Thursday, 5 August 2010

This book does not exist by Gary Hayden

I breezed through a book shop the other day and glanced at a book called, ‘This book does not exist’ which described itself as taking you on adventures in the paradoxical. It entertained my nerdy department briefly and had I had more than a bike pump, a bottle of water and a daft look with me I might have bought it. Anyway the paradoxes I remember enough to regurgitate are as follows.

(Is it really a) Paradox? 1
A hang man says to his ‘client’ I am going to give you a surprise hanging some time during the next working week. I will hang you on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday but I won’t tell you the day because it needs to be a surprise. The hangee replied, 'well if you have not done it by Thursday midnight, I will know it’s going to be on the Friday so that won’t be a surprise. So you can’t do it on Friday. By the same reckoning, if you haven’t done it by Wednesday Midnight then I will know it is going to be on Thursday so that would not be a surprise,' and so on. ‘So', said the chap waiting to be hanged, ‘you cannot hang me.’

I like that!!!

Paradox 2
Three people went into a restaurant to have lunch. At the end the bill amounted to £30. They each paid £10 towards the bill. At this point the manager realised that the restaurant had overcharged them and their bill should have been £25. She gave five £1 coins to the waiter and asked him to return the coins to the customers. The waiter was a little dishonest and chose to return just £1 to each of the customers and pocket the remaining £2. So if each customer has now paid just £9, three lots of £9 makes £27. Adding the two pound in the waiter’s pocket amounts to £29. Where has the missing pound gone.

I had to draw a picture to ‘see’ this one!


OK I am going to brazenly bare my nerdiness for potentially the world to see and add my picture. Please continue to talk to me.

I promise to get out more.


  1. This has made my brain hurt!! What happened to the other £1?

    C x

  2. Yes, tell us the answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. If the hangman had a better wristwatch with a finer second hand, he could definitely surprise the hangee at 11:59:59.99999 while the hangman incorrectly assumed exactly midnight.

  4. I explained it to someone and they still didn't get if this doesn't work I might have to draw a picture!
    I see it as a trick of which pot the money is actually in and where it exists! They did pay £27 pounds (as they had £1 returned and they had handed over £10) but then you need to think simply that the restaurant got £25 and the waiter got £2....which accounts for their £27, The sum is £27 paid minus £2 pocketed by waiter equals £25 the restaurant got. Adding the £2 to the £27 was the deception - it sounded right but the £2 was already included in the £27 that they had handed could not be created and therefore added again.

    Get it?

  5. Would need go into a quiet white room with a notebook and a pen for several days and then I'd get it.

  6. I like that Eric!!! Nearly a paradx blaster.

    Does my picture help Claire. Permission to take the PPPPPPPPPPPPPP granted. xxxx

  7. I'm glad you posted the picture. I was reading Paradox 2 and puzzled by where the £9 came from, as I kept getting the 'right' answer, rather than £29.

    I reckon my brain is wired up wrong!

  8. Yes, I get it now. I am a visual learner. But my brain aches like fuck.

  9. Andy C - no your brain is wired up with a logical hard drive. That must be hard!

    What has caused the brain ache Claire? I cannot for one minute imagine you entertained yourself with this puzzle for more than a second before the flippant irreverancy kicked in!!!!!

  10. And the man, concluding that he could not be hanged, was surprised to be hanged on Tuesday :)

  11. The correct calculation is:

    3x9 pounds has been paid by the customers, making 27. The waiter has taken 2 pounds from it, leaving 27-2 = 25 for the restaurant.

    Hi Molly, welcome back. I know, I've only just noticed but I never said I was quick.

  12. I did actually devote some time to it. It's not my sort of thing but some things niggle me and I have to get to the bottom of them. Oh, and I did (strangely) do A Level Maths!!!


I LOVE comments......