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What Is the Name of This Book?

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  769 ratings  ·  49 reviews
If you're intrigued by puzzles and paradoxes, these 200 mind-bending logic puzzles, riddles, and diversions will thrill you with challenges to your powers of reason and common sense. Raymond M. Smullyan — a celebrated mathematician, logician, magician, and author — presents a logical labyrinth of more than 200 increasingly complex problems. The puzzles delve into Gödel’s u ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 15th 1986 by Touchstone Books (first published 1978)
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Nandakishore Varma
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I first read about Smullyan in one of Martin Gardner's books of mathematical puzzles. I'm a fool for torturing my brain with convoluted conundrums, so when I found a copy, I was overjoyed. I devoured it in a week, and was not disappointed.

This book contains Smullyan's famous logic puzzles about knights (who always say the truth) and knaves (who always lie) and all interesting combinations thereof. Apart from providing intellectual fixes for maths junkies, this book actually teaches logic through
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Let's get the simple stuff out of the way: Yes, this is largely a book of Smullyan's well-known Knights and Knaves puzzles. However, it has a lot more.

Beginning and ending sections include jokes about logic and logicians that teach a huge amount about logic itself. A section in the back teaches about Godel's Theorem in a simple way anyone can understand (perhaps more elegantly than Hoftadter did, perhaps not). He gives a feeling for what logic is and why we understand it the way we do.

But back
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A really excellent set of puzzles, for which I have only minor complaints: first, they tend to be easy, medium, or impossible. (I don't particularly enjoy the open-ended ones, like "what would you say." But I think it's just a time thing--if I can solve the problem in 2-5 minutes, that's just fun. If I have to put in REAL time, then I feel like I should be doing some actual work.) Also, the set of puzzles involving insane vs. sane, liars vs. truth-tellers I could never wrap my mind around. It's ...more
Brian Clegg
This classic recreational mathematics title, based on logic problems dates back to 1978, though it feels as if it might have been written forty years earlier from the type of humour it features, a feeling enhanced by the publisher's decision to reprint it by scanning an old edition, rather than resetting it.

There is some excellent material in here, some familiar, others still with a novel edge today. There are some basic challenges - for example we're looking at a picture and told 'Brothers and
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: logic-and-math
A great and humorous puzzle book. It has left me questioning my notion of truth. My only complaint is that a few of the puzzles boiled down to checking a lot of cases. The vast majority of puzzles were very clever though, and it was only in the final chapter that they became too difficult for me to solve. All in all this book was a great pleasure to go through.
Dimitris Hall
In this popular puzzle, a man has committed a crime punishable by death. He is to make a statement. If the statement is true, he is to be drowned; if the statement is false, he is to be hanged. What statement should he make to confound his executioner?

I got this book after reading The Tao Is Silent and deciding that Mr. Raymond Smullyan must be one of my favourite people out there. A logician, a magician, a pianist, a Taoist and a mathematician? (it rhymes!)

What Is The Name Of This Book? (li
Aug 10, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book for all of us that love a good logic challenge.
Great book, nicely written and with that bit of humor that everyone could enjoy.

This is a nice book, one oldie but still a good reading.
Ashrut Arya
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're a die hard fan of logical puzzles or if you want to gain the knowledge in that area, only and only then, this is the book for you. The puzzles get harder and harder at each step... Sometimes you might get frustrated for taking up the same things from a bit variation, or the monotomy of the scenes, but still, a great collection of variations of Knights and Knaves and Portia's Caskets' puzzles.

A couple of things I noticed which would really help:

1. Try to take it up with a clear mind.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun
This was an entertaining collection of puzzles, with some logic being explicitly taught along the way.

The final Part was generally very different in tone from the rest, and the description of Gödel's actual work could have done with more unpacking, I feel. So if you're after intuitive understanding of those theorems, I could not recommend this as a sole source.

