Why was the Mathbook Depressed?: A guide to Problem Solving


Marlon M., Staff Writer

     Let’s face it, our lives are full of problems. Computer problems, parent problems, people problems, and worst of all MATH PROBLEMS *Cue dramatic music*. However, your life doesn’t need to be so problematic, because, for the price of 9.99, you can get yourself 90% off… OK, OK, I’m done with the jokes. What I’m not joking about is that you can actually get to the root cause of all of your problems and eradicate them! Here’s how:

     First, you must give yourself a question. Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Think about what your real problem is: Can I ignore the problem? Who and what can help me solve this?

     Identify causes using the “Five Whys Method”. Invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, this is the method that Toyota uses to streamline its production process. To start, define the problem, ask “Why is it happening”, and then “Why is that?” until you reach the root cause. Remember there are many other ways to find causes, such as the 5W2H method, or the Ishikawa diagram. It just depends on the problem you are faced with.

     Next, gather as much useful information as possible. Use books, personal experience, and even other people‘s expertise to do this. 

     After this, it is time to brainstorm. Use the information that you have collected, and think about possible solutions. Think about the obstacles in your way, and how to overcome them. Focus on the big problems, and don’t dismiss the solutions that sound weird. Use all of your creative juices, thinking out of the box, laterally, vertically, parallel, in any way possible. Once you’ve found the most suitable solution, then it’s time to implement it.

     Problem-solving may seem complicated, but after just a little practice, these steps will become second nature to implement. To summarize, first, ask yourself a question, and then identify the root causes of the problem. Next, gather as much relevant information on the topic as you can or is productive, and then brainstorm. It’s that simple. I encourage you to try it, and if it works, congratulations, you’ve found yourself a way of solving even the most complex problems. By the way, the answer to the title is that it had so many problems 🤣!