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The Moscow Puzzles: 359 Mathematical Recreations (Dover Recreational Math) Paperback – April 10, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book has been a classic in the former Soviet Union since it was first published in 1956, and it remains just as entertaining today. A master at making math fun for his high school students, Boris Kordemsky loaded this clever collection with a wide variety of math and logic related games and puzzles dealing with magic squares, tricky weights and measures, properties of numbers, mathematical tricks, and more. Number and math game fans are bound to find several new amusements here. Even many of the well-known classics from generations past take on new life with the fresh twists Kordemsky provides.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Recreational Math
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (April 10, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486270785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486270784
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 160 people found the following review helpful By James F. Kowalick on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Moscow Puzzles" is unique among problem-solving and brainteaser books because of the wide range of types of problems that it addresses. As a lecturer at Cal Tech's Executive Training Center, I teach "Creating Breakthrough Products" to technical executives. This book has been very helpful for those participating, because the problems it contains represent various types of psychological barriers that prevent problem-solvers and designers from achieving high-level solutions. I refer to examples from this book during the Cal Tech training session; we employ the revolutionary Russian problem-solving tool whose acronym is "TRIZ."
Other fine attributes of this book are its sense of humor and its practicality. The author has chosen everyday events and situations for his problem "plots," and in doing so, maintains the interest level of the average reader.
Readers of this book will learn to overcome personal barriers to creativity (the chief personal barrier is called "psychological inertia"), and will increase their creativity quotients by an order of magnitude, or more.
I strongly recommend this book for use in all classes from grades 4 through college senior. For the rest of us who simply like ("love") to work on challenging problems, this is the book for you. Good luck!
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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By hdbooth on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was thrilled and surprised to see that this book is still in print. I loved puzzles as a child and spent many hours for fun working the problems in this book (which may have paved the way for my PhD in Computer Science). I fished out my old copy recently to show my 11 year old daughter how I spent my spare hours as a child - *not* playing computer games of dubious educational value. I am sure that working the problems in this book helped increase my problem solving skills - in a different and more general way than I was learning in school.

Of all the puzzle books and puzzles I ever owned, this is the only one I saved. The book has a wide variety of types of puzzles (not all involve numbers). While some are easy, most were challenging. The descriptions were charming, with Russian names of children and towns and quaint puzzle descriptions involving wells, or steam engines or household objects. All in all, a delightful, very educational puzzle collection.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Peter Soucy on November 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Nice collection of problems which demand some creativity as well as varying degrees of mathematical prowess. Also populated with interesting anedotes regarding mathematicians throughout history.
Although no mathematics beyond the high school level is required, the challenge lies in the ingenious application of even the most rudimentary math and logic necessary to successfully tackle these exercises. The problems range from rather simple to difficult. Some amount to raw logic riddles requiring little or no math while others offer the opportunity to fine tune one's skills in geometry and algebra. In addition to offering a rich variety of problems which will satisfy the needs of puzzlists at many levels, the editors have made a good point of dividing the problems into categories emphasizing different sets of skills including geometry, algebra, arithmetic operations, spatial visualization and logic. Such a delineation makes it easy evaluate strengths and weaknesses so you can focus on areas of improvement.
Given the long history of this publication, several problems will be familiar to some seasoned puzzle enthusiasts but most will still provide a fresh challenge.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David De Sousa on July 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Excellent collection of math puzzles not requiring advanced math - A book for anyone and everyone

With and outstanding collection of 359 mathematical recreations and being lavishly illustrated with more than 400 diagrams and sketches, this book will certainly become a treasure in the personal library of anyone that enjoys solving puzzles.

It's a mammoth puzzle collection, compare with most math teasers and puzzles book available. But what is important is not the quantity, but the quality and charm of the problems presented.

The book is divided in fifteen chapters, as shown:

- Amusing problems.

- Difficult problems.

- Geometry with matches.

- Measure seven times before you cut.

- Skill will find its application everywhere.

- Dominoes and dice.

- Properties of nine.

- With algebra and without it.

- Mathematics with almost no calculations.

- Mathematical games and tricks.

- Divisibility.

- Cross sums and magic squares.

- Numbers curious and serious.

- Numbers ancient but eternally young.

- Solutions.

Everyone will find the type of problems the like most. Often the puzzles are presented in the form of charming stories that provides valuable insights into contemporary Russian life and customs.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Derek Blum on February 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoy mathematical puzzles and brain teasers and regularly look for good puzzle books out there. I picked this one up about 10 years ago, and it's still one of the best I've ever encountered. Many of the problems are short and concise, but provide great challenges. A great learning tool as well as a nice diversion for many ages.
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