Also worth noting: the book certainly shows its age with the exoticism and implied casual sexism.
Rayfes Mondal
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This 1978 book about logic and logic puzzles made my brain work! But this book is funny too and lighthearted. And the solutions are in words not formulas or truth tables.
Todd Landrum
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lots of good puzzles, but a bit repetitive. I don't need 20 knights & knaves problems. ...more
Jaineel Dabhi
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First brush with Gödel's incompleteness theorem. Wasn't expecting that from a recreational puzzle book. ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book ruined my life
Michael Emond
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raymond Smullyan is - IMO - the most fun and creative logician who ever existed. I have always loved his books and this is no exception. It is one of his earlier ones and has a great mix of logic problems (Knights who tell the truth, Knaves who lie - sane and insane humans and vampires) as well as some talk about paradox and it concludes with his trying to make Godel's incompleteness theorem accessible to non-mathematicians.

Okay - for that last part he failed since I still don't understand it. A
Liam Porter
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book start gently but quickly escalates in difficulty, however it is always written with very careful consideration of the beginner´s view of things. Some sentences need to be re-read 10, 20 times, but the resources are there for you to understand the concepts presented, so long as one is careful and patient. Using vivid imaginative scenarios (Alice, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Doo; islands of Knights and Knaves; islands of insane vampires and sane vampires) Smullyan builds up the ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am not a logical thinker by nature, yet I recognize that logic is a useful tool in practical everyday problem solving. This is why I hold this book in high regard. It is also refreshing to read something that deals with exact things. There is a certain kind of pleasure in achieving an end instead of getting lost in vague ideas, glimpses.
I only give it four due to the fact that it's a great tool, but it doesn't excite me or lead me to an exciting world. It's a refreshing and grounding activit
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent introduction to logic, written in the form of puzzles. Unfortunately, my copy had too many translation errors and some sections (especially the bit about vampires/humans and "believing" stuff) were just impossible to decipher. So the biggest riddle is: did the author explain it badly or did the translator muddle it up? (Given the amount of corrections I've scribbled in the margins, I'll give professor Smullyan the benefit of doubt...) I'd love to read it in English, so maybe I'll fi ...more
Charlie Boucher
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tripe
If you like riddles that are based on stupid wordplay then you'll like this. I expected it to be a series of logical tests that grew harder and harder, each one giving you a bit more information about the next and leading you to cracking a big mystery at the end. No such luck. Instead there are pages of historical anecdotes from the author and a number of irritating riddles that basically stink of smug. Ick. ...more
Jim Razinha
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Delightful book of logic puzzles mentioned by Martin Gardner in his Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers and the Return of Dr. Matrix. I checked (awesome resource!) and downloaded/borrowed a copy. Kept me company on a flight from Dalkas to New York while the guy behind never stopped talking the entire trip. Talking loudly. But this was as I said, delightful. ...more
Donnie Corrêa
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so much fun when I read it, that, by the time I had finished it I found the nerve to admmit: I'm a nerd. :)

But, seriously: If you like logic puzzles, you'll like this book for sure. Smullyan is a very funny author and all his works are permeated by his lighthearted spirit and creativity.
James Miller
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I use this to set logical puzzles to my Philosophy Students at school and it is excellent for that with a good range of difficulties. Some need updating in language (do we refer to people as normals?; some gender ideas implicit are not of the 21st Century), but there is no difficulty in tweaking casket for pirate's chest etc. ...more
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: logic lovaz
Shelves: philosophy
Silly puzzles and riddles I used to do when I was a kid. I think they would still be a fantastic waste of time. If only I could go back and unfigure out the answers first...

I kept the book because sometimes people ask these types of questions during job interviews, btw.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it
The book was OK, but I expected a different sort of logical puzzles. They were monotonous and sometimes boring. Some of the problems were complex and solving them was interesting to me, but I may not read another book with no story in it again.
Antonio Martín
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Brain trainning? Lets go to the olympic brainiac games.
Philsy Denofrio
Aug 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A trying test of logic.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
I was doing alright with the Knights and Knaves, but when they started forming clubs I got pretty lost.
Jun 15, 2009 marked it as to-read
recommended by Scott Aaronson when I asked if there had been any investigation into why truth is such a mathematically strange concept.
Timon Karnezos
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
His best puzzle book. Do one every day. EVERY DAY.
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Raymond Smullyan is my Logician Dumbledore. I own and read every book of his I can get my hands on. Which is well over a dozen.
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fairly well written with many good mind stretching puzzles, and a few relatively familiar ones.
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Raymond M. Smullyan was a logician, musician, Zen master, puzzle master, and writer.

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