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Paperback How to Solve Problems: Elements of a Theory of Problems and Problem Solving Book

ISBN: 0716708450

ISBN13: 9780716708452

How to Solve Problems: Elements of a Theory of Problems and Problem Solving

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Seven problem-solving techniques include inference, classification of action sequences, subgoals, contradiction, working backward, relations between problems, and mathematical representation. This description may be from another edition of this product.

Related Subjects

Math Mathematics Science & Math

Customer Reviews

1 rating

Not for mathematicians, more suited for social scientists

Mathematical problem solving, a.k.a. proofs, is a very difficult thing to learn and understand. There is no algorithm that you can follow, no sequence of numbered steps that will take you to the solution. While there are several different strategies that you can employ, the general patterns are generic so it is often difficult to determine which strategy is the most likely to lead to success. Furthermore, even though a strategy can give you a general idea, there are so many variations of that strategy that two forms can appear to be different strategies. Wickelgren is a psychologist rather than a mathematician, so his approach to teaching problem solving is different from what most mathematicians employ. The prose is wordier than found in most mathematics books and there are fewer formulas. In terms of difficulty, the problems are largely within the grasp of an advanced high school math student. The problems are generally those found in basic mathematical problem- solving books. Liars and truth-tellers, covering a checkerboard with dominoes, identifying one heavy coin in a group of coins and alphametic problems are some of the problems described in detail. I found the book to be tedious going at times, thinking that the author could have been much more succinct in making his points. This may be due to my extensive math background; people in the social sciences would find it more palatable. Therefore, while I cannot recommend it for math majors, I can recommend it for students whose math background is weak but who need to develop skills in creating and understanding fundamental mathematical proofs.
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