- Paperback: 164 pages
- Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (Sd) (April 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0716713616
- ISBN-13: 978-0716713616
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to Puzzle and Delight
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Top customer reviews
Martin Gardner takes a look at paradoxes and makes them very easy to understand, entertaining, and highly absorbing. He takes the reader from the easiest to understand (the liar's paradox) to the more difficult, including mathematical ones. He describes paradoxes that entertained the ancient Greeks; paradoxes in the Bible; and paradoxes created by modern writers and comedians. Most of the paradoxes are covered in one or two pages, and each comes with cartoon illustrations to make them easy to understand. The book is both serious and delightfully funny. If you are looking for something that is escapist yet pertinent to real life, you'll enjoy this short book that is 160 pages long.
There are places where Mr. Gardner's grammar is a little less than clear. I found myself having to read an occasional sentence where the structure wasn't as clear as it could be. However, this is easily overlooked because of the content. It's fairly easy to rearrange a sentence so that you can understand what he is saying, but for the most part, the writing is lucid and easily understood.
This is the kind of book that you can read, two or three pages at a time. This makes for a good coffee table book. It is also the kind of book that can be used to find out more about a certain kind of paradox by looking it up by name on the Internet when you want more material to illustrate it. Mr. Gardner does not pull these paradoxes out of thin air. Most are widely known by either philosophers, writers, comedians, and even mathematicians.
If you're looking for entertainment that is good brain food, you'll find this book very fulfilling. Get it. Read it. It's both entertaining and thought provoking.
Martin Gardner was a supremely intelligent mathematician with a real talent for explaining complex mathematical problems in a way that lay people could understand.
Gotcha! follows the same lines. It's kind of an odd book, in that the cartoony style is a little dated and it really looks more like a kid's book or a Young Adult book. Make no mistake, it's not, though young adults could certainly benefit and enjoy.
Gardner primarily approaches logical fallacies in this book. He uses the cartoons to walk you through exactly the wrong conclusion, then steps back and brilliantly deconstructs the argument so that you can see where your normal human condition fails you and why the unintuitive answer is the mathematically correct one. That said, he does it in a way that involves minimal math and only a basic understanding of logic and reason.
That's not to say the book is dumb or dumbed down. Nothing could be further from the truth. It tackles some very complex problems and some issues that have confounded mathematicians and logicians for centuries. Some of the problems don't even have an answer, and he even manages to walk you through why we've been unable to answer the question even though the answer seems obvious.
Overall, it's just a delightful book that's easy to read and leaves you much smarter than you were when you started it. There's not many books that can make such a claim.
Most recent customer reviews
If it is your first Martin Gardner book, I really recommend it.