How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method

George Polya, John Horton Conway

Discover the timeless wisdom of George Polya’s How to Solve It, a must-read for anyone interested in mathematics education. Despite its slightly clumsy writing due to Polya being a mathematician and not a native English speaker, this book offers invaluable insights into problem-solving that transcends the realm of mathematics and can be applied to any field.

Polya’s four-step approach to problem-solving is simple yet profound: understanding the problem, devising a plan, executing the plan, and reflecting on the solution. These steps are universally applicable and can be utilized for both basic and complex problems, making them essential for learning and growth. While different writers have made their own revisions to these steps, the core principles remain unchanged.

One of the highlights of this book is its enduring relevance. Not only can the general framework of Polya’s heuristic be applied to various situations, but the “A Short Dictionary of Heuristic” section offers a plethora of valuable insights. Each entry provides a concise essay on different aspects of problem-solving, shedding light on its nature and history. For instance, the distinction between “Problems to Solve” and “Problems to Prove” is particularly eye-opening and encourages deeper understanding.

With its enduring wisdom and practical resources, How to Solve It is a book that deserves a place on every educator’s shelf. It is a true classic in the field of educational literature that can be revisited time and time again for guidance and inspiration.