This book is one of my all-time favorite books for teaching problem solving in a fun, engaging way. The authors’ clever use of graphics and excellent choice of problems encourages active involvement of the reader.
The book’s method of presentation is very similar to the one I use in class: first, a problem or puzzle is given for the reader to attempt to solve. Then the authors show the mathematics underlying the problem. Finally they lead the reader through the solution by well-defined steps. The mathematics is used to make solving the problem easier. After I use this approach with students, frequently I will offer extensions or modifications so my audience has multiple opportunities to see the problem-solving process and internalize it.
One of the differences between this book and other puzzle or problem-solving books is that the reader will learn some very interesting and exciting math. Most people should find areas of mathematics they are not familiar with and enjoy their trip because of the excellent treatment of the subject matter.
The design of the book allows the reader to skip around to areas of interest. Since the book was originally designed as the main text for an applied problem solving course, it is well set up to be used in most classes either as a main or supplemental text. There’s something here for everybody! Here’s a well-known logic problem from the book to whet your problem-solving appetite: