathematics at Oxford Summer Courses. Immerse yourself in a carefully selected list of books that delve into mathematical concepts, theories, and their real-world applications. Gain valuable insights from experts in the field and embark on a transformative journey to enhance your knowledge of mathematics.

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