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The Puzzler's Dilemma: From the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Monty Hall, a Fresh Look at Classic Conundrums of Logic, Mathematics, and Life
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The Puzzler's Dilemma: From the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Monty Hall, a Fresh Look at Classic Conundrums of Logic, Mathematics, and Life

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  82 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Calling all puzzlers...

From mathematics to word puzzles, from logic to lateral thinking, veteran puzzle maker Derrick Niederman delights in tackling the trickiest brainteasers in a new way. Among the old chestnuts he cracks wide open are the following classics:
Knights and knaves
The monk and the mountain
The dominoes and the chessboard
The unexpected hanging
The Tower of
...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Perigee Books (first published February 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Jonathan
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous, non-fiction

Derrick Niederman has a Phd in mathematics and was an economist for a few decades. He now makes puzzles for companies, as well as writing some of the New York Times crossword puzzles. Which all on its own is impressive but not nearly as interesting as this little gem of a book.

While I've read many different opinions about puzzles and have attempted to solve many more this book was different from other puzzle books Some of the puzzles I may have solved before or failed at (for instance the infam
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Mirek Kukla
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: math-logic
Partly awesome, partly lame, and aside from some really cool puzzles, mostly forgettable. As one might guess, this book is about puzzles. Beyond that, here's very little in the way of thoughtful organization - each chapter feels like a stream of consciousness monologue, and the ordering of chapter might as well have been random.

That said, some of the puzzle are cool, and you'll come across some occasional insights. I enjoyed the chapter on 'kangaroo puzzles' - puzzles that give you a hint by the
...more
Maximilian
Fans of Douglas Hofstadter will enjoy it. It has a similar passionate rambling nature to GEB. There are, however, sections that are hard to understand, because if you don't already have a background in what he's suddenly started talking about, he won't get you up to speed, unlike in GEB. And I don't think it's worth slowing down and rereading a section 'till you understand it, just because it is a person rambling. That said, the parts that you do understand will have amazing nuggets of cool info ...more
Alison
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
The book introduces conundrums I have never heard of but that are super interesting, and puzzles I have heard of but that have more background information that I didn't know. Yay puzzles! I had some issues with the non-puzzle writing and a few very confusing puzzles, but overall it's a decent book.
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Jason
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a bit over my head with the math it presented, but those puzzles that didn't involve math (which was the majority the book) I found interesting. Solving along with the author, or seeing how he approached puzzles was definitely interesting.

I saw a puzzle recently I'd love to know how to solve. I tried using the techniques in the book - nothing seemed to work. Ah well, not every book is useful...still, it was entertaining enough.
Sam Colton
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Talks about the methods people use to solve puzzles and how puzzle solving can be applied to life. The author bounces all over the place, so it rarely gets boring. Includes quirky puzzles, anecdotes from history, some higher level math--which were the hardest parts to get through. Only the last two chapters felt like filler; with twelve altogether that isn't so bad.
FranklinTV
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gaming
I really liked this - the type of puzzle book where the emphasis is on the puzzle to highlight the discussion, rather the other way around. Sure, the structure is a bit lose, but the conversation style of writing is engaging. A book I'm glad I read I will probably read again sometime.
Metta
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Orman
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Mighty tricky puzzles, though some seem trivial when the answer is revealed.
Kangaroo puzzles? They are here.
I liked the chapter "When Induction Goes Bad." I could not deduce the outcome!
Jeff
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bumped up from 2 to 3 stars, due to the inclusion of the game show-related chapter at the end of the book. ;-)
Sophie
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Curious and quirky, full of facts and puzzles.
Christine
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
interesting about how puzzles work and constructed but the some of the math was a bit hard.
Chet
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of descriptive puzzles.
Barry Mann
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and short!
Cobbing Throck
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Jan 23, 2015
Smartyworld
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Oct 02, 2016
Schmerica
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Jun 28, 2012
David Kolvek
rated it it was amazing
Dec 31, 2014
Julius
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Nov 14, 2014
Dave Alluisi
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Jul 10, 2013
Alexander
rated it it was ok
Jul 14, 2013
Jarrett Lerner
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Matthew
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Sue
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Aug 05, 2012
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Jose
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Rob
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Andrea
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Logic is awesome! A really fun read for someone who thinks way too much about probability. :)
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