Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician’s Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks.
Ever since I was a child, I have loved playing with numbers, and in this book I hope to share my passion with you. I have always found numbers to have a certain magical appeal and spent countless hours entertaining myself and others with their beautiful properties. As a teenager, I performed as a magician, and subsequently combined my loves of math and magic into a full-length show, called Mathemagics, where I would demon strate and explain the secrets of rapid mental calculation to audiences of all ages.
Since earning my PhD, I have taught mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, and I still enjoy sharing the joy of numbers with children and adults throughout the world. In this book, I will share all of my secrets for doing math in your head, quickly and easily. (I realize that magicians are not supposed to reveal their secrets, but mathemagicians have a different code of ethics. Mathematics should be awe inspiring, not mysterious.) What will you learn from this book? You will learn to do math in your head faster than you ever thought possible. After a little practice, you will dramatically improve your memory for numbers. You will learn feats of mind that will impress your friends, colleagues, and teachers. But you will also learn to view math as an activity that can actually be fun.
Too often, math is taught as a set of rigid rules, leaving little room for creative thinking. But as you will learn from Secrets, there are often several ways to solve the same problem. Large problems can be broken down into smaller, more manageable components. We look for special features to make our problems easier to solve. These strike me as being valuable life lessons that we can use in approaching all kinds of problems, mathematical and otherwise.
“But isn’t math talent something that you are born with?” I get this question all the time. Many people are convinced that lightning calculators are prodigiously gifted. Maybe I was born with some curiosity about how things work, whether it be a math problem or a magic trick. But I am convinced, based on many years of teaching experience, that rapid math is a skill that anyone can learn. And like any worthwhile skill, it takes practice and dedication if you wish to become an expert. But to achieve these results efficiently, it is important that you practice the right way. Let me show you the way!
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