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an inclusive vision of what mathematics is, who it's for,
and why anyone should learn it

In bookstores or order at:                                     

Translated into Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Turkish, Chinese (traditional, simplified), Japanese, Korean


"A good book is an entertaining read. A great book holds up a mirror that allows us to more clearly see ourselves and the world we live in. Francis Su’s Mathematics for Human Flourishing is both a good book and a great book."

MAA Reviews

Book Review 

March 29, 2020

Harvard Magazine - Francis Su

"The book is filled with thought-provoking and inspiring statements... by no means a traditional math book."

"True to the spirit of his book, his exposition is deeply human-centered..."

"Like mathematics itself, Su's book is for everyone."

Harvard Magazine

Book Review 

Dec 20, 2019


"Unconventional... an invitation and a manifesto."

Scientific American

Book Review 

Mar 3, 2020

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"Su’s talent for public speaking lies is in this unique ability to talk about high-level ideas and connecting to them in a deeply personal level."

JMM Blog

About the speech that gave rise to the book

January 7, 2017

Inside Higher Ed review

"I don't much like the word 'inspiring', but damned if I can think of a more suitable word for this book."

Inside Higher Ed

Book Review 

Jan 3, 2020


"Easy to read, funny, and clever, Mathematics for Human Flourishing not only makes a case for the beauty of math, it also promotes a view of education that is deeply human and inspiring."

Kenan Institute for Ethics
at Duke University

Book Review 

Dec 2020

Wired Magazine - Francis Su

"The mathematician who will make you fall in love with numbers."

Wired Magazine

Interview after the JMM speech

Feb 5, 2017

Su JMM lecture

"Profound and wide-ranging, Su’s lecture is difficult to summarize, but let me try: Mathematics can transform the human heart, turning it toward compassion."

AMS Notices

About the speech that gave rise to the book.

May 2017

interview with QUANTA magazine
 "what is human flourishing?"


Global Math Project

"This is perhaps the most important mathematics book of our time.
Francis Su shows mathematics is an experience of the mind and, most important, of the heart.”

Mathematics for human flourishing

From Yale Press:


For mathematician Francis Su, a society without mathematical affection is like a city without concerts, parks, or museums. To miss out on mathematics is to live without experiencing some of humanity’s most beautiful ideas.

In this profound book, written for a wide audience but especially for those disenchanted by their past experiences, an award-winning mathematician and educator weaves parables, puzzles, and personal reflections to show how mathematics meets basic human desires—such as for play, beauty, freedom, justice, and love—and cultivates virtues essential for human flourishing. These desires and virtues, and the stories told here, reveal how mathematics is intimately tied to being human. Some lessons emerge from those who have struggled, including philosopher Simone Weil, whose own mathematical contributions were overshadowed by her brother’s, and Christopher Jackson, who discovered mathematics as an inmate in a federal prison. Christopher’s letters to the author appear throughout the book and show how this intellectual pursuit can—and must—be open to all.

Reflection & Action

Ways you can go deeper.



Links to References

Notes with live hyperlinks to the bibliographic references in each chapter.



Starting Conversation

100 questions for reflection. Gather friends, read the book, discuss. #Math4HF



That Inspired The Book

Addressed to a conference of mathematicians.

about the author

Francis Su writes about the dignity of human beings and the wonder of mathematical teaching.  He is the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2013, he received the Haimo Award, a nationwide teaching prize for college math faculty, and in 2018 he won the Halmos-Ford writing award for the highly-acclaimed speech that formed the basis for his book Mathematics for Human Flourishing. His work has been featured in Quanta MagazineWired, and the New York Times.

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