Puzzles to Puzzle You

Puzzles to Puzzle You - Shakuntala Devi

What is mathematics? It is only a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature.

Recreational mathematics, in a way, is pure mathematics and it is often difficult to distinguish pure mathematics from recreational mathematics. However, it may also be considered applied mathematics in the sense it satisfies the human need for intellectual play. And solving wits and puzzles, in a way, helps to develop wit and ingenuity.

The pedagogic value of recreational mathematics is now widely recognised and creative mathematicians are never embarrassed to show their interest in recreational topics. Today one finds an increasing emphasis on it in journals published for mathematical instructors and in modem text books.

It is said that the famous mathematician Leibnitz spent considerable time to the study of peg-jumping puzzles. And is also a well known fact that Prof. Albert Einstein's bookshelf was stacked with books on mathematical games and puzzles. It is creative thoughts bestowed on such mathematical play, that has led many a great mind to scientific discoveries.

While solving of the mathematical puzzles and riddles may provide pleasant relaxation to some, undoubtedly these items have a way of hooking the students' interest as little else can.

Some of the puzzles in the book show very elegant facts and proofs in mathematics. Many who consider the subject dull and boring will see that some facts of mathematics can be quite simple, interesting and even beautiful. These are not riddles made to deceive, nonsensical puzzles which are made to tease the mind without purpose. The puzzles included in this book are straightforward exercises in reason and statement of facts from which a person with reasonably agile mind can proceed to a logical conclusion.

Readers will find adventure, excitement, and delight in cracking the clean, sharply defined, and mysterious order that underlay the puzzles, and experience enormous intellectual entertainment.


Born in a well-known family of Brahmin priests in Bangalore, Shakuntala Devi received her early lessons in mathematics from her grandfather. By the age of five, she was recognised as a child prodigy and an expert in complex mental arithmetic. A year later she demonstrated her talents to a large assembly of students and professors at the University of Mysore.

Hailed as an authentic heroine of our times her feats are recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. She made international headlines for out-performing and out-computing the most sophisticated computers in the world.

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