Around the World in 80 Games


Fourth Estate (UK) and Basic Books (US), 2023

Where should you move first in Connect 4?

What is the best property in Monopoly?

And how can pi help you win rock paper scissors?

Spanning millennia, oceans and continents, countries and cultures, Around the World in 80 Games gleefully explores how mathematics and games have always been deeply intertwined. Marcus du Sautoy investigates how games provided the first opportunities for deep mathematical insight into the world, how understanding maths can help us play games better, and how both maths and games are integral to human psychology and culture.

For as long as there have been people, there have been games, and for nearly as long, we have been exploring and discovering mathematics. A grand adventure, Around the World in 80 Games teaches us not just how games are won, but how they, and the maths behind them, shape who we are.

‘Marcus du Sautoy’s brilliantly clear and captivating prose manages to bring to life the drama of so many different games. With the lightest of touches du Sautoy manages persuasively to show how games are both narratives that speak about us and structures whose ideas underlie everything in our known universe. And on top of it, the book serves as an absolutely indispensable compendium. Rainy weekends in Cornwall will now be welcomed’ Stephen Fry

‘A delightful and addictive celebration of games. You’ll keeping wanting one more go’ Dara Ó Briain

‘Whether your game is Go, Dungeons and Dragons, or Chocolate Chilli Roulette, you’ll find this book adorable. It’s lively, creative and humane – exactly as one would expect from Marcus du Sautoy’ Tim Harford, author of How To Make The World Add Up

‘The book encapsulates the very essence of human ingenuity and our intrinsic love for play and exploration. You do not need to be a seasoned player nor a skilled mathematician to relish this enchanting read. However, this book may just encourage you to become the one or the other’ Reiner Knizia, award-winning game designer