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Secrets of Mental Math...Explained

Via the suggested Website for this week, you can watch Arthur Benjamin perform his mathemagic. In addition to being a mathematics professor at Harvey Mudd College (CA), Benjamin is a professional magician, who also specializes in mental number tricks.

Can you learn to perform the same feats of mathemagic...amaze yourself and anyone else within arm's reach? Benjamin claims you can...in fact he has written a book to teach you how to be a mathemagician.

As advertised in the Stephen Colbert video clip, the book Secrets of Mental Math explains Benjamin's tricks underlying his lightning-quick calculations. The book claims that it "will teach you to do math in your head faster than you ever thought possible, dramatically improve your memory for numbers, andómaybe for the first timeómake mathematics fun....all you need to learn are a few tricks. Youíll be able to quickly multiply and divide triple digits, compute with fractions, and determine squares, cubes, and roots without blinking an eye. No matter what your age or current math ability...This is the math they never taught you in school."

Some examples of tricks...

  • Basic Computational Tricks
  • More Advanced Multiplication and Division
  • Art of Guesstimation
  • Memorizing Numbers
  • Presto-Digit-Ation
Be forewarned...practice is necessary...a lot of practice...if you want to perform these mental tricks at a level that would impress someone (other than yourself).