Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is a good book for problems which can be done without much mathematical background? I don't mean IMO-level, since those questions generally require a fairly big amount of mathematical knowledge, but more like questions along the line of the toughest questions on a kangaroo test, some examples:

We call a natural number a funny number if it is the smallest of all numbers that have the same sum of their digits. For example: 29 is funny, because it is the smallest number of which the sum of its digits is 11. We add up all funny three-digit numbers. What is the outcome?

Mister Small, Mister Medium and Mister Large are going for a walk. Mister Large says: “Funny, how our names are all about lengths, but each of us has a wrong name.” The smallest of the three answers: “Yes, that is true”. What are the names of the gentlemen from smallest to largest?

If you multiply 1, 2, 3, …..up to n (inclusive), the result is $2^{15} \times 3^6 \times 5^3 \times 7^2 \times 11 \times 13$. Which number is n?

So fun questions like these which aren't too long and can be purely done with a decent mathematical intuition.

share|cite|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You might want to peruse this list and see if anything catches your eye a,d it hopefully gives you some ideas on other things to look for.

  • Entertaining Math Puzzles, Martin Gardner

  • Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, Martin Gardner

  • The Colossal Book of Mathematics, Martin Gardner

  • The Last Recreations, Martin Gardner

  • More Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers, MARTIN AUTOR GARDNER

  • Classic Brainteasers, MARTIN AUTOR GARDNER

  • The Moscow Puzzles, Boris A. Kordemsky

  • Logic Puzs to Bend Yr Brain, Kurt Smith

  • More Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd

  • Challenging Logic Puzzles, Barry R. Clarke

  • Second Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions

  • Hard-To-Solve Math Puzzles, Derrick Niederman

  • A Passion for Mathematics, Clifford A. Pickover

  • Problem Solving Through Recreational Mathematics, Bonnie Averbach and Orin Chein

  • The Ultimate Book of Puzzles, Mathematical Diversions, and Brainteasers, Erwin Brecher

  • 25 Real Life Math Investigations That Will Astound Teachers and Students by Edward Zaccaro

  • 50 Mathematical Puzzles and Problems Green Collection by Gilles Cohen (Editor)

  • 50 Mathematical Puzzles and Problems Orange Collection by Gilles Cohen (Editor)

  • 50 Mathematical Puzzles and Problems Red Collection by Gilles Cohen (Editor)

  • A Moscow Math Circle: Week-by-week Problem Sets by Sergey Dorichenko

  • Chinese Brain Twisters by Baifang

  • Challenging Critical Thinking Puzzles by Michael A. DiSpezio

  • Great Critical Thinking Puzzles, by Michael A. DiSpezio

  • Problem Solving Through Recreational Mathematics by Bonnie Averbach, Orin Chei

You might also like to explore Enjoying Math - Learning Problem Solving with Fun Math Puzzles


share|cite|improve this answer
Awesome! simply awesome! +1 – amWhy May 2 '13 at 0:16
@amWhy: Thanks! I have always wondered if the OP got anything out of it. – Amzoti May 2 '13 at 0:20
It's a list worth bookmarking! (I wish we could favorite answers like we can for questions!) – amWhy May 2 '13 at 0:21
That would be an excellent feature. I often have a difficult time (maybe I am awful at using the search) even finding old answers of mine because I want to reuse something from them. – Amzoti May 2 '13 at 0:31
@Amzoti Very late, but yes I did. – MacropusRufus Jun 15 '13 at 10:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.