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Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd Paperback – June 1, 1959

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martin Gardner was a renowned author who published over 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. He also had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles. Well known for his mathematical games column in Scientific American and his "Trick of the Month" in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner attracted a loyal following with his intelligence, wit, and imagination.

Martin Gardner: A Remembrance
The worldwide mathematical community was saddened by the death of Martin Gardner on May 22, 2010. Martin was 95 years old when he died, and had written 70 or 80 books during his long lifetime as an author. Martin's first Dover books were published in 1956 and 1957: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, one of the first popular books on the intellectual excitement of mathematics to reach a wide audience, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, certainly one of the first popular books to cast a devastatingly skeptical eye on the claims of pseudoscience and the many guises in which the modern world has given rise to it. Both of these pioneering books are still in print with Dover today along with more than a dozen other titles of Martin's books. They run the gamut from his elementary Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing, which has been enjoyed by generations of younger readers since the 1980s, to the more demanding The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings, which Dover published in its final revised form in 2005.

To those of us who have been associated with Dover for a long time, however, Martin was more than an author, albeit a remarkably popular and successful one. As a member of the small group of long-time advisors and consultants, which included NYU's Morris Kline in mathematics, Harvard's I. Bernard Cohen in the history of science, and MIT's J. P. Den Hartog in engineering, Martin's advice and editorial suggestions in the formative 1950s helped to define the Dover publishing program and give it the point of view which — despite many changes, new directions, and the consequences of evolution — continues to be operative today.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Politicians, real-estate agents, used-car salesmen, and advertising copy-writers are expected to stretch facts in self-serving directions, but scientists who falsify their results are regarded by their peers as committing an inexcusable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science swarms with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who unconsciously distorted their work by seeing it through lenses of passionately held beliefs."

"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" — Martin Gardner

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; REPRINT Edition edition (June 1, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486204987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486204987
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,051 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
A good puzzle is much like a classic novel. You read it and then after a certain period of time, you can read it again and enjoy it just as much as the first time. These puzzles of Sam Loyd, which were published over a century ago, stretch the brain cells as much now as they did when they dazzled the people of a younger country.
The problems follow very standard themes. Having read many puzzle books, I recognized the form of all of the puzzles in this one. However, they are so well stated that reading them is a significant part of the fun. It is also an interesting piece of historical perspective that puzzles were also a very popular staple in newspapers over a century ago. Reading the puzzles and looking at the diagrams also takes you back to a different age. Some of the caricatures of the figures could not be used in the politically correct atmosphere of today. It also seems most unlikely that a problem involving nuns being abducted by soldiers would be published in a modern newspaper. Therefore, it is necessary to cut a little historical slack when you read the book.
Sam Loyd was the best puzzlist that America has ever had. The only possible challenger is the editor of this collection, which is most fitting. I enjoyed the book immensely, even though I was in most cases rereading rather than solving for the first time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "calap" on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you really like tough puzzles, that is the book and the writer that you were looking for. In one book there is enough puzzles for a human being life.
The puzzle categories are also quite wide from tangram to chess problems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Creative on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Actually I'm a big fan from the good old days. Mathematical puzzles? My Big Old love.
Here we have 2 of the 3 or 4 absolute giants of the matter (put Raymond Smullyan in). Their father of them all : Sam LOYD, and, and one of the modern poetical leaders: Martin GARDNER for the selection and the edition.
This compilation of the best Classical Puzzles imagined by Sam LOYD has been published several times before, and each publication brings up the same sentiment, the one you have when you meet back a good old friend. That's what happens when you fall in love with a book, and develop sweet warm memories with it.

The format is 1 puzzle by page, presented each and every time by a smart story and illustrated by the drawing of the original edition, a very beautiful vintage look. I love it.
There are some 200 puzzles divided into 2 volumes, they range from somehow easy to really difficult, and some of them require some basic knowledge in algebra and/or geometry, just the basics, and not all of them.

This edition is a simple paperback pocket size, nothing fancy about it, in my opinion any paperback binding doesn't do justice to this book anyway, but it's the only one available I think.

Me? I bought it again!
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By shelly on April 3, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great puzzles
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