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Math Magic: The Human Calculator Shows How to Master Everyday Math Problems in Seconds Paperback – June 15, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial Currents (June 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060976195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060976194
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Flansburg, "the human calculator" and author of the popular video, Turn on the Human Calculator in You , seeks to improve math education by introducing tricks for performing accurate mental calculations and fun alternate approaches to common math class difficulties. Students are motivated to learn by the chance to show off by quickly solving difficult-looking math problems. Included are ways to simplify problems, tricks for special instances, and explanations of common numerical systems like measurements, calendars, time zones, and prices. One disappointment is that no explanation is offered for some of the most interesting calculation tricks work. Still, in the hands of an enthusiastic teacher, many of these ideas could add excitement to math class. This is a school-oriented pre-algebra course with a little consumer math thrown in. A crash course in algebra is included near the end.
- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll., Durango, Col.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Scott Flansburg is the author of the bestselling book Math Magic. His lectures and his video, Turn on the Human Calculator in You, have helped countless children and adults learn the power of math. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


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Customer Reviews

The books are poorly laid out, poorly explained and even worse are the illustrations.
J. English
To the authors: I know it must have taken a lot of hard work to write this book but it just did not meet my expectations.
Tiyo2297
There are no "secrets" revealed in this book to get you to do arithmetic faster, either mentally or on paper.
David Pearce

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By darkguardian2 on July 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I wanted to read this book ever since seeing the infomercial of Scott doing his thing on tv. I couldn't afford or justify the expense to buy the big commerical package so this book had to do. The methods are easy to follow and Mr. Flansburg does a good job expressing his mind set in how he mentally did the problems. The basic addition and multiplications methods are good but the examples were insufficient when dealing with mixed numbers of different lengths. There were also exceptions to many of the rules that weren't expressed. Finally, the last part of the book with special rules were so numerious it would take a year to effectively learn and apply them all from memory. This leads me to believe that Mr. Flansburg didn't tell everything he knows, like the quick way to determine change -- by changing say ten bucks to 9.99 and subtracting that from the amount owed; then add one cent to get the correct change. It's easier to subtract 9 since its the highest value you can have in each column. This was presented by him on a night time radio show he was a guest on. I do give him prasie for getting people young and old to stop depending on calculators and learn mental speed math.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By John Springer on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has seriously attempted to use Scott Flansburg math strategies will find out that his methods simply do not work outside of the examples in his book. The problem solving techniques are engineered to work only with the examples that he supplied. For instance, in his chapter on solving cubed roots, his method will work for the exercises in the book, however when I applied these to real world numbers, his methods flat out failed. Hey Scott, try solving the cubed root of these numbers 11111111 or even 123456 using the method described on page 153 - your methods are flawed.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By DONOVAN wayward dix on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book does not give a system of how to use the the various short cuts.It does not say when and where each short cut is most useful.Thereby,trying to remember all or any of them leads to confusion.However,i found the chapters on "using zeroes to hold places", addition,subtraction,and "cross multiplication" to be superb!If you are a concerned parent,student ,or adult ; i recommend SPEED MATHEMATICS SIMPLIFIED by edward stoddard as the most comprehensive manual of shortcut math available anywhere! Learn the simple truths about the japanese and german approach to basic arithmetic . Then on the opposite side of the coin(READING) i recommend :HOW TO READ A BOOK ,by mortimer adler /charles van doren.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a breath of fresh air. It makes math fun . This is the type of book that needs to be read a few times, but it is great. I wish i had this book in high school.Anyway this book is best for high school and some college students. I hope scott writes the sequel to this book, and includes topics like , trig,stats,cal,chem,and physics etc...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Pearce on October 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I was a child, I was always considered gifted at mathematics. While I was very good at primary, high-school and university mathematics, and faster than my peers in any kind of mathematics, I had never tried (or thought of trying) to be very fast (like Scott Flansburg) at adding up a long column of numbers or multiplying 47138 by 269273 in my head. So when Scott promised to "reveal his secrets" for performing calculations at lightning speed, I decided to buy his book. I figured that if I was so good at mathematics it would be easy to do "speed math" if only "the secrets were revealed".

I regret to say that I have never been more disappointed in a book! While the book has some interesting and useful techniques for doing some specific calculations quickly (e.g. multiplying by 11 or squaring two-digit numbers that end in 5 or multiplying numbers in the 90s), it fails miserably at getting you to add up six two-digit numbers any faster than you could by doing it the normal way. Even after practising the so-called secrets, it still takes a while to multiply, say, 79 by 68, much less 47138 by 269273.

For example, his "technique" for multiplying 79 by 68 quickly is to do the following: work out 7 times 6 and remember that is 4200; then cross-multiply 7 by 8 (56) and 9 by 6 (54) and add them to get 110; multiply 110 by 10 (1100) and add this to 4200 to get 5300. While remembering all this, multiply 9 by 8 (72) and add this to get the answer 5372.

After all that, you are supposed to say, "Wow, Scott! That was easy." If you think that is easy, try doing it in your head. And with all the practice in the world, you will never get as fast as someone who can simply look at the numbers and tell you the answer.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is well written and easy to read. It is a really great book and gives insights into various interesting methods to calculate rapidly. However, Mr.Flansburg and Ms. Hay seems to claim that these methods are either theirs, or Japanese. They fail to give proper reference. This preposterous misrepresentation is possibly due to their sheer ignorance or intentional need to hide the real source. In reality, these fast methods were invented during the Vedic Period in India around 400 B.C. One can refer to all these and more methods in "Vedic Mathematics or Sixteen Simple Mathematical Formulae from the Vedas", by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthanji at Amazon.com. Nevertheless, the credit should be given to these authors for putting these concepts in a easy to understand format and encouraging kids to learn math....
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