Eugenia Cheng, author of Is Maths Real?: How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics’ Deepest Truths recommends a super stack of books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Eugenia's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead and Live Without Barriers, by Jo Boaler
I love this book because it provides actual data and evidence for things that I (like many math educators) have long believed from experience and logic - that math is not a fixed biological ability, that everyone can get better at it if helped in the right way, and that the rigid test-based educational methods are counter-productive for many students and are serving to exclude people.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
The Gendered Brain: The New Neuroscience that Shatters the Myth of the Female Brain, by Gina Rippon
I liked this book for similar reasons to the above: that it provides a scientific basis for things I've long believed by experience and logic. The main point is that brains are plastic, and are shaped by use and environment. Brains may be gendered, but that's to be expected because society is gendered, not because of biological pre-destination.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Pride and Prejudice. I re-read it once or twice a year! I love the wry commentary on society, which is still so relevant, and also Jane Austen's beautiful turn of phrase.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I prefer reading on paper because I often need to flick back and forth to recap things. However, I love the convenience of e-books when I'm traveling. Carrying one e-reader around is so much easier than carrying a stack of books, plus it means I don't have to decide in advance what I want to read. I also like the fact that I can hold the e-reader in one hand and a drink in the other.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
Sandmeyer's is my local family-run independent bookstore in Chicago and they are wonderful. They have been big supporters of my books ever since my first one, doing all my launches, and doing virtual signings during the pandemic. Anyone can order a signed book from me, by ordering it from Sandmeyer's and requesting an autograph - then I just pop in and sign it before it ships.
Many thanks to Eugenia for recommending a super stack of books! Please don't forget to check out Is Maths Real?: How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics’ Deepest Truths.
Image Copyrights: Profile Books Ltd (Is Maths Real?), HarperCollins Publishers (Limitless Mind), Vintage Publishing (The Gendered Brain), Penguin Group (Pride and Prejudice).