Recommended Non-fiction Books

By Juha Haataja

You learn to write from good examples. Even though the web and new web-based forums are increasingly popular mediums for writing, the printed book still has some advantages (no batteries, please!). Here I have listed a few good non-fiction books. I divided the books by topic into a few categories, starting with guides on writing and ending with examples of good non-fiction books.

During the last ten years I have read through a dozen or so guides about writing. Here are some that have been useful (and often also entertaining) to me.

The following two short guides go straight to the point:

The so-called Strunk and White book is the better known of these.

The following two guides on writing are my favorites because of their positive attitude:

There are many books about the craft of writing for (aspiring) writers. The following are found in my bookshelf: The following books are aimed for the working mathematician (or anyone writing about mathematics): If you are serious about writing, you should read a lot of good articles and books. There are classics in each style and area of writing, so go to a library or a bookstore and look up those books.

My own favorites in humor and non-fiction are short pieces, so here are a few collections of those:

Of all these fine writers of short pieces, my favorite is E. B. White. He is also a co-writer of the book Elements of Style.

There are all kinds of subject areas where you can find examples of excellent writing. I have been writing reviews of popular science books for about five years, and the following are some of the best in that lot (about 50 reviewed books). I also had a look at my bookshelf for additional examples. Thus, the following are some of my personal favorites of good writing.

First, here are some good science books for the general audience:

Secondly, a few books on information technology: Lastly, here are some good popular books about the mathematical sciences: Disclaimer: The books listed here are a biased sample and do not represent in whole or in part the literature available in libraries or bookstores. So feel free to add your favorites to the list. Have fun!