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Thinking outside the box brain games

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This is a review of the book “The Little Book of Big Brain Games:  517 Ways to Stretch, Strengthen and Grow Your Brain”
Date:  October 11, 2020
Best place to buy:
Price:  $9.95

Think outside the box
These 517 Games are designed to stretch your mind, to make you “think outside the box”.

This little book is a pocket-size brain gym. Here are more than 500 full-color puzzles from the original Big Book of Brain Games―the book that Will Shortz praised as “the most wide-ranging, visually appealing, entertaining collection of brainteasers since Sam Lloyd’s Cyclopedia of Puzzles,” and The Washington Post called “an opus . . . mixing math with wonder.”

Here are mental games, visual challenges, logic posers, riddles, and illusions, each designed to stretch neurons and give the brain a workout―all in a format that will fit in your pocket. The puzzles (both original and mind-boggling adaptations of classics) are rated in difficulty from level one to ten, but even the easiest are guaranteed to make the solver feel smart.

This pocket-size brain gym contains mental games, visual conundrums, logic posers, riddles, illusions –  all designed to stretch neurons and shake up your usual way of thinking.  Be creative.  Be challenged.  Push your brain in new directions.  The puzzles are organized by 12 types  with 10 degrees of difficulty, each designed to make you feel more curious, intuitive, engaged, and smarter.

These mental games can change the way people see things.  They allow us to see the world in new ways.

A Few Examples from the Book
Here are a few examples of the mind-stretching exercises you’ll find in this little book:

Halving Seven (can you prove that 7 + 7 = 12?)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Can you cut this wheel of cheese into eight identical pieces with only three straight cuts?

How did Fido do it?
DOG TIED:  Fido the dog is tied to a tree with a ten-foot length of rope.  He wants to get to his doggie bowl, which is fifteen feet away.  So Fido trots over and starts eating.  There are no tricks; the rope didn’t break and the tree didn’t bend.  Nothing of that sort.  So how did Fido do it?


The book’s chapters
The exercises are organized into several chapters according to the ideas they center around:

“Play Thinks” (a special type of exercise, coined by the author, designed to transfer the reader to a special state of mind where play and problem-solving coexists)
Points and Lines
Graphs and Networks Curves and Circles
Shapes and Polygons
Logic and Probability
Bonus Rounds


What Your Goal Should Be

To become more curious, more inventive, more intuitive.


From the Book’s Author
Ivan Moscovich, the book’s author, says:

“Psychologists have long known that children learn about the world through play; now it is clear that adults can also benefit from games.  Even as we age, our brains continue to form neurons and make new connections. In order to encourage this growth, research has shown that you need to exercise your brain as you would a muscle – constantly challenging it in new and different ways.  As puzzlemaster Nob Yogashicara once said:  “What jogging is to the body, thinking is to the brain.  The more we do it, the better we become at it.”

“We can understand the most abstract and difficult concepts if we allow ourselves the luxury of approaching them not as work, but as fun – and as a form of exploration.”


Moscovich has chosen activities that span many topics and combine entertainment and brain-teasing.


Pros and Cons:


The book is portable (can fit inside your pocket or handbag) – so you can take it anywhere with you, as a “Portable Brain Gym”, as it were.

The exercises in this little book pack a big punch:  They certainly force you to think outside the box!



None that I can think of.


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Comments (2) on "Thinking outside the box brain games"

  1. Hi,

    I haven’t read this book, but it looks like it contains very challenging tasks. It will really exercise our brains and will push us to think logically.

    It is a good travel companion, as well and will fight boredom in airports especially with very long lay over.

    I will buy it as a gift to my husband and will just share it with him.


    1. Thanks for your comment, Marita.  I’m sure you and your husband will enjoy this little book and all the unusual brain games it contains.

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