Before you start reading this book, prepare to have your logic bone tweaked, tickled and annoyed. There is no one better than Raymond Smullyan at creating logic puzzles that will intrigue, infuriate and stretch your mind to slightly beyond its limits. The last chapter, a dialog between Satan and a student of Cantor, could be the basis of a book and is a true work of genius. I read it twice, not because I didn't understand it, but because I enjoyed it so much. The other sections of the book cover many facets of logic, including lists of superb problems about people from the planet Og, where green northerners always tell the truth and red northerners always lie. However, green southerners always lie and red southerners always tell the truth. Similar to the knights and knaves problems, most can be solved using a simple table. Solutions to the problems are given at the end of each chapter. Raymond Smullyan seems to exist at a different logical level than the rest of us. His problems are at times fiendishly clever, although not beyond the capacity of someone willing to think a bit. This is a case where you can expand your mind by showing how limited it was before.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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In Smullyan's latest challenging collection of logic puzzles, the Sorcerer, a logician who uses logic so cleverly it seems like magic, visits an island where intelligent robots create other robots. King Zorn, Princess Annabelle, truth-telling knights and lying knaves lighten the presentation of puzzles as the Sorcerer explains the pioneering discoveries of mathematician Georg Cantor (1845-1918) who proved that there are different orders of infinity, and as he delves into paradoxes about probability, time and change. Smullyan ( The Lady or the Tiger? ) tosses in metapuzzles (which are solved on the basis of knowing that certain other puzzles can or cannot be solved) and explores self-referentiality, a property crucial to Kurt Godel's famous incompleteness theorem. The Sorcerer closes with a tale of how Satan is outwitted by a student of Cantor's. A mind-stretching entertainment for the serious, dedicated puzzle-solver. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.