# The Magic of Maths

## Solving for x and Figuring Out Why

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### About the author

**Arthur Benjamin**holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University and is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, where he has taught since 1989. He is a noted mathemagician,” known for being able to perform complicated computations in his head. He is the author, most recently, of

*The Secrets of Mental Math*, and has appeared on The Today Show and The Colbert Report. Benjamin has been profiled in such publications as the

*New York Times*, the

*Los Angeles Times*,

*USA Today*,

*Scientific American*,

*Discover*, and

*Wired*.

more

*The Magic of Maths*is the maths book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examplesfrom ice cream scoops and poker hands to measuring mountains and making magic squaresthis book empowers you to see the beauty, simplicity, and truly magical properties behind those formulas and equations that once left your head spinning. You’ll learn the key ideas of classic areas of mathematics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, but you’ll also have fun fooling around with Fibonacci numbers, investigating infinity, and marveling over mathematical magic tricks that will make you look like a maths genius!

A mathematician who is known throughout the world as the mathemagician,” Arthur Benjamin mixes mathematics and magic to make the subject fun, attractive, and easy to understand. In

*The Magic of Maths*, Benjamin does more than just teach skills: with a tip of his magic hat, he takes you on as his apprentice to teach you how to appreciate maths the way he does. He motivates you to learn something new about how to solve for x, because there is real pleasure to be found in the solution to a challenging problem or in using numbers to do something useful. But what he really wants you to do is be able to figure out why, for that’s where you’ll find the real beauty, power, and magic of maths.

If you are already someone who likes maths, this book will dazzle and amuse you. If you never particularly liked or understood maths, Benjamin will enlighten you andwith a wave of his magic wandturn you into a maths lover.

Subject categories

- Academic > Mathematics > General > Vinogradov, Ivan Matveevich, 1891-
- Academic > Mathematics > General > Mathematics; Periodicals
- Academic > Mathematics > General > Mathematics; Study and teaching
- Academic > Mathematics > Elementary mathematics
- Mathematics > Study & Teaching
- Mathematics > History & Philosophy

ISBNs

0465098754

9780465098743

9780465098750

### In the press

**ADVANCE PRAISE FOR**

*THE MAGIC OF MATH*[Benjamin] use[s] some interesting trickery to draw the reader into the conversation about the importance of math in everyday life.... The Magic of Math is a good model for instructional material. It delivers material on a complex nature in a manner that most people will be able to understand, and you get some magic tricks and humor thrown in for the bargain. You will enjoy this book, you can count on that.”

*Roanoke Times*[A] well-written, entertaining volume.... This solid reference for teachers seeking interesting classroom examples (and jokes) could easily lure a student into further studies in mathematics.”

*Library Journal*An enthusiastic celebration of the beauty of mathematics.... Benjamin delivers a primer generously filled with insights and intuitions that make math approachable, interesting, and, yes, beautiful.”

*Kirkus Reviews*[A] positively joyful exploration of mathematics. [Benjamin’s] approach is simple and refreshingly practical.... Whether figuring out compound interest, using trigonometry to determine the height of a tree, or employing calculus to work out a shortest possible walking route, each topic is presented in the clearest, simplest way possible.... [I]ts energy and enthusiasm should charm even the most math-phobic readers.”

*Publishers Weekly*, starred reviewArthur Benjamin shows you that numbers do more than just keep track of things and solve problems. He joyfully shows you how to make nature’s numbers dance. Let his book be your partner for a lifetime of learning.”

**Bill Nye, Science Educator and CEO, The Planetary Society**

Prepare to be dazzled and delighted. In

*The Magic of Math*, Art Benjamin offers us a fun, fast-paced magic show of the greatest treasures of pre-college math, from poker hands to Pascal’s triangle, all revealed with the flair of a showman and the clarity of a master teacher.

*The Magic of Math*will leave you smiling, awestruck, and begging for an encore.”

**Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University and author of**

*The Joy of x**The Magic of Math*teaches you cool mathematical facts, theorems, puzzles, and problems from arithmetic to calculus. The book provides problems that are accessible to everyone. Teachers will find many ideas to motivate students and to provide an extra challenge for those who are already into math.”

