Take a Number by Lillian R. Lieber and Hugh Gray Lieber by Lillian R. Lieber and Hugh Gray Lieber - Read Online

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Summary

Is mathematics a subject that everyone must study? You bet it is, and this playful guide shows why all of the people on this planet need to know something about math, and the more, the merrier! Mathematics is like a game and if you know the equipment and the rules, you can use it for both work and recreation. This illustrated book suggests practical and charming methods of studying and practicing math. From addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to algebra and geometry, the brisk, lighthearted approach offers fun-to-solve problems and complete answers.
Author Lillian R. Lieber was head of the Department of Mathematics at Long Island University. In the 1940s, she wrote a series of good-humored, well-respected books about mathematics, including The Education of T. C. MITS (The Celebrated Man in the Street), a special edition of which was circulated among American GIs during World War II. Whimsical drawings by her husband, Hugh Gray Lieber, illustrate Take a Number and many of her other books.
Published: Dover Publications on
ISBN: 9780486822334
List price: $9.95
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Take a Number - Lillian R. Lieber

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Page 1 of 1

PREFACE

Have you ever been asked to

Take a Number

and wondered how

your clever friends could

Read Your Mind?

Well, meet SAM—

your best Guide and Pal—

he will show you how

to solve your difficulties

mathematical et al.

I. WHY SHOULD YOU STUDY MATHEMATICS?

Most people probably grant nowadays

that

since we live in a

scientific age,

SOMEBODY has to study

Mathematics,

but is this subject necessary for

EVERYONE?

For all the two billion (2 X 10⁹) people

on this earth?

Why not let those who like it

struggle with it,

and let the rest of us

study something else,

or maybe just take it easy

and enjoy life?

We shall try to tell you WHY

everyone, including you,

must study some Mathematics—

and the more the merrier!

And,

with this little book,

perhaps you will even

begin to like it—

we hope!

First of all,

you will admit that

everyone must know

a little Arithmetic,

so that he can at least

count his pennies or his sheep

or what have you,

and carry on

whatever little business

he has to do.

True, you will say,

"but that is not much.

How about Algebra, though,

and Geometry and all that stuff?

No doubt the scientists need it,

but I am going to be

a businessman, or

a stenographer, or

maybe a housewife,

and I surely don’t expect

to use Math.

What I need is

good looks,

money,

common sense—

but not Math."

Now you know perfectly well that

many times

people who are not so good-looking

know how to use

what looks they have

to better advantage than

some very handsome ones.

And that people without money

can go out and make a million

if they have the ability and

if that is what they want.

In short,

what we need most is

a knowledge of

the world we live in and

the tools needed to

get along in it.

Now the most important tool is

certainly your own brain,

so that

if you learn to use

that instrument

you will really have something!

Furthermore,

it is easy to see that

EVERYONE must learn to

use his bean,

or else

what one intelligent man or group

builds up

can be destroyed by the

ape-men.

So you see

unless we

ALL GET WISE TOGETHER,

the world cannot be safe for anyone.

Now, since man’s brain

has been most successful in

Science (including Physics et al),

Art (including Music, Poetry, et al), and

Mathematics,

let us see if we can learn from

THEM

how to really use our brains

And, to make it easier,

let us combine them all into

a single character called

SAM—

so that our problem is to help

to bring SAM to the

TWO BILLION,

and show

HOW

he can help us.

You will see that

he can be a better

LEADER

than any individual human being!

Now it must be very clearly understood

that SAM, who is of course

very scientific,

is nevertheless

NOT just a gadgeteer

who furnishes us with

radios and automobiles

and other gadgets

to play with,

though he HAS his pockets full of

toys for us—

but he will give them to us

ONLY if the human race is GOOD—

otherwise he will give us

ATOMIC BOMBS instead!

For in his heart

SAM is really in agreement with

the great RELIGIONS

and will FIGHT for them

and not allow us to

ignore them any longer!

II. MATHEMATICS MADE EASY

One of the main difficulties with

the study of Mathematics

by the average person

has always been that

he was never let in on

the basic rules of the game,

but was given

THOUSANDS of little details

to remember,

which did not seem to have

much connection with each other,

so he could never

figure things out for himself.

Can you imagine playing any game

without knowing

the EQUIPMENT of the game or

the RULES?

But just being pushed around

without ever finding out

what you were doing,

or

the difference between

a goal and a foul?!

Now, in this little book,

we shall try to show you that

Mathematics is really like a game.

And if you know

the EQUIPMENT and the RULES

(and you will be surprised to find

how VERY FEW basic rules there are!),

you can easily learn the game

and even figure out your own

plays.

This not only makes it easy to play,

but you will be surprised to find

what FUN it is!

Try it and see.

III. THE EQUIPMENT

First, take Arithmetic.

The equipment of Arithmetic

consists of

various kinds of NUMBERS,

which we shall recall to your mind

in this chapter.

And you can then easily go from

Arithmetic to Algebra

by merely

ENLARGING this equipment

to include a kind of numbers

called NEGATIVE numbers,*

which are very easy to understand,

as you will see.

Another change in going

from Arithmetic to Algebra

will be in the use of

LETTERS to stand for numbers.

You will see how

this simple device

will make it possible

to solve problems more EASILY

and more GENERALLY.

Although you may not realize it,

you already know, from Arithmetic,

several different kinds of numbers :

for example, as a very small child,

you learned about

the WHOLE NUMBERS or INTEGERS,

like 1, 7, 11, 79, etc.

Later on,

you also learned about

FRACTIONS,

,

and decimal fractions,

like 1.25, .06, 7.09,

and mixed numbers,

etc.

Now, fortunately,

it is not necessary to have

so many different names,

for all the numbers mentioned above

are called

RATIONAL NUMBERS.

Let us give you a clear definition of

a RATIONAL NUMBER:

This is

ANY NUMBER WHICH MAY BE EXPRESSED

AS A RATIO* OF TWO INTEGERS:

is

a rational number since it is

the ratio of

the integer 7 to the integer 8.

is

,

which is the ratio of

the integer 3 to the integer 2.

Also, the decimal .06 is

a rational number, since

.

And even an integer, like 7,

,

which, again, is the ratio of

the integer 7 to the integer 1,

showing that the integers themselves

are also rational numbers.

Now we want to introduce you to

a kind of number which

you have never had in

Arithmetic.

These are the

NEGATIVE NUMBERS mentioned on page 9.

They are very easy to understand,

especially with the help of

the following line:

On this line you see that

all the numbers which

you had in Arithmetic are

the zero and the numbers to

the RIGHT of the zero,

including

integers, fractions,

decimal fractions, and mixed numbers,

each having its definite place on the line.

But you also see that we can put

numbers to the