Let's say you're planning your next party and agonizing over the guest list. To whom should you send invitations? What combination of friends and strangers is the right mix?

It turns out mathematicians have been working on a version of this problem for nearly a century. Depending on what you want, the answer can be complicated.

Our book, "The Fascinating World of Graph Theory," explores puzzles like these and shows how they can be solved through graphs. A question like this one might seem small, but it's a beautiful demonstration of how graphs can be used to solve mathematical problems in such diverse fields as the sciences, communication and society.