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Aha! Insight Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (Sd) (June 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071671017X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716710172
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For 25 of his 95 years, Martin Gardner wrote 'Mathematical Games and Recreations', a monthly column for Scientific American magazine. These columns have inspired hundreds of thousands of readers to delve more deeply into the large world of mathematics. He has also made significant contributions to magic, philosophy, debunking pseudoscience, and children's literature. He has produced more than 60 books, including many best sellers, most of which are still in print. His Annotated Alice has sold more than a million copies. He continues to write a regular column for the Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
This is one awesome gem of a book by Gardner.
Alex Tolley
This book does a wonderful job of encouraging problem solving and critical thinking techniques.
Hilbert
Quite frankly, there are occasions when they get the aha!
Charles Ashbacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I consider Martin Gardner to be the best there ever was in writing about mathematics. His essays are always entertaining and contain enough content to suggest other applications of the main point of his thesis. This book contains a series of short puzzles, most of which have quick solutions based on an "alternate" form of reasoning. That form is described as an "Aha" moment, where looking at the problem a different way leads to a simple solution to what appears to be a hard problem.
I first read this book when it was first published over twenty years ago and recently read it again. It has stood the test of time quite well and I consider it to be the best of the collections of material by Gardner. I have three children under the age of ten and they are occasionally subjected to a puzzle in this book. It is always interesting to see how well they do. Quite frankly, there are occasions when they get the aha! answer faster than I did.
Recent research indicates that the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease can be reduced by constantly stressing your mental abilities. Martin Gardner has received many accolades in his life, We can now add that his books can help prevent serious mental diseases. Go ahead and clap, he has earned the applause.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Pumpkin King on May 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gave me a lot to think about when I was young, and of all the books with math and logic puzzles I enjoyed, this was one of the best. Gardner has a way of turning problems into challenges, making the solving of them fun, and he also provides interesting explanations of problems with simplicity and clarity. For children, this book is an opportunity to explore math as something other than repetitive calculations or irrelevant word problems from bad textbooks. Adults too can use this book to hone their problem solving skills.
The difficulty of aha! insights is the lack of technique in coming to such an insight. It's a spontaneous reaction, something sudden and unexpected when you discover a simple solution. These problems do not teach you how to have these insights, but allows for practice in order that they may become more frequent. But the point is: it's recreational math... Enjoy it for the sake of enjoyment.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Roger Wellington-Oguri (rogerwo@cts.com) on December 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is about tough problems with easy answers -- easy, that is, once seen in the right way. Illustrated with cartoons and full of humor, it is readily enjoyable by many people who wouldn't normally touch a book on recreational mathematics. We have given at least a dozen copies as gifts.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hilbert on May 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book does a wonderful job of encouraging problem solving and critical thinking techniques. What I like most about it, though, is how it is able to present all of its problems at a high level, in an entertaining context, so as not to discourage those who might be scared or frustrated by math and other such topics.
Each problem, for the most part, has cute comics to illustrate it, as well as a plain-english explanation of how to approach finding a solution and the solution itself. Many of the problems are restricted forms of actual unsolved, or at least highly-researched, mathematical/computer science problems; the book does a excellent job of keeping that aspect separate from the problem and solution itself (how the problem is studied in the "real world" is usually mentioned in the text as an, "Oh, by the way, did you know that...")
In addition to the author's wonderful presentation, I think the subject matter is what emphasizes this book's importance. Problem solving, critical thinking, and finding elegant simple solutions seems to me to be underemphasized in quite a few disciplines, and this book can offer good practice in all those important areas. Even if you don't ever deal with problems which require critical thinking, the book is still an interesting read because it makes you say, "Why didn't I think of that?" -- and then by half way through the book, you DO start to think of "that."
The only negative thing I would say is that a few of the problems in the book are presented without solutions, which can frustrate some people (namely, myself :) ) Also, a few problems are underspecified, yielding to answers which depend on the interpretation -- then again, that's part of what problem solving is about, I guess.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Any of Martin Gardner's book is very good and this and the other Aha (paradox) book are the two pearls in recreational mathematics. Many of the topics he tackles have a deep bearing in serious mathematics. These two Aha books can be the starting point for mathematical thinking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is great! If you love brainteasers and logic puzzles, this is the book for you. Each problem is introduced in comic format, with funny characters and simple but clever drawings. I've had this book since childhood, and I think that it really fostered a love for riddles and brainteasers in me. But this book is not just for kids---it makes a great gift to people of all ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
A fun book which teaches logic thru brainteasers. The best of its kind
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is not only fun but it make the reader to know something they've never known,some techniques and math skill.
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