History

Help on query formulation
How to solve it. A new aspect of mathematical method. Expanded version of the 1988 edition, with a new foreword by John H. Conway. (English)
Princeton Science Library. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (ISBN 0-691-11966-X/pbk). xxviii, 253~p. (2004).
This is a reissue of Pólya’s classic 1945 text first reviewed by Hermann Weyl in Mathematical Reviews 9 (1948), page 488, and finally mentioned in [Zbl 0061.00616]. An excellent description of the significance of the text is in John H. Conways introduction to this Expanded Princeton Science Library Edition: “How to Solve It is a wonderful book! This I realized when I first read right through it as a student many years ago, but it has taken me a long time to realize just how wonderful it is. Why is that? One part of the answer is that the book is unique. In all my years as a student and teacher, I have never seen another that lives up to George Polya’s title by teaching you how to go about solving problems. {\it A. H. Schoenfeld} correctly described its importance in his 1987 article “Pólya, problem solving, and education” [Math. Mag. 60, 283‒291 (1987; Zbl 0644.01006)]. “For mathematics education and the world of problem solving it marked a line of demarcation between two eras, problem solving before and after Polya.” “It is one of the most successful mathematics books ever written, having sold over a million copies and been translated into seventeen languages since it first appeared in 1945." John H. Conway notwithstanding, this book needs no introduction. On the other hand, Conway does provide a brief biography of Polya and history of the text and Weyl’s review contains a detailed description of its contents.
Reviewer: Steven C. Althoen (Holly)
Classification: D50 E50
Keywords: problem solving