14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Would be excellent if exercises were not "worthless".,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Magic of Numbers (Paperback)
This book is VERY readable -- and easily approachable -- BUT, suffers from a major defect for the SELF-LEARNER. There are *tons* of exercises that are recommended -- which would be great except doing the exercises is a complete waste of time -- you don't know if you got the exercise right or wrong! Yup. Ok, Now you do it: 1. what's 2^5 mod 11?, 2. 2^17 mod 23?....etc? Nice BUT if you do the exercises, you don't know if you got the right answer or not, so its a waste of time.
Worse -- the authors emphasize the need to do the exercises -- but if you don't know if you did them right or wrong, what's the point? There are a fair number of examples that do give answers, but these are about 1/5th - 1/6th the problems and the answers are given in the text of the problem. So while you know the answer, you can't really do the example, then see if you got the right answer -- because it's also there in front of you.
Having an answer key -- even if it was for every even or odd exercise would be helpful. Non-answered questions could be for those classes where the teacher doesn't trust the student to learn, but just copy answers, but if that's the case, why bother taking a class? Just copying answers doesn't help much in the real world nor on exams (which one would presumably have in a classroom setting).
But I bought this book for educational/recreational reading (just like some people like to participate in sports or go to a gym to exercise a body, many find mental exercise equally valuable for one's "head").
I would NOT recommend *against* the book, but it may go slowly, as the paucity answered problems make for slower going in terms of comprehension and retention (I find I more often have to reread prior chapter I understood, but didn't get enough practice to retain in order to progress onto more complex subjects).
For self-learning, FEEDBACK is required -- no feedback, then no learning if you are doing it right or wrong, but the format, typesetting, and conversational style on this book make it very readable. Just wish they had the answers (or at least odd numbered answers in the back).