- Series: Princeton Science Library
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Princeton Science Li edition (September 25, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 069111966X
- ISBN-13: 978-0691119663
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 124 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (Princeton Science Library) Princeton Science Li Edition
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"Every prospective teacher should read it. In particular, graduate students will find it invaluable. The traditional mathematics professor who reads a paper before one of the Mathematical Societies might also learn something from the book: 'He writes a, he says b, he means c; but it should be d.' "--E. T. Bell, Mathematical Monthly
"[This] elementary textbook on heuristic reasoning, shows anew how keen its author is on questions of method and the formulation of methodological principles. Exposition and illustrative material are of a disarmingly elementary character, but very carefully thought out and selected."--Herman Weyl, Mathematical Review
"I recommend it highly to any person who is seriously interested in finding out methods of solving problems, and who does not object to being entertained while he does it."--Scientific Monthly
"Any young person seeking a career in the sciences would do well to ponder this important contribution to the teacher's art."--A. C. Schaeffer, American Journal of Psychology
"Every mathematics student should experience and live this book"--Mathematics Magazine
"In an age that all solutions should be provided with the least possible effort, this book brings a very important message: mathematics and problem solving in general needs a lot of practice and experience obtained by challenging creative thinking, and certainly not by copying predefined recipes provided by others. Let's hope this classic will remain a source of inspiration for several generations to come."--A. Bultheel, European Mathematical Society
About the Author
George Polya (1887-1985) was one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century. His basic research contributions span complex analysis, mathematical physics, probability theory, geometry, and combinatorics. He was a teacher par excellence who maintained a strong interest in pedagogical matters throughout his long career. Even after his retirement from Stanford University in 1953, he continued to lead an active mathematical life. He taught his final course, on combinatorics, at the age of ninety. John H. Conway is professor emeritus of mathematics at Princeton University. He was awarded the London Mathematical Society's Polya Prize in 1987. Like Polya, he is interested in many branches of mathematics, and in particular, has invented a successor to Polya's notation for crystallographic groups.
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Top customer reviews
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Most people simply say that "practice makes perfect". When it comes to contest level problems, it is not as simple as that. There are experienced trainers like Professor Titu Andreescu who spend a lot of time training kids to get better. There is lot more to it than simply trying out tough problems.
The most common situation occurs when you encounter extremely tough questions like the Olympiad ones. Most people simply sit and stare at the problem and don't go beyond that. Even the kids who are extremely fast with 10th grade math miserably fail. Why?
The ONE book which explains this is titled "Mathematical Problem Solving" written by Professor Alan Schoenfeld. It is simply amazing. A must buy. In case you have ever wondered why, in spite of being lightning fast in solving textbook exercises in the 10th and 11th grade, you fail in being able to solve even a single problem from the IMO, you have to read this book. I am surprised to see Polya's book getting mentioned so very often bu nobody ever mentions Schoenfeld's book. It is a must read book for ANY math enthusiast and the math majors.
After reading this book, you will possibly get a picture as to what is involved in solving higher level math problems especially the psychology of it. You need to know that as psychology is one of the greatest hurdles to over when it comes to solving contest problems. Then you move on to "Thinking Mathematically" written by J. Mason et al. It has problems which are only few times too hard but most of the times, have just enough "toughness" for the author to make the point ONLY IF THE STUDENT TRIES THEM OUT.
The next level would be Paul Zeitz's The Art and Craft of Problem Solving. This book also explains the mindset needed for solving problems of the Olympiad kind. At this point, you will probably realize what ExACTLY it means when others say that "problem solving is all about practice". All the while you would be thinking "practice what? I simply cannot make the first move successfully and how can I practice when I can't even solve one problem even when I tried for like a month". It is problem solving and not research in math that you are trying to do. You will probably get a better picture after going through the above three books.
Finally, you can move on to Arthur Engel's Problem Solving Strategies and Titu Andreescu's Mathematical Olympiad Challenges if you managed to get to this point. There is also problem solving through problems by Loren Larson. These are helpful only if you could solve Paul Zeitz's book successfully.
To conclude, if you are looking for guidance at the level of math Olympiad, look for other books. This book won't be of much assistance. On the other hand, if you are simply trying to get better at grade school math, this book will be very useful.
As I have no issue with dozens of other Kindle edition books read on my iPad, I attribute this to the book being ~66 years old and so probably scanned into Kindle.
Very poorly done IMHO.