Strogatz, Steven. Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe. 2019. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket. Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down-to-earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number – infinity – to tackle real world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous. Infinite Powers recounts how calculus tantalized and thrilled its inventors, starting with its first glimmers in ancient Greece and bringing us right up to the discovery of gravitational waves. Strogatz reveals how this form of math rose to the challenges of each age: how to determine the area of a circle with only sand and a stick; how to explain why Mars goes “backwards” sometimes; how to turn the tide in the fight against AIDS. As Strogatz proves, calculus is truly the language of the universe. By unveiling the principles of that language, Infinite Powers makes us marvel at the world anew.
Miller, L. Beyond Brilliance: The Blueprint for Learning Anything. 2016. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Most books for students give you the same old advice: work hard, take detailed notes, use a planner, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, ignore this one. Beyond Brilliance shows you a better, faster, and easier way to succeed in school and develop mastery (according to decades of science). Read it and you’ll know why certain memories are stickier than others, why self-control is more important than effort, and why snoozing more can mean studying less. The truth is, getting top grades and becoming an effective learner is something anyone can do. You don’t need to be naturally “brilliant”—intelligence is something we can all develop over time. You don’t need to pull all-nighters. You don’t need to sacrifice your social life. You don’t even need to give up the gym. What you really need to do is learn how learning actually works. Then, you can use that skill to get better at anything you like. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn why certain myths about learning might be holding you back, the most practical and most efficient tools researchers know about how to absorb material, how to conquer procrastination, and tons more straightforward insights that will inspire and empower you. Unlike vague, scammy self-help books, Beyond Brilliance is helpful. And unlike academic textbooks, it’s understandable and to the point. With its short, illustrated chapters and focus on general principles, it’s the perfect playbook for any student who’s ever dreamed of a better way. Engineering majors at MIT, C students, victims of tracking and standardized testing, homeschoolers, and graduate students in a variety of fields will all find valuable guidance in these pages.