Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World's Toughest Math Competition
(a) Full disclosure - I have a master's in math, so was predisposed to find it interesting
(b) Actually (a) may be more or less irrelevant. What I realize is that books wherein someone who can write well takes the topic of their own, or someone else's obsession, and communicates the essence of that obsession are, to me, fascinating. Other examples that come to mind are "Word Freak", ...more
I was never part of that crowd -- for whatever reason, I'm not a "math contest" sort of guy. As I went on in mathematics, ...more
Instead, I was forced to read the bland generalizations of the six budding mathematicians such as "He was good in music," "We never pushed him in math," and "Quite frankly, we don't know." Okay, thanks a lot...what a perception!
I just wanted to know what mathematics books they specifically ...more
WHY haven't I heard more about this amazing annual world wide competition?
Very interesting ...more
America is not a nation of math-lovers. Olson's subjects are, for the most part, the kind of kids his readers never were. However, he resists turning the Olympians into curiosities or players in a high-stakes drama. Instead, he uses the Olympiad as a springboard for discussing compelling issues of nature, nurture, and competitive drive. Some of these discussions crowd out the kids themselves; Olson doesn't describe their lives as fully as he might. Nor does he consider all the questions raised...more
The format got tiresome after awhile: each chapter begins with a scene from the Olympiad or some personal story about a participant; then a more general topic in education or mathematics is discussed, and the chapter concludes with a wrapping-up of the initial scene.
The intros to general ed and math topics are cursory, but cover a wide range of topics. This book might serve as a good starting place to pursue some of ...more
Six students, six problems and six beautiful solutions for them. For each problem, Olson describes an attribute essential for a so-called Olympian (e.g. Creativity,Talent, Competitiveness, etc), and explains the solutions of one of the contestants, with ...more
My earliest ideas of mathematical elegance and beauty came from this book and they have stayed with me ever since.