balance my checkbook" or "I hate anything to do with math." Indeed, it's a pity

when department and grocery store cashiers nowadays have trouble counting out

your change if their computer register goes down. Remember, you're never too old

to learn speed mathematics. Take the example of Baron Herbert de Grote who was

over 60 when he started actively working on mental calculations and at the age of 82

was in the Guiness Book of World Records for his record breaking calculations.

To learn speed multiplication, first practice with adding zeros. For example 800

times 400 has 4 zeros that are simply added to the product of 32 making 320,000.

800

__x 400__

320,000

Now practice with the following until it becomes automatic:

Even though this seems real easy, it must be mastered and become second nature

to you before tackling what comes next. One of the consistent findings that

researchers have discovered about lightning calculators is that they multiply from left

to right and store only one fact away at a time. This is done in a 'moving' fashion so

fast that often calculators cannot explain the procedure until they're given a complex

computation that slows them down just enough to let them actually "watch" the

mental process in motion. Their conscious self actually watches their subconscious

self whiz through the calculation in a time distorted fashion (review "Exercise -- Time

Distortion"). The process of lightning calculating has simply become automatic to

them.

As with any skill, regular practice brings you proficiency. You can actually learn

to creatively have fun playing with numbers. Look for ways to play with numbers

every day. For example, multiply how many people go into a building in one minute

X 60 to get an hourly traffic guesstimation.

As a right brain faculty, speed multiplication involves a reverse process of calcu-

lating from left to right, as opposed to left brain calculating of right to left. You will

sometimes find that you can encourage the right brain into performing calculations if

you first engage your left brain in a talking or writing mode.

The problem 349 times 462 is solved thus:

