A perennial bestseller by eminent mathematician G. Polya, How to Solve It will show anyone in any field how to think straight.
In lucid and appealing prose, Polya reveals how the mathematical method of demonstrating a proof or finding an unknown can be of help in attacking any problem that can be "reasoned" out--from building a bridge to winning a game of anagrams. Generations of readers have relished Polya's deft--indeed, brilliant--instructions on stripping away irrelevancies and going straight to the heart of the problem.
In this best-selling classic, George Pólya revealed how the mathematical method of demonstrating a proof or finding an unknown can be of help in attacking any problem that can be "reasoned" out--from building a bridge to winning a game of anagrams. Generations of readers have relished Pólya's deft instructions on stripping away irrelevancies and going straight to the heart of a problem. How to Solve It popularized heuristics, the art and science of discovery and invention. It has been in print continuously since 1945 and has been translated into twenty-three different languages.
Pólya was one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century. He made important contributions to a great variety of mathematical research: from complex analysis to mathematical physics, number theory, probability, geometry, astronomy, and combinatorics. He was also an extraordinary teacher--he taught until he was ninety--and maintained a strong interest in pedagogical matters throughout his long career. In addition to How to Solve It, he published a two-volume work on the topic of problem solving, Mathematics of Plausible Reasoning, also with Princeton.
Pólya is one of the most frequently quoted mathematicians, and the following statements from How to Solve It make clear why: "My method to overcome a difficulty is to go around it." "Geometry is the science of correct reasoning on incorrect figures." "In order to solve this differential equation you look at it till a solution occurs to you."
"Every prospective teacher should read it. In particular, graduate students will find it invaluable. The traditional mathematics professor who reads a paper before one of the Mathematical Societies might also learn something from the book: 'He writes a, he says b, he means c; but it should be d.' "--E. T. Bell, Mathematical Monthly
"[This] elementary textbook on heuristic reasoning, shows anew how keen its author is on questions of method and the formulation of methodological principles. Exposition and illustrative material are of a disarmingly elementary character, but very carefully thought out and selected."--Herman Weyl, Mathematical Review
"I recommend it highly to any person who is seriously interested in finding out methods of solving problems, and who does not object to being entertained while he does it."--Scientific Monthly
"Any young person seeking a career in the sciences would do well to ponder this important contribution to the teacher's art."--A. C. Schaeffer, American Journal of Psychology
"Every mathematics student should experience and live this book"--Mathematics Magazine
This book has been translated into:
- Chinese (Complex)
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by G. Polya:
Hardcover published in 1945
Paper: Not for sale in the Commonwealth (except Canada)