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# Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,114 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
These simple math secrets and tricks will forever change how you look at the world of numbers.

Secrets of Mental Math will have you thinking like a math genius in no time. Get ready to amaze your friends—and yourself—with incredible calculations you never thought you could master, as renowned “mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin shares his techniques for lightning-quick calculat
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ebook, 224 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Three Rivers Press (first published August 1st 2006)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 15, 2012 Onna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book! It's a nerd's dream come true for me. I checked it out from the library and had it for at least two months. It pained me to give it back. I'm going to buy it soon as I get money. These tricks are so wonderful, it's a wonder they didn't use these in school.

I loved the Pi part. I can recite Pi to a hundred digits now! Always been a goal of mine too. I was content with knowing it for 20 digits, but this made it super easy to know it to a hundred. Then the figuring out the weekday
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Dec 27, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book helped me to re-build a fresh perspective on doing math in my head. He builds on a central idea of breaking down seemingly complex computations into simple, manageable ones. He then gives you new ways of seeing numbers such that, once these various patterns become familiar, you are able to employ tricks to getting the math done quickly. One of his first examples is how to square a two-digit number that ends in 5.

"... you need to remember only two things. 1. The answer begins by multipl
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Jul 24, 2012 Phil Sykora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Foreword by Bill Nye?

BILL NYE?!?

Watching him was definitely the greatest time I had in science class. Knowing that he advocates this book (or was bought out to support it) is pretty much worthy of my attention.

No question there is definitely useful (to the point of being necessary) information in this book. In the first chapter (ironically Chapter 0), I was introduced to a smorgasbord of various tricks that became immediately useful: the rule of multiplying 11s, squaring numbers that end in 5, m
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Jun 13, 2011 Mike Shultz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I slowed down about half way through this book and was ready to give it 3 stars. In some cases I had discovered a fair number of the tricks on my own, or had learned them elsewhere. The processes described were sometimes just brute mathematics, requiring you compute, then hold numbers in your head and compute again.

However, the second half had some cool techniques that I didn't know, and while 4 or 5-digit multiplication problems are just plain difficult (as the author admits), 3 and 4 digit sq
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Aug 18, 2015 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math
As a nerd who is desperate for attention but also very lazy, this book was a godsend! Arthur Benjamin's mental math tips are very easy to learn, yet still appear impressive to the casual observer. Towards the end of the book, there are some real showstoppers, but even if one only gets halfway through the tricks, you could still impress people at a party (a very lame party).
May 23, 2010 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars really isn't a fair rating. Had some fun adding and subtracting and then multiplying 3 digit numbers in my head.

But as the problems get more complex, my limitations became apparent. Couldn't read through the entire book. When I couldn't do what the book was suggesting, just gave up.

So no - reading this book wont suddenly make you a math genius.

There are some interesting stories with interesting perspectives, but not enough to inspire the me to practice the "tricks" and yes I expect th
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Jul 27, 2007 Natalya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Special thanks to NATALYA ST. CLAIR for typesetting the initial draft, which was partly supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation." :D
Dec 20, 2014 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and its accompanying video CD. The author is full of enthusiasm and the mathematical tricks are really worth learning, and so simple.

I enjoyed teaching some of the tricks to my grandson, who, in turn, enjoyed showing them off to his friends and teachers at school.

I'd recommend this book to everyone. A lot of fun!
الكتاب الاكثر فائدة في موضوع الحساب الذهني
انصح القراء العرب بقراءته اسلوبه سهل جدا
والحيل فيه مفيدة وعملية فالناس في حياتها ومعاملتها اكثر ما تستخدم الرياضيات البسيطة غير "المعقدة"
القدرة على حل العمليات بشكل مختصر جدا وذهنيا التي يعلمها الكتاب ستجعلك تحزن على عدم معرفتك السابقة بها
good book

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An entertaining math book! Seriously. Easy to read and easy to understand strategies for improving number sense. I think my kids might also like how the author frames the equations as tricks or illusions. Of course, with my short memory, I had to buy a copy so I can refer back to it. Sorry library.
Mar 27, 2013 Jeff Yoak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tremendously enjoyed both the book and the video course. I was familiar with Benjamin both from other courses and from his mental math tricks. Not only did I improve a lot just from watching, but I picked up some really neat new tricks that I know I can get with practice. Lots of fun.
Apr 27, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
I already knew/used a few of these tricks, but some were new and pretty smart. And there's nothing nerdier than doing math in you head on the train, so that was fun.
Feb 10, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some things in here I have no interest in mastering, but there are some neat tricks worth some study!
Oct 17, 2011 Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first third of this book should be mandatory for all math and elementary educators. Gets a little unnecessary after that, but it was still a good read.
Dec 14, 2016 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want maths to be simpler
Recommended to Samantha by: an engineer
Helped me so much to make math easier. I shocked my friends into thinking I was a super genius and with this books helps I won't stop. I put it down because after a while it was starting to bore me but after a few months you can pick back up again.
Oct 15, 2016 Major Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this book: great tricks; now, I have to get my kids to listen to it.
Dec 18, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, divulgacio, 2012

