The Man who Counted

by Malba Tahan
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‘The Man Who Counted’ is a collection of connected short tales about a traveller on a journey from Samarra to Baghdad who meets a young mathematically minded man named Beremiz Samir.The two set off to Baghdad together and the tales in the book recount problems, challenges and puzzles that they come up against, which Beremiz is able to solve with his mathematical reasoning. Essentially each chapter provides a word problem or puzzle that could be used as a discussion with students and most are accessible to a broad range of abilities.

I enjoyed the way the problems were well woven into the story of the two travellers and the problems though not complicated in technique lend well to good discussions and thinking about possible approaches to solutions. I’d highly recommend this as a quick casual read for those who enjoy recreational mathematics and as a resource for classroom use at the grade 6-9 level.

— Blair Miller

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