Ask HN: Can math books help you become good at problem solving in general?

15 points by debanjan16 3 days ago

Problems can have mathematical nature or a non-mathematical nature.

By problem solving I understand:

1. Understand what the problem demands

2. Find out edge/special cases

3. Work out examples

4. Devise a solution to the problem.

I am not implying merely reading a book will make you a problem solver. Problem solving will make you good at problem solving.

Have you come across any book that helped you become good at problem solving?

hackermailman 3 days ago

Sure, try this guy's channel https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgTkKBA6LRqYuuQ-LboerRb... and his Putnam seminar vids, he shows an interesting process you can do for any problem outside math as well like collecting all ideas no matter how small to increment towards a solution, writing out examples and test cases, casting the problem into a different structure, recognizing if something has a notion of order then you can always reorder it.

There's books like 'Art of Problem Solving' or Polya 'How to Solve It' but they make sense only after you get some experience.

eimrine 3 days ago

Edge cases is maybe the best thing what I have learned on one expensive Algorithms course, definitely applicable to problem solving in general.

Another book is TRIZ.