Mathematics for Human Flourishing
Resources & REadings
While my book was written for a wide audience of nonspecialists, these resources may be of interest if you want to dig further, or if you are doing a book discussion group, or if you are a teacher. If you have resources you'd like me to consider for this page that could be useful to others, contact me.
Carl Olsen designed these gorgeous chapteropening icons for the book.
Click them to move quickly to a chapter theme.
1
flourishing

Readers may be interested in the original speech on which this book is based. The audience was a group of mathematicians rather than the general public.
Mentioned in the book:

Sylvie Weil (daughter of André Weil) has written a memoir about the relationship between Simone and André in At Home with André and Simone Weil.

Two recent calls for change in mathematics education, both worth reading closely:

A Common Vision for Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences Programs in 2025, by the Mathematical Association of America (2015)

Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations, by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2018).

2
exploration

Exploratory learning is the heart of inquirybased learning. The Academy of Inquiry Based Learning provides resources and training for teachers at all levels to facilitate this type of learning.

Tracy Johnston Zager helps K8 teachers see and teach math the way professional mathematicians think about it: full of inquiry, exploration, taking risks, asking good questions, in Becoming The Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had.
Mentioned the book:

You can read more about the mathematical aspects of rings of Saturn.

Everyone should read Paul Lockhart’s “A Mathematician’s Lament.” There is also a booklength version.

Achi and other games from Africa can be found in physical form in the MIND Research Institute’s South of the Sahara game box. Claudia Zaslavsky has two books: Math Games & Activities from Around the World and a sequel.

Lots of wisdom about math teaching, including its human aspects, can be found on teacher Fawn Nguyen's blog.

The Art of ProblemSolving website is an excellent resource for interesting problems.

Math teacher Ben Orlin illuminates exploration, and so much more about math, through hilarious comics in Math With Bad Drawings.
3
play

Sunil Singh and Chris Brownell show how play is central to math teaching in their recent book: Math Recess: Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption.
4
meaning

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5
beauty

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6
permanence

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7
truth

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8
struggle

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9
power

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justice

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11
freedom

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Epigraph 1. Helen Keller, The Story of My Life (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1905), 39.

Epigraph 2. Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), 152.

1. To learn some of his shortcuts, see Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer, Secrets of Mental Math (New York: Three Rivers, 2006).

2. This shortcut for multiplying by 11 will require a “carry” if the sum of the digits is 10 or more. For instance, to compute 75 Å~ 11, you should add 7 and 5 to get 12, put the 2 between the 7 and the 5, and then carry the 1 by adding it to the 7, to get 8. Thus, the answer is 825. If you know some algebra, you can use it to show why the shortcut works: the number 10a + b is the number with digits a and b. Then (10a + b) Å~ 11 = 110a + 11b = 100a + 10(a + b) + b. This last expression does indeed suggest adding the two digits and putting their sum between them.

3. Georg Cantor, “Foundations of a General Theory of Manifolds: A MathematicoPhilosophical Investigation into the Theory of the Infinite,” trans. William Ewald, in From Kant to Hilbert: A Source Book in the Foundations of Mathematics, ed. Ewald (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), vol. 2, 896 (Åò8). Italics in the original.

4. Evelyn Lamb, “A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Infinite Earring,” Roots of Unity (blog), Scientific American, July 31, 2015,

5. J. W. Alexander, “An Example of a Simply Connected Surface Bounding a Region Which Is Not Simply Connected,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 10, no. 1 (January 1924):8–10.
12
community

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13
love

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7
truth

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