Raymond M. Smullyan’s Books Needed No Titles

Raymond Smullyan on THE TONIGHT SHOW



Honoring the recent passing of its author, Raymond M. Smullyan, at age 97

If you’ve never heard of Raymond Smullyan or encountered any of his books on logic and mathematics (or reverse chess problems, religion, and philosophy), you are in the fortunate position of learning about him and encountering his inescapably engaging puzzle-posing for the first time. To do so is to enter into a fantastic world occupied by islands of Knights (who always tell the truth) and Knaves (who always lie); forests of Lions who lie on Mondays through Wednesdays and tell the truth the rest of the week, and Unicorns who are truthful save for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; of a country (Transylvania, of course), where humans always tell the truth, vampires always lie, but half the population is insane and believes only false propositions to be true and vice versa.

You might find yourself in a land where natives can only answer yes-or-no questions, but with words of which you don’t know the meaning. Or be transported to Italy, where must determine whether a given casket contains a jewel, based only on logic and your analysis of statements on the lid of each casket. With Smullyan, you can always crack the problem at hand, if you keep your wits about you. And periodically, he injects sections of problems designed to more explicitly teach you some of the tricks of the trade that logicians use.

Whether you’re a young novice or aging retiree, if you’re looking for the pleasure of hunting down the solutions to tantalizing logical gems, being teased by a brilliant mathematical logician, or simply entertained by the endlessly amusing scenarios in which he embeds his puzzles, lessons, and “monkey tricks,” you will find no better starting place than to discover WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS BOOK?

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