What Would You Recommend To A Bright 14 Year Old

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I submitted this question to Hacker News: There are some excellent suggestions and some intriguing discussions happening there. I will let that settle, and then integrate the suggestions into this page.
When I was about 14 or so I was given some books that proved to be influential. Included were several of Martin Gardner's books, some science fiction, including Asimov and Niven, and a few others.

Here are some specific recommendations:

  • Rudy Rucker
  • Paul Lockhart
    • Measurement

  • Simon Singh
    • Fermat's Last Theorem

  • Jim Al-Khalili
    • Quantum Theory for the Perplexed

  • Simon and Schuster
    • Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing

  • Richard Feynman
    • "What do you care what other people think?"

  • Neal Stephenson.
    • "Cryptonomicon"

  • Edwin Abbott
    • "Flatland"

  • David Green
    • "The Inventions of Daedalus"
    • "More Inventions of Daedalus"

  • J.A.Green
    • Sets and Groups: A First Course in Algebra

  • Julian Havil
    • The Irrationals: A Story Of The Numbers You Can't Count On
    • ... and others.

Possibly too advanced?

There are three books by Avner Ash and Robert Gross:

Here's a review:


I'm receiving lots of recommendations via the HN item,
I will need to vet and categorise them, but they are
mostly looking great. Here, unvetted and uncategorised
are some:

  • Things to Make and Do in the 4th Dimension
  • "Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities"
  • APeriodical
  • Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms
  • Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"
  • Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
  • "Gödel, Escher, Bach",
  • "QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter",
  • "The Adapted Mind"
  • The Iain M Banks culture novels.
  • How to Solve It - George Polya.
  • Professor E McSquared's Calculus Primer:
  • The Hacker's Dictionary
  • "Calculus the Easy Way"
  • "Algebra the Easy Way"
  • "Trigonometry the Easy Way"
  • Measurement by Paul Lockhart.
  • Misteaks. . . and how to find them before the teacher does.
  • "A wrinkle in Time"
  • "stranger from the Depths"
  • "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
  • Dorris Lessing, "Mara and Dann An Adventure "
  • Everything by Asimov and Heinlein
  • The Dune series by Herbert.
  • "Watership Down"
  • What do you care what other people think? by Richard Feynman.
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.
  • Flatland, by Edwin Abbott.
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
  • Adventures of a Mathematician
  • Hermann Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game"
  • Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.
  • Warrior of the Light: A Manual by Paulo Coelho
  • Logicomix

  • Blogs of favorite authors.

The game, FTL.

A "roguelike-like". It's SF themed which is unusual in the Roguelike world. You start off with a spaceship with limited weapons, crew and so on and run away from an advancing enemy fleet attempting to collect enough equipment along the way for a showdown with the enemy flagship.

Unlike with nethack or perhaps moreso Angband where a winning run could last quite a while, the maximum possible duration of a game of FTL is limited by the relentless advance of the enemy fleet behind you.

Various "Rogue-A-Like" games:

  • nethack,
  • angband,
  • crawl,
  • adom,
  • dungeons of dredmor,
  • and FTL.

Email me your suggestions: mailto:WWYR2AB14YO@solipsys.co.uk



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