Puzzles of all sort have fascinated people for ages, they have varied from riddles, counting challenges, crosswords, logic puzzles and mathematical conundrums. Spending 20 minutes or so on a puzzle is not wasted time; it has been shown that they can in some instances improve cognitive ability. It is not fully conclusive, but the main draw for doing all sorts of puzzle is that they are fun. Some of our greatest minds including codebreakers and Nobel Prize winners have used puzzles to keep their minds sharp and as a distraction from normal life.
The popular maths guru, Alex Bellos has bought together all sort of different puzzles into one book. These 125 different puzzles have been grouped together into broad categories, like logic, geometry and of course the mathematical ones. Each puzzle has an introduction and a little history about it which makes for fascinating reading. Some of the puzzles that Bellos has found for us to stretch our grey matter are deceptively simple and there are some in here that are are fiendishly difficult!
Some of these puzzles date back millennia; Bellos has bought them right up to date with this collection. Most fascinating is the history and evolution of these puzzles. As brilliant minds solved one they then dreamt up even more complex ways to torment us. There is something for everyone in here, not just for fans of Sudoku, and the different levels of puzzles mean that you have some that intrigue, other that need a little more effort and some that may make your head hurt. It is an excellent book for encouraging mathematical exploration without out frightening some people.
Thank goodness though, the answers are in the back…