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Mathemagics: How to Look Like a Genius Without Really Trying Paperback – November 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0737300086 ISBN-10: 0737300086 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Lowell House; 2nd edition (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0737300086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0737300086
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,527,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Amaze and mystify your friends! Benjamin has performed his "art of rapid mental calculation" for audiences of all ages and levels of mathematical sophistication, and now he reveals his secrets to you. Actually, most of these calculation and memorization techniques are fairly commonly known, but Benjamin explains how to perform them to great effect. He uses simple algebraic proofs to show how the tricks work and often adds an anecdote about how he "discovered" an interesting trick. This is a book to ignite mathematical confidence and curiosity. A word of warning, though: despite the subtitle, it will take some dedicated practice to master these tricks. For most collections.
- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll. Lib., Durango, Col.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Arthur Benjamin is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. He is also a professional magician and performs his mixture of math and magic all over the world.Michael Shermer is host of the Caltech public lecture series, a contributing editor to and monthly columnist of Scientific American, the publisher of Skeptic magazine, and the author of several science books. He lives in Altadena, California.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1996
Format: Paperback
A truly amazing insight into various ways to mystify others with seemingly impossible mathematical challenges. Learn how to determine the day someone was born on, or guess the missing number in the answer to a multiplication problem. This book provides you with insight to the fun (yes... fun) side of math. You will be greatly impressed by the tricks to amaze your friends and make math interesting
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2003
Format: Unknown Binding
Ambivalence surrounds me when I attempt to review this book. As someone who learned arithmetic in the pre-calculator days, many of the ideas in this book bring back deep memories. One of my favorite things to do when in my teen years and later was to keep track of the items in the grocery cart and estimate the total cost. It was considered a failure when the guess and true total differed by more than $0.25. While this skill did succeed in amazing people, I cannot recall a single instance where it actually was financially beneficial. And eventually I gave it up, going on to mathematics and computers.
But those days are gone, and calculators (computers) do free the mind for other things. So the question becomes, is it beneficial to read books of this type and learn the "lost" art of estimation? The history of mathematics informs us that early mental manipulation of numbers is a strong indicator of the future development of mathematical ability. Gauss and Hardy are two excellent examples of this. However, in later years Hardy in particular looked down on those who were mere number crunchers.
Which leads to the clearest use for the techniques demonstrated in this book, namely to instruct children in the mental manipulation of symbols. By having young minds compete against a calculator, mental techniques are developed that most likely cannot be created any other way. And those methods are excellent training for future careers in the quantitative sciences. And this book does an excellent job in introducing these "tricks." All are clearly explained and detailed solutions to the problems are in the back of the book. Anyone wishing to learn how to perform efficient mental computations will find what they are looking for.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Math Guru on January 28, 2005
Format: Unknown Binding
After seeing Dr. Benjamin perform in Las Vegas at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in 2002, I bought this book and also his Mathemagics course. My middle school students love it! Many of them prefer to do mental calculations when possible and they love when I do mathematic magic tricks on them. Better, they love the algebraic explanations and can't wait to use the tricks on their friends and family, knowing that they can explain the trick as well.

My college students are amazed when I can square a 2-digit number quicker than they can punch it in on a calculator. (I'm not too fast at the 3 digit numbers; it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks!)

I highly recommend this book for math teachers, school libraries, students, or anyone at all!
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Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
I've been giving copies to this to all of my students, 3rd, 4th and 5th, who really like math but don't get excited about our traditional lessons. Invite them to become mathemagicians and you'll some of them transformed.
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