**Gail Burrill, President Emeritus, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics Education, Michigan State University**

Conventional magic works because you can’t understand how it works. The magic of mathematics comes from that exciting aha” moment when you suddenly get what’s going on. Art Benjamin breaks all the rules of the Magic Circle in this book and provides readers with an all-access backstage pass to the magical world of mathematics.”

**Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford and author of**

*The Number Mysteries*There's a playful joy to be found in this book, for readers at any level. Most magicians don't reveal their secrets because doing so would spoil the fun, but in

*The Magic of Math*, Art Benjamin shows how uncovering the mystery behind beautiful mathematical truths makes math even more marvelous to behold.”

**Francis Su, President, Mathematical Association of America**

Art Benjamin is a mathematics professor, a magician, a public intellectual, an entertainer, a lightning calculator, and one of the finest men I’ve ever known. With

*The Magic of Math*, he has emerged as the world’s foremost math teacher and a national treasure. Parents should get this book for their childrenand a second copy for themselves. It’s that good. And important. Read it.”

**Michael Shermer, Publisher of**

*Skeptic magazine*and author of*The Moral Arc*and*The Science of Good and Evil*They say magicians should never reveal their secrets. Happily, Art Benjamin has ignored this silly adagefor in this small volume, Benjamin reveals to his audience the secrets of numbers and other mathematical illusions that have intrigued mathematicians for millennia.”

**Edward B. Burger, President, Southwestern University and author of**

*Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz*This book will be magical for my students, as it would have been for me throughout my school days. They'll be able to revisit the book frequently as they learn more math, finding deeper appreciation and discovering new areas to explore with each visit.”

**Richard Rusczyk, co-author of**

*The Art of Problem Solving*In

*The Magic of Math*, Art Benjamin has pulled off a seemingly impossible trick. He has made higher mathematics appear so natural and engaging that you will wonder why you were ever bored and confused in math class. There are many books that attempt to popularize mathematics. This is one of the best. On virtually every page I found myself learning new things, or looking at familiar topics in novel ways.”

**Jason Rosenhouse, Professor of Mathematics, James Madison University and author of**

*The Monty Hall Problem*"In

*The Magic of Math*, mathemagician Art Benjamin gives us an entertaining and enlightening tour of a wide swath of fundamental mathematical ideas, presented in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. A particularly appealing feature of the book is the frequent use of friendly, down-to-earth explanations of the concepts and connections between them.”

**Ronald Graham, President Emeritus of the American Mathematical Society and co-author of**

*Magical Mathematics*Mathematics is full of surprisingly beautiful patterns, which Art Benjamin's witty personality brings to life in

*The Magic of Math*. You will not only discover many wonderful ideas, but you will also find some fun mathematical magic tricks that you will want to try out on your friends and family. Be prepared to learn that math is more entertaining than you may have thought.”

**George W. Hart, Mathematical Sculptor, Research Professor at Stony Brook University and co-founder of the Museum of Mathematics**

*The Magic of Math*offers an expansive, unforgettable journey through mathematics where numbers dance and mathematical secrets are revealed. Just open the book and start reading; you'll be swept over by the magic of Benjamin's writing. Luckily, there is no magician's code to these secrets as you'll undoubtedly want to share and perform them with family and friends.”

**Tim Chartier, Professor of Mathematics at Davidson College and the author of**

*Math Bytes*This book is a whirlwind tour of mathematics from arithmetic and algebra all the way to calculus and infinity, and especially the number 9. Art Benjamin's enthusiastic and engaging writing style makes

*The Magic of Math*a great addition to any math enthusiast’s bag of tricks.”

**Laura Taalman, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, James Madison University**

*The Magic of Math*is a delightful stroll through a garden filled with fascinating examples. Anyone with any interest in magic, puzzles, or math will have many hours of enjoyment in reading this book.”

**Maria M. Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College**

Art Benjamin has created an instant mathematical classic, by combining Isaac Asimov's clarity with Martin Gardner's taste and adding his own sense of fun and adventure. I wish he wrote this book when I was a kid.”

**Paul A. Zeitz, Professor and Chair, Mathematics, University of San Francisco and author of**

*The Art and Craft of Problem Solving*