Free Math Magic Books!

Published on Sunday, May 18, 2014 in , , , , , ,

Stewart Butterfield's bookshelf photoLast week, I gave you some free magazines to peruse.

This week, I have some books I'd like to share with you, and they're filled with a great selection of classic mathematical feats and magic!

The first book I'll share with you is a 1952 book titled Mental Prodigies, by Fred Barlow (embedded below). The first section is concerned purely with arithmetical prodigies, or what we might call lightning calculators or human calculators today. The next section discusses related types of prodigies, such as chess or music. Next, is a section on memory, including chapters on famous memorizers, as well as mnemonics and memory techniques for actors.

The chapter I think will be the most interesting to Grey Matters readers is the section on Mental Magic, starting on page 183. It includes many of the standard feats covered here on Grey Matters, such as day for any date, squaring, cubing, and finding roots.

However, there are some more unusual ones, such as calculating the number of farthings in a given number of guineas, or how many barleycorns there are in a given number of yards. Granted, these might not play too well today, but the same technique, as the author explains, can also be used to give the number of minutes in a given number of weeks!

After the embedded book below, scroll down further for another math magic book.

If you'd prefer more than just a few small chapters about mathematical magic, check out the 1950 classic, Math Miracles, by Wallace Lee.

Among the more unusual tricks here are the Ne Plus Ultra Lightning Multiplier and its variations. The Miscellanies chapter is filled with numerous quick and unusual tricks, including the 100 version of our old friend Nim!

I don't want to rob you of the joy of discovery however. Take a chance to page through these e-books, and you may find some unexpected treasures!

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