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Dead Reckoning: Calculating without Instruments Paperback – 1 Sep 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Gulf Publishing Co (1 Sep 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884150879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884150879
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.4 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Synopsis

This volume describes techniques of computation and approximation that may be used to mentally and rapidly calculate mathematical quantities, including results of arithmetic operations and values of elementary functions. These methods range from very old to recent to brand new. They are not shortcuts, rather, the book is aimed at sharpening the mental skills needed to perform "mathematical acrobatics". The book is intended for those whose interest in mathematics has engendered a general appreciation of numbers and a desire to expand their capacities of abstract thought. It presents a set of useful and challenging methods and algorithms for quick mental computation of products, quotients, roots of non-perfect powers, and trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential values. Chapters begin with quotes from mathematicians and philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, James Lowell and Alfred North Whitehead.

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If the mind with its hundred billion neurons is the most intricate amalgam in the known universe, we should expect to do marvelous things with it. Read the first page
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Jan 1999
Format: Paperback
Imagine transforming your mind into a slide-rule with the added bonus of extra precision! "Dead Reckoning" is the ONLY book of its kind, running the gamut from ordinary operations like multiplication and division to roots (square, higher-order, and reciprocal), logarithms and their inverses, and finally trigonometric functions and their inverses. The book also contains other gems such as factorization techniques, continued fractions (for creating rational approximations), and also an algorithm which permits mental square root extractions to arbitrary precision. Those who feel daunted by symbolic formulas needn't worry, the book is replete with examples which provide both clarity and realism to the presentation. The author has an engaging style and has obviously taken great pains; the clarity of the exposition is excellent throughout. Moreover, the text is profusely referenced for those wishing to further pursue a topic that piques their interest. The techniques and strategies contained therein are as practical as they are efficient and are equally amenable to quick pen-and-paper calculations for those not interested in pursuing mental computations. Heartily recommended! - Grant Nixon
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. R. Howard on 17 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it was not the book i was looking for i wanted flying navigation dead recconing information.i have not had a good look at the book yet,i did flip though the book i shall read it within the next couple of months as on first glance it looks to be interesting for refreshing ones basic maths??
regards paul howard.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The magnum opus of mental arithmetic! 31 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Imagine transforming your mind into a slide-rule with the added bonus of extra precision! "Dead Reckoning" is the ONLY book of its kind, running the gamut from ordinary operations like multiplication and division to roots (square, higher-order, and reciprocal), logarithms and their inverses, and finally trigonometric functions and their inverses. The book also contains other gems such as factorization techniques, continued fractions (for creating rational approximations), and also an algorithm which permits mental square root extractions to arbitrary precision. Those who feel daunted by symbolic formulas needn't worry, the book is replete with examples which provide both clarity and realism to the presentation. The author has an engaging style and has obviously taken great pains; the clarity of the exposition is excellent throughout. Moreover, the text is profusely referenced for those wishing to further pursue a topic that piques their interest. The techniques and strategies contained therein are as practical as they are efficient and are equally amenable to quick pen-and-paper calculations for those not interested in pursuing mental computations. Heartily recommended! - Grant Nixon
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Great Idea, Poorly Proofread 18 Feb 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are many books designed to teach rapid calculation without aid of a machine. The topic that sets this one apart, and the entire reason I bought it is that it covers logarithms. Unlike most of the books in this genre this one does not waste space with endless examples and practice problems, anybody can create there own. It does back an impressive array of methods to increase speed in pencil and paper calculation, and makes it clear that each method has a time and place for maximal performance.

This book was well thought out, but unfortunately not well proofread. For example, pp 14 and 15 have the following mistakes:

"125 x n = 8n,000 / 8" should read "125 x n = n,000 / 8"

"37 can be represented as 111/4" should read "37 can be represented as 111/3"

The typos caused me to verify every method presented, but could lead unsuspecting travelers down the wrong path.

BOTTOM LINE: This books is a wonderful treasury of number sense that is riddled with typos.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
It just doesn't add up. 23 Aug 2007
By Martin Hamann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dead Reckoning failed to meet expectations - that of being able to mentally or quickly do rudimentary math excersizes (such as finding square roots, large multiplication, etc.). I myself am okay with math and was looking to this book to further expand my abilities. It was not well explained and I was lost shortly after the introduction even after reading it three times. I even read on to see if I could catch up, but it just got more complicated. I am not sure the target audience (I'm assuming that it is for someone such as myself), but it really missed the mark. I'm sure the guy who wrote it is really smart, but I would recommend you not read it - or at least not have it be your first book on mental/speed math.

Much better reads are (in order of usefulness) Speed Mathematics Simplified by E. Stoddard, Speed Mathematics by B. Handley, and How to Calculate Quickly by H. Stickler. I've read these three and they provide much more useful methods than Dead Reckoning.

Anyone want to buy my copy of Dead Reckoning - cheap?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating but not for everyone 18 Jun 2013
By maddog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If your goal is to learn 'Speed Math' - the ability to do arithmetic quickly and perhaps without pencil & paper, this book is not the best choice. There are several excellent books on this subject. This book is written by a scientist for people with a similar background in math. To read this book without struggling you need strong algebra skills and a familiarity with Taylor series and the like. Typically this means you have taken at least two semesters of calculus. If you have the algebra but not the rest, you can follow this book but it will take some chewing to follow the discussions. However, if you are up for it, this book will take you deeper and further into the theory and practise of hand computation than any other that I have seen. In addition to a fascinating exploration of arithmetical techniques and their theoretical underpinnings, he also covers logarithms and trig functions. Logs are an enormously powerful tool for mental calculation. If you memorize a handful of basic logarithms you can do such stunts as mentaly evaluating numbers to arbitrary powers to a good approximaation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A nicely dense book of focused ideas 18 Dec 2008
By John B. Clements - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a long relationship with this book; I saw it at Green Apple books in San Francisco when I was a kid, and I must have looked at it ten or twelve times before I bought it. In some ways, this is the story of the book itself; like a good textbook, it's not a fast read, but something you have to come back to repeatedly.

Some books are smooth, fast reads; you can't put them down. These books delight because they transport you, carry you away. Other books are great for exactly the *opposite* reason. Every time you read a page, you have a new thing to think about and chew on, and you have to put the book down and think about that idea for a day or two. Dead Reckoning is one of these books. I'm delighted every time I digest a new idea/skill, and this book is packed with them.
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