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Puzzle and Logic Books

Updated on March 19, 2011

Puzzle and logic books help keep the mind fit. They are a great way to keep your mind flexible by thinking in new ways. Having variety is the key to keeping your brain challenged. Just like building muscles with weights, you have to give it enough weight to challenge your muscles. You can not work your muscles by lifting light weights that are not challenging. Same with your mind. If you can solve the puzzles quickly and easily, you need to move on to more difficult puzzles and try different types of puzzles.

Admittedly, you have to pick puzzles that are at the right level of difficulty. On the other end of the spectrum, if the puzzles are consistently too difficult, you will not get the fun and satisfaction of accomplishing a puzzle. You might get frustrated and give up. And that's no good.

Similar to the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, puzzles have to be not too difficult, not too easy; it has to be just right.

Below are just a few puzzle and logic books to consider using to work out your brain...

Mensa Guide to Solving Sudoku

Sudoku is a great brain exercise. Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle consisting of a 9 by 9 grid. This grid is sub-divided into nine 3 x 3 sub-grids called blocks. The puzzle starts you out with some numbers on the grid. Your goal is to fill out the rest of the grid with digits from 1 to 9 under certain constraints. You can not have the same digit repeat in any row or column. That means that each row must have all the digits 1 to 9. And each column must have all the digits 1 to 9. In addition, another constraint is that each "block" must not have any repeating digits. That also means that each block must contain all the digits 1 to 9.

Sudoku can be frustrating if you are new to them and are not familiar with the strategies to solve them. This is where Mensa Guide to Solving Sudoku comes in. The book will teach you the various techniques on how to solve sudoku puzzles. Knowing the technique will enable you to solve sudoku puzzle. Once you get the satisfaction of solving one, you may get hooked on sodoku. By the way, knowing the technique to solve it does not decrease the fun of solving it.

Even if you already know how to solve sudoku, this book with its comprehensive coverage may have different techniques that you may not be familiar with.

Mensa Guide to Solving Sudoku teaches you how to solve complex Sudoku with hidden pairs, naked pairs, X-wings, jellyfish, squirmbag, bivalue and bilocation graphs, turbot fish, grid coloring, chains, etc.

Some people like to rip out the pages of sudoku puzzles so that can carry a sheet of puzzle with them where ever they go. That way, they can pull it out while waiting in long lines, while riding the public transportation to work, etc. It will also pass the time on the airports and during long flights.

Aha!: Aha! Insight and Aha! Gotcha

Aha!: Aha! Insight and Aha! Gotcha is two books combined in a single volume. The two books are "Aha! Insight" and "Aha! Gotcha". The combined volume will give you 144 Aha puzzles that ranges from geometry, logic, statistics, word play, and more. Puzzle may seem difficult, until you got the Aha moment.

Written by Martin Gardner, he calls this puzzle "aha! puzzles" because the problems "seem difficult, and indeed are difficult if you go about trying to solve them in traditional ways. But if you can free your mind from standard problem solving techniques, you may be receptive to an aha! reaction that leads immediately to a solution." (as he was quoted on the back cover of the book).

Some people call this type of problem solving "thinking outside the box". Other people call it "non-linear thinking". The moment the solution pops into your head is called "aha moment" -- it is as if a "light bulb" lit up in your head. It is a satisfying feeling when that happens.

If you are not able to get the aha moment with a particular puzzle, I would encourage you to skip to the next one and come back to it at another day. Sometime the solution may come easier when your mind has some "gel time" or "incubation time" when it is away from the problem for a while. Try not to read the answer that is provided, until it is your last resort. When you read the answer, you may get the "oh" moment instead of the "aha" moment. It is more satisfying to get the aha moment on your own.

Marin Gardner is an American mathematician specializing in recreational mathematics.  He wrote prolifically and wrote column in the Scientific American magazine from 1956 to 1981.

The Power of Logical Thinking

The Power of Logical Thinking was written by Marilyn vos Savant who for five years was listed under "Highest IQ" in Guinness Book of World Records.

Marilyn vos Savant solves puzzles and answers questions from readers in her column "Ask Marilyn" in Parade magazine.

The sub-title of the book is "Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning..and hard Facts About Its Absence in Our Lives". The book is divided into these three parts ...

  • how our own minds can work against us
  • how numbers and statistics can mislead
  • how politicians exploit our innocence

Puzzles for Programmers and Pros

Puzzles for Programmers and Pros provides good practice of puzzle-solving skills for job interviews that ask puzzle questions. Some programming interviews like to ask these types of questions.

This book is aimed at computer programmers who are applying for a job in such a field where puzzles are often part of the interview process. However, techies who likes a good puzzle may find this book fun as well.

One of the best thing about this book is that it provide you the solution.  By trying to solve the puzzles and reading the solution if you can not, you will learn how to expand your problem solving skills that might help you in interview puzzle questions.


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