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Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks Paperback – August 8, 2006


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Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks + The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play + Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 7.9.2006 edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307338401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307338402
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A great introduction to the wonder of numbers, from two superb teachers.” —Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

“A magical mystery tour of mental mathematics! Fascinating and fun.” —Joseph Gallian, president of the Mathematical Association of America

“The clearest, simplest, most entertaining, and best book yet on the art of calculating in your head.” —Martin Gardner, author of Mathematical Magic Show and Mathematical Carnival

“This book can teach you mental math skills that will surprise you and your friends. Better, you will have fun and have valuable practical tools inside your head.” —Dr. Edward O. Thorp, mathematician and author of Beat the Dealer and Beat the Market

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.

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

I have always been slow at math but reading this book has really changed things.
Amazon Customer
I really love the way the author makes the math concepts fun and easier to learn than conventional methods.
HomeEdMom
This book gives really helpful tricks to solving math problems easier and faster in your head.
L. Taylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

544 of 564 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Galvin on July 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of Secrets of Mental Maths. As a trained scientist and a professional magician I was interested in the contents, and was not disappointed. Great stuff here for impressing people, and useful techniques for making maths fun. However the Amazon website offered two books togehter - this book and another by the same authors; Think Like A Maths Genius. I ordered both, and was shocked when they were delivered. The second book (Think Like A Maths Genius) was just Secrets of Mental Maths with a different cover. Amazon should have known both were the same book and should not have offered them both together. Don't be caught out by this. That aside, I highly recommend buying one or other version of this book.
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247 of 253 people found the following review helpful By Zach Foreman on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a professional SAT/GRE teacher and tutor, achieving an 800 in the GRE math section. After telling many students that the secret to the math section is mental math and approximation, I decided to see what books were available. I saw that this one had good reviews and ever since then I have been bringing the book to all my classes and tutoring sessions. I recommend this book for those who never felt they got the hang of math as well as people who love it like I do. It is clearly written, very encouraging and has lots of drills.
I love this book and I think that it really will help people feel more confident when they take a test or just are trying to figure the tip.
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234 of 250 people found the following review helpful By Robert Potter on October 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
At first glance, this book could easily be overlooked and dismissed as another "just buy this book and follow my easy steps to becoming a (genius, millionaire, happier person, psychic, master gardener, whatever)" that would utimately leave you disappointed that you couldn't do it.

Well, this book is not that. It gets right to the point. It's very well written. It's fun. It's practical. And as long as you take your time to mentally practice what you're learning along the way, you can and should be able to master the techniques in this book. You needn't have any mathematical expertise going in. Of course, the author doesn't promise anything special about what you can do with these abilities, although there are some practical applications suggested along the way. All I can say is that it's fun and gives you something interesting to do with your brain when you're bored. And certainly if you like Math already or are a Math teacher, it can be tremendously helpful.

Arthur Benjamin wrote the main content of the book, and Michael Shermer (Skeptic Magazine founder and Scientific American columnist) wrote introductory and closing chapters. These seem a little out of place to me, but they're certainly very good and useful general information about critical thinking. In addition to Bill Nye's (The Science Guy) new intro, James Randi's (famous magician and skeptic) introduction from an earlier edition is included.
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119 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Fritillary Lil on December 13, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book in its Kindle version for my PC. I am enjoying it, and happy to see progress in my ability to perform mental calculations. Math was never my strong suit, so this is just what I need.
My only negative comment is that the publisher needs to more carefully edit the text. I came upon three typos within the first couple of chapters, and these were errors in operations signs (for example, "+" instead of "x").
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Twiggy on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have bought a number of different books like this to find different ways to help my 14 year old who struggles with arithmetic and is falling behind in school as a consequence. I find this to be the best of them because it has all of the techniques found in other books in one place. The light hearted presentation is really great and the author really helps by suggesting ways to think e.g. How to talk in your head. More importantly, the techniques appeal to my kid and he is making progress.

My only beef is with the kindle edition. No hyperlinks between exercises and corresponding answers plus the examples are presented as images so they don't increase in size when you choose a different text size for reading. I think Kindle editions should take steps to exploit the different medium and not just replicate the hardcopy. You can zoom in on those images but it is cumbersome. If you don't absolutely need the ebook I recommend choosing the hardcopy version. On a positive note the kindle edition does not appear to be plagued with copious spelling errors like so many other titles.

Update: Despite the positive comment regarding the lack of spelling errors, there are still several typos in the kindle edition of the book that other reviewers have pointed out including the use the + symbol for addition when the multiplication symbol should have been used.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By R. Ghai on May 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Loved this book... it is very entertaining and teaches a lot of good concepts.

A lot of the techniques are not original. But they have been put together very nicely in this book. I bought the other book by Arthur on the same topic (Mathemagics: How to Look Like a Genius Without Really Trying ) and found that a very good addition to my math books. The current book is a much enhanced and cleaned up version of that.

I do part time teaching on Math to High School students and use this book for some good ideas...

While the author seems to be a very good "stage mathematician" and a lot of his explanations try to explain the "show" aspect of the tricks, for a more complete collection of math tricks, I also refer to book by Meyer.

Very recommneded for Math enthusiasts and more for High School students.
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