Review: The Paper Puzzle Book by Garibi / Goodman / Elran

The Paper Puzzle Book : All You Need is Paper!  by Ilan Garibi,‎ David Goodman,‎ Yossi Elran
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company Paperback: 264 pages /  5.9 x 8.3 inches ISBN-10: 9813202416

Books of paper puzzles date back to the 19th century, when titles such as “101 Things To Do On A Winter’s Evening” were one of the few forms of home entertainment in an era before the internet, CDs, radio, TV, gramophones and so forth. Almost inevitably they included puzzles based around paper. Whilst the times they have a-changed, there is still great fun to be had in playing with paper.

This book brings the concept right up to modern times, with mathematical and geometric explanations for 99 puzzles. The contents include  Origami Puzzles, 3D Folding Puzzles, Möbius strips, Sequence Folding, Strips of Paper, Flexagons, Fold and Cut puzzles, “Just Cutting” puzzles, Overlapping Paper Puzzles, More Fun with Paper, origami puzzles, paper toys and even magic.

The three authors met at the Weizmann Institute of Science, during a recreational math, puzzles and games conference. Ilan is well known in the world of origami. David designs and crafts puzzles, mostly out of wood, and runs many puzzle workshops. Yossi is a recreational mathematician, interested in puzzles and the math behind them, and believes that puzzles are an excellent way to stimulate our brains They were all inspired by the great writer, philosopher and puzzler, Martin Gardner. Together, they have developed a naming system for the different kinds of puzzles and mapped out a landscape for ‘paper puzzles’, giving examples in each category.

It’s an ideal book for me, because the puzzles are largely practical in nature rather than academic – you don’t need a qualification in maths to enjoy it. The puzzles are thought-provoking and have an indicated degree of difficulty. Highly recommended!

There is a preview here.