Recommended Books in Computers, Gambling, and Mathematics
I hope you have enjoyed my book
Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win.
If so, you may also enjoy some of my favorite books on related topics in
and computer science.
I have also listed the funniest books I know,
in case you liked my sense of humor.
Gambling is, by definition, an activity designed to make money for
the people running the activity.
Note that this does not include me or you.
Still, gambling is a fascinating activity, and perhaps the most
popular application of mathematics for the layman.
Writers are sometimes asked which books influenced them the most.
These books are the funniest I have ever read, and I hope you can see some
of their influence in
The Most of P. G. Wodehouse by P. G. Wodehouse --
I find everything written by Wodehouse to be extremely funny, particularly
the Jeeves and Psmith stories.
But it is very hard to explain why.
The plots are completely forgettable and
every story is exactly the same. Indeed I often get to the end of
a book before I realize I have read it before.
Still, this is the man I turn to when I need a laugh.
Read him for yourself to see why.
Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need
by Dave Barry -- I also laugh at everything Dave Barry writes, but
at least I know why.
It is the subtlety which he moves from a pithy observation about the
human condition into the ridiculous.
I see it coming, but he gets me every time.
Wilkes: His Life and Crimes by Winston Schoonover --
This tale of the world's most corrupt lawyer will have you
laughing and cheering as he fleeces clients and fights with judges.
As a bonus, it captures the pulse of New York City better than
Bonfire of the Vanities or any other NY novel I'm aware of.
The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book
by Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris --
This book is a hoot, a very special book you don't have to be a baseball fan
Indeed, just like the movie
Field of Dreams it has less to do with baseball than it does about life.
The blurbs next to each of the pictured cards are priceless.
Implementing Discrete Mathematics : Combinatorics and Graph Theory
by Steven Skiena --
A tour of discrete mathematics through my computer program
Any math/CS-type who liked
Calculated Bets may well like
my discrete mathematics book as well.
Be on the look out for a new edition, to be published by Cambridge University
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
by Edward R. Tufte --
This is a guide to producing clear, coherent mathematical graphics.
It will change the way you look at data presented in graphs, tables, and
A book that is beautiful to look at, as well as truly thought provoking.
Men of Mathematics by Eric Temple Bell --
The most enjoyable and inspiring history of mathematics ever written.
Like any good writer, he takes just enough liberties with the truth to tell
the most enlightening possible tale.
The Algorithm Design Manual
by Steven Skiena --
A fun and practical introduction to the design of algorithms.
It focuses on problems which arise in practice, and contains war
stories showing the impact of algorithm design in the real world.
Any programmer/computer scientist who liked
Calculated Bets will like
my algorithms book as well.
The Art of Computer Programming by Don Knuth --
This is the collection of books that turned computer science
into an intellectually exciting discipline.
I get the sense that my students today are less familiar with Knuth's books
than in the previous generation, but they are much poorer for it in
understanding the interplay between mathematics and computing.
Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley --
Terrific little essays on programming and algorithms by a master.
Fun to read and easy to absorb.
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
by Frederick P. Brooks --
I've heard software engineering compared with teaching children to brush
But this is a software engineering book that is easy to sink your teeth into,
consisting of interesting and enlightening essays on the fundamental
aspects of building large software systems.