Published on Jan 10, 2017

Alex Bellos is a British writer and broadcaster who studied mathematics and philosophy in Oxford. His popular science books “Alex’s Adventures in Numberland” and “Alex Through the Looking-Glass” are both bestsellers, but he also writes about Brazil and soccer. The “Monday Puzzle” blog he authors for The Guardian lead to the publication of “Can You Solve My Problems?”, a book about the history of, as well as a collection of, countless fascinating puzzles.

For Talks at Google, Alex presents an assortment of clever brainteasers from his new book and talks about the history of this millennia-old genre. Some solutions rely on a touch of cunning, others call for creativity, others need mercilessly logical thought. So please pause the video from time to time and check for yourself: Can you solve the problems?

Can You Solve My Problems?: Ingenious, Perplexing, and Totally Satisfying Math and Logic Puzzles

For daring puzzlers—a book of mind-bending conundrums handpicked by the pied piper of popular math

Long before Sudoku swept the world, the Victorians puzzled over relationships (If two men each marry the other’s widowed mother, what is the relationship between their sons?), and the ancient Chinese favored counting challenges (If a cock costs 5 pieces, a hen 4 pieces, and a chick ¼ of a piece, how can you buy 100 total cocks, hens, and chicks with 100 pieces?). Some people may claim to “hate math”—but history is proof that everybody loves a good puzzle!

From Alex Bellos, math writer extraordinaire and official puzzler to the Guardian, this is the ultimate compendium of math and logic brainteasers—packed with 125 questions, fun trivia, and (naturally!) answers in the back. Can you solve his problems?