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534 of 554 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of duplication
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...
Published on July 10, 2007 by Anthony Galvin

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117 of 128 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but watch out for the typos
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...
Published on December 13, 2009 by Fritillary Lil


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tip: Use EXCEL to generate practice problems, May 14, 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (Connecticut, USA) - See all my reviews
I like the book a lot. One of the big revelations is that it really makes more intuitive sense to do arithmetic from left to right rather than right to left as we're taught in elementary school, just like saying "a dollar ninety-five" makes a lot more sense than "5 and 90 and a dollar.".

Anyway, the main purpose of this "review" is to share my success at making a regenerating practice sheet in Excel that will generate an endless number of problems. If you like to tinker with Excel, go for it! But I'll give you mine if you want it. The core of mine is the random number generator "rand()" and I manipulate it with other functions. For example, the cell formula

"=VALUE(LEFT(TEXT(RAND()*100000,0),3))"

(without quotes) will place a three digit random whole number in a cell.

I've begun a spreadsheet of drills for the first few subjects in the book, including multiplying by 11, squaring two-digit numbers ending in five, finding compliments, adding and subtracting three-digit numbers, and multiplying 2 x 1 digits and 3 x 1 digits. For each of those types of problems there are ten examples. The answers are hidden (by using a white font) until you highlight the answer cell. The real beauty is that hitting F9 generates a whole new set of ten problems for each type. As I continue to read the book, I'll add more drills. When you have time to kill, it's a much more productive activity than Free Cell!

Leave a comment if you'd like me to email the spreadsheet to you. With the sample techniques I've used you can probably figure out how to make additional problem types.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book!!!, October 20, 2008
By 
A.S. (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
I've never been good at math, but a couple years ago, I began to love Calculus and ended up taking Calc 1, 2 & 3. However, the only thing that was slowing me down was the simple arithmetic and mental calculations that I was so bad at doing. A friend recommended this book to me after I told her that my slow mental math was the reason I kept running out of time on the MCAT Physical Sciences section. I got this book two weeks ago and I've already increased my MCAT score by two whole points. This book is amazing and can really change your life. Do yourself a favor and buy it.

Thanks Dr. Benjamin!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and life changing, September 21, 2009
This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
This book is very near and dear to my heart. I have always been horrible at anything having to do with numbers and numerical concepts. I was, in short, innumerate. I decided to do something about it and I felt that playing with numbers would be a way to better familiarize myself with their properties. I bought the book and started practing from the beginning. I was doing fine until I got to squaring two digit numbers. I just couldn't do it and I became obsessed. Everywhere I went I brought a calculator with me and mentally squared all two digit numbers I saw and checked my answers. Eventually I broke through, and subsequently actually memorized all the squares up to 150. Now I am up to squaring four and five digit numbers mentally.

The book and methods do work if you practice and go step by step mastering the various stages because it all builds on itself. There's nothing more satisfying, at least to me, than having this new mental facility with numbers that leaves other people amazed. The great thing is that these are not number specific shortcuts but a systematic approach to doing any type of calculation, so if, like me, you are able to go beyond the scope of the book you can apply the framework and principles to your new calculations. I highly recommend this book, I know when I have kids I will be teaching them arithmetic using this approach. Thanks to Dr. Benjamin, I am now a human calculator, and it is so much fun.

P.S In teh book Dr. Benjamin doesn't mention this but once you are able to square four digit numbers you are also able to raise two digit numbers to the fourth power. For example 68^4 is the same thing as 4,624 ^2 because 4,624 is 68^2 you are really squaring 68 twice. Just a little bonus I thought I'd throw in. Buy this book and throw away your calculators.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written book, May 9, 2008
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This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
This book is very well written. I have always done well in math classes. I never really enjoyed mathematics though. This book makes what seems impossible possible. If you ever wanted to be able to square a number like 72 in your head in seconds this is the book for you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, April 16, 2010
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This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
After growing woefully bad at mental arithmetic, I purchased this book in preparation for an MBA program this fall. It is amazing how much "Mental Math" has helped me regain my confidence and improve my math skills. You should note, however, that this book doesn't offer any magic secrets. The book offers systematic approaches toward mental math, but it takes practice and effort to master these basics. I tend to practice by pulling numbers off of license plates while I'm on the road and performing different arithmetic operations on them in my head. To practice with more "real world" examples, I take numbers from business magazines and made appropriate calculations (percentage increase/ decrease in profits, etc). I hope you get as much from the book as I have!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars clever tricks, December 27, 2009
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This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
Delivers what it promises, this book teaches both specific techniques and fundamental principles for making almost any calculation easier. Accessible to anyone with a decent mind for numbers and the inclination to simultaneously make their math skills both more efficient and more sophisticated.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of Mental Math, December 30, 2007
This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
I am an elementary school teacher and I highly recommend this book for anyone who has learned their basic math concepts. It is fantastic! The authors provide new insights into the mathmatical world by making the reader feel and become mathamagicians. It uncovers a world of fun within our world of numbers. It is for young and old alike. No one is too set in their ways to find the magic within its pages:)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Cool, January 10, 2010
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This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
I ordered this book to make up the difference to qualify for free shipping from Amazon. Turned out to be a fortuitous purchase. My 9 year old now gets a kick at being able to multiply numbers like 81x89 in hear head in less than 5 seconds. I've also learned a few things myself as well.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hoot, September 4, 2009
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I found it very enjoyable and effective to go thru the exercises. The author has a way of describing the tricks that makes you want to apply them and have a great idea how to do so -- and it works.

Some of the chapters seemed superfluous, not really focused on the math stuff. I could have used even more practice -- as it is, I repeatedly went thru the same exercises to maximize my speed.

I think this could be enough to help someone's psychology into thinking they had become a math whiz -- and that's what being a whiz is, largely a matter of attitude!

This is also an effective book to read for a distraction; it's different enough from most people's concerns that someone angry or depressed or whatever might find this a great relief.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why was I never taught this in school?, December 28, 2013
By 
Nom de Plume (Des Moines, Iowa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks (Paperback)
Probably one of the best books I have ever purchased. I became so interested in Art Benjamin after I saw his "mathemagics" on TED. I wondered who this guy is and why is it that he can calculate faster in his head than most of us can on a calculator? I secretly wished I was as smart as he. Then I ran into this book and purchased it without even a second thought. It has proven to be one of my favorite books in my entire library.

First, let's be clear on what Art refers to as math "tricks". When I purchased this book I has some trepidation that it would just be full of cheap magician tricks. This is not the case (well, most of the time). To become adept at mental math it takes a lot of practice and for some it can be quite difficult (it was no walk in the park for me, I spent hours and hours before I felt like I could perform my own magic show for my wife....which still didn't go as well as I had hoped). Yet, the way that Art presents these "tricks" makes it actually fun. I found myself practicing them on a daily basis. I downloaded an Iphone app for practice on the go and I soon was able to perform calculations that only months prior would have required me to, at the very least, pull out a pencil and paper.

The skills that one can develop from diligently practicing the techniques presented in this book are invaluable. I began to seriously question why these techniques aren't taught in school (I at least never did learn them). In addition, as I practiced I really felt like my mind became more sharp and my memory improved. At first, it was difficult to store large digits in my mind. I kept forgetting them. But as I kept practicing, it became much easier. In fact, it was a little weird because I began to get to the point to where I would just simply know the answer before even finishing it. It was like the final answer would just appear in my mind. Like I just intuitively knew the answer. I think that's how Art Benjamin must be able to perform these calculations so rapidly.

I highly recommend this book! I absolutely love it!
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Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks
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