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on 5 August 2003
As with many Dover titles, this is an interesting, if niche, book.
As someone interested in both mathematics and magic, I found this book really cool. Though written quite some time ago, the book is still immensely readable and allows you to practise 'mathemagic' - i.e. magic tricks based on mathematics - straight away.
The advantage of this branch of magic is that no gimmicks or special ability are required 99% of the time - the tricks are self-working and allow you to focus on the acting side of magic rather than on mechanics.
This book is divided according to the maths field covered rather than type of trick, which can leave magicians a little confused. However, it ignores maths theory and lauches straight into the tricks.
Subjects range from topology (i.e. shapes, ropes etc) to pure numbers; within each section, you can find many types of trick, grouped together by type within the chapter.
Some of the tricks are not that effective and are more of a curiosity than anything else. They demonstrate a mathematical point really well, but aren't entertaining enough to perform.
Others, like the mind-reading trick in the Pure Numbers section, are awesome and can blow any audience away!
It really depends on how much into magic (or maths) you are; this book reaches for the middle ground and has a lot to appeal to either side:
Mathematicians will find interesting challenges - trying to figure out the maths behind the trick is fun, and seeing a simple theorem put to practise is really rewarding;
Magicians will find 'clean', little-known tricks which are real gems for entertainment value alone, and can often be practised from any angle and thoroughly examined because there's no gimmick.
If you like either or both fields, you're in for a treat!
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on 3 July 2014
Although Martin Gardner was a well-known math problem compiler, this book is not up to his usual standard of interest!
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on 22 October 2016
arrived on time, good read
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on 23 December 2011
It's a Martin Gardner book. What more do you need to know? The man's a legend. All his stuff is entertaining.
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