- Principles of effective research by Michael Nielsen. It seems to me that most of the “researchology” papers consist mainly of do’s, dont’s, and of various related anecdotes and quotes. Nielsen’s paper is somewhat different, since it also discusses “big picture” issues such as remaining motivated about your research, being proactive, etc. I like to read this paper every couple of years.
- You and Your Research by Richard Hamming. A more famous paper by a more famous author. Hamming discusses how to achieve what he refers to as “Nobel-Prize type of work”. Many of Hamming’s tips clash with Nielsen’s paper, since Hamming basically advocates focusing only on research while neglecting other parts of your life. While I disagree with various claims in this spirit, I still think that this paper contains many useful observations.
Letters to a young mathematician / Ian Stewart.
It is like defining a ham sandwich as “what you have in your lunchbox after taking the apple out”.
Ben Lund, unsatisfied with a famous textbook’s definition of Grassmannians.