En una època en la que tothom va amb un mòbil (amb calculadora) a les butxaques, vaig jo i llegeixo un llibre que només es dedica a explicar trucs per calcular (mentalment) més ràpid. Sembla que no té sentit, però... bé, jo sempre he sigut molt vaga per aquestes coses, i per no haver de treure la calculadora de la bossa, o el mòbil de la butxaca (i obrir la calculadora), o... sempre acabo calculant les coses de cap, que és més ràpid que buscar una calculadora. D'acord, pels càlculs llargs no, p
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nice and awesome i would reccomend it to everyone
Jun 29, 2013 Leo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was quite helpful for my uses but leaves many topics uncovered.

I used the book to prep for various interviews where I need to do math in my head FAST and without paper. This book was an excellent start. I would say that it is too brief to be exhaustive so I'd recommend consulting other materials if you're trying to learn mental math for a serious goal.

What the book does provide is a solid introduction into doing math in your head and if you get through it, you will probably end up wan
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Oct 08, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: home-schooling parents, teachers
Recommended to Liz by: a home-schooling parent
I skimmed this book extremely fast so probably not quite fair to give it a rating. I learned several things I never knew about math. Just the chapter on multiplication in less than 5 minutes helped me understand the math curriculum theories for my sons' elementary school better than I've received from any teacher or the principal. However, it is a hard core book on math so how exciting could that really be? And it's not really a book to read, but more to work through. So I was not motivated to w ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Emil Petersen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is potent stuff. The first chapters were much like my own way of doing calculations in my head, and so I was lulled into saying to myself "this is not that hard". By the last few chapters my face practically melted. Most of us can recognize when we meet the threshold of our mental abilities, and I met mine when doing larger multiplications. All these calculations requires quite a few balls in the air and it is a whole other level multiplying two 5-digit numbers on stage in front of an audie ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Jackie Fowler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math
There were enough interesting math shortcuts in this book to keep my interest, especially those dealing with multiplication tricks, squaring, finding divisors (and why those tricks work), and figuring out any day of the week in the Gregorian Calendar. But, there were also many parts that just weren't feasible to me. Only certain people, like the author, are capable of doing all the mental tricks he covers. Some math problems were just too much to do with paper and pencil, and I'm a math person! ...more
Contains techniques for lightning fast mental calculation and other things for elementary mathematics and random tricks. For instance, it includes the phonetic memory system for recalling numbers and a way to calculate dates in your head. The techniques listed in the book are a bit counter intuitive, but they work pretty well. The book also contains problems for you to do on your own in order for you to go and improve your abilities at this particular skill.

Also contained within are biographies
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I'm neither interested in squaring three-digit numbers in my head nor in doing mathematical magic. I'm only interested in practical mental math. I did buy this book for chapter 5; *** Good Enough; The Art of 'Guesstimation' ***. I've been doing guesstimations for many years intuitively, not very structured. This fine chapter teaches beginners the art of guesstimation while experts can go back to the basics and hone their skills while they might discover something new ... I did do so with approxi ...more
The author of this book calls himself a mathemagician. He combines his love to both math and magic in this book. The book introduces creative , simple and easy ways for doing algebra. When reading this book, I realized that I was already using some of the methods introduced in the book. I have to say that even though I am not a math lover, I really enjoyed reading this book and practicing its creative calculations methods. One final note, after you're done with reading the book, check out the re ...more
Nov 24, 2010 Robert is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, no doubt. I think this is most useful for younger readers who aren't married to the way they were taught to do math in school.

For anyone who loves math, you should read this book. It will help you understand better how numbers relate to each other and why. It adds perspective. I'd recommend this book if math is something you really find interesting, or you want to look smarter than you are.
Sep 12, 2016 Mars rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is enthusiastic, but somehow this enthusiasm doesn't transmit to the reader. The tricks work, but I am incredibly bored by this book regardless. (might have worked better with real-life examples, but I for one am hard-pressed to think of a good real-life reason to multiply a pair of two-digit numbers in your head)
May 04, 2015 Krishna Kumar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for learning how to do mathematics in your head instead of on paper. You can learn how to add and subtract quickly and learn how to add a set of many numbers and multiply large numbers very easily. The book also features many mathematical shortcuts. It is a fun book, and if you are a student or teacher, you will find this tremendously useful in your daily life.
Apr 17, 2013 Andy Pelerine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about secrets to easy math problems. This book was good to about page 50 but then it got way to complicated for me. I think this is a book that you should read over time. For example in 7th grade read to page 50 or so and then in 8th read to page 100 or so. And so on and so on. But overall I think this was a decent book.
I thought this might help my math challenged daughter, but it won't, you still need to get basic math. oh well, I did learn that something I have been doing for years - did they teach this as the 'new math' way back when? - his trick of adding or subtracting from the left instead of the right works because of the distributive principle of mathematics.
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