Many people enjoy solving brainteasers. For some, the satisfaction comes from figuring out the solution to a difficult puzzle. For others it's just the entertainment derived from the amusing stories and clever answers that accompany a good brainteaser. Whatever the reason, it is clear that brainteasers have been popular for thousands of years. The earliest known form of brainteaser is probably the tangram, an ancient Chinese puzzle of seven pieces that fit together in different ways to form a variety of shapes. There are also records of puzzles written on the walls of pyramids and temples around the world.
There are more benefits to solving brainteasers than just plain fun. Several medical benefits come from solving puzzles. People who solve brainteasers have been shown to experience a delayed onset of Alzheimer's compared to people who do not exercise their brains. In addition, keeping your mind in tiptop shape will boost your creativity and mental flexibility. This is why many top design firms use brainteasers as part of their daily routines. People exercise to keep their bodies physically fit, so why shouldn't they also perform exercises to keep their minds mentally fit? Solving puzzles is one way to keep your mind in peak condition.
Just like physical exercise, where you do different movements to work out different parts of the body, you should do different types of mental exercise to work out different parts of your brain. The various chapters in this book contain many different types of puzzles, some based on math and some on language. Flip through the pages, and try out some of each. Math and language brainteasers stretch different parts of your brain, and some people are naturally better at one particular type of puzzle than another. You probably already know your favorite kind of puzzle, but you shouldn't avoid the other types. This is probably the part of your mind that needs the most exercise. With a little practice, you will surely get better. Just start out with the easier puzzles in that chapter, and work up from there.
You've surely heard the phrase, “Two minds are better than one.” It's true. Brainteasers are great for sharing with friends, especially if you're stumped on a particularly difficult puzzle. Instead of flipping straight to the answer, why not try to work it out with a friend? You'll be amazed at how much more quickly you can solve puzzles when you have someone helping you. It's no surprise that brainteasers are great group activities. Just look at how many popular board games have some form of puzzle as their main element. There's something about solving a difficult problem as a group that brings everybody closer together.
Whatever your reason for enjoying brainteasers, the rest of this book is sure to be a pleasure for you to read. Have fun!