Sunday, April 07, 2013

My favorite books and CRC Press Update

CRC Press open letter update

Last week I wrote an open letter to CRC Press because they used a photo of mine without my permission. Not too long after I received a very kind and well written response from them - politely offering "as a measure of goodwill"
$300 worth of books from CRC Press
I'm impressed with the speed, and manner in which they read and replied to my letter. I'll have to speak with my lawyer friends before responding officially though.

In the meantime, I thought I might use this post to talk about a few physical books that I'd recommend reading.

The Almagest by Ptolmey, first chapter

It is a scientific analysis of the Earth's position in the universe that is mostly rigorous and entirely consistent with itself (as far as I can tell). Using basic geometry and Aristottle's laws of motion Ptolemy demonstrates that the Earth is a sphere, that it is definitely not spinning at all, and that there is a celestial sphere with stars on it really far away. I couldn't understand anything past the first chapter.


This is a good fun read (I haven't read it in a while). Also its fiction ... folks love fiction.

Information Theory by Gordon Raisbeck

An understanding of information theory paved the road for the Internet as we know it. It is just about 100 pages so really tiny. Also, you can buy this old book for like a dollar which is amazing.

Visual Complex Analysis, by Tristan Needham

This is my all time favorite book. It reduces a complex topic to basic geometry! Read this and you will never see imaginary number the same way, they will become your imaginary friends.

Understanding Analysis, by Stephen Abbot

This is another great small book, I read it in college and although I have since probably forgotten most of the details - the way infinity is explained in the book sticks with me. See the book doesn't explain infinity, you just end up with an understanding of infinity while understanding the main material. It is small too so I love it for that too.

Feel free to share your favorite books in the comments


  1. Indeed, the Almagest is Scientifically consistent. The reason why Ptolomy held up so well is that no one was able to disprove his theory with scientific evidence until Ralbag. (And no one listened to him, because he was a Jew.)

    1. Wow interesting, I just looked up the Ralbag!