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158 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
"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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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2006
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
on November 13, 2001
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
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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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2001
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2006
I bought this book while working as a gifted children teacher. I liked it so much that I used to keep it in my car and solve riddles whenever I had to wait for someone. It is a great resource for all teachers; children are suddenly made quiet when you present a puzzle to them.

I especially like the stick puzzles, where you can distribute a number of matches to students (by the way, it works with kids, teenagers and adults alike) and give them a puzzle. The advantage of this kind of puzzle is that you can give additional tasks to those fast-solvers; you do not have a story behind it.

The organization of the book is excellent; it is divided by difficulty levels as well as by type of puzzle. For example, you have different levels of geometry problems and of sticks problems.

Great book!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 1996
As a 7th grade math teacher, I use problems from this book
to supplement my gifted pre-algebra classes, and to provide
a challenge to my math teams. Superb book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
All the Gardner puzzle books that I've read are great and this is no exception. There is something
in it for almost anyone-- some require pencil and paper and some just need the correct lateral thought.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2012
The other reviews summarize nicely that the puzzles are good as mathematical exercises. It is worth adding that the book also is interesting in how many of the puzzles are illustrative of Soviet culture and "good think" so to speak. E.g.:

"Vasily Chapaev, a great Red Army commander during the civil war of 1918, once said .... . Use his hint to solve problem .... "

"A brigade of young pioneers are planting apple trees. Vladimir's platoon plants twice as many as Mikhail's, ... . "

"The snow-fort commander has 19 defenders to distribute against waves of attackers. In the first charge, 3 boys are 'lost'. In the second and third, 4 are lost each time. How was the defense organized if ... "

Just reading the puzzles is amusing!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
As a puzzle fan, I bought this expecting math-related riddles. I shouldn't have, nor should you unless you're that guy who's faster at math than a calculator, because while there are some good mathy riddles, the problems are primarily the kind of math that requires visual calculation [using coins, dominoes, etc.] vs. doing it in your head; even the "Mathematics with Almost No Calculations" chapter I found I needed to work it out on paper. This is fine, but it feels a lot less recreational if I need to use a notepad, especially if I don't have one handy. Furthermore, this is a translation, so there are a few puzzles that are confusing/don't work out as smoothly in English, though I was disappointed to find some glaring typos--e.g., "7/12 = 1/3 - 1/4" [maybe if you ADD them!]. On the whole, it's an interesting thought exercise and forces me out of my comfort zone in trying to solve the puzzles, but I found it most useful as a sleep aid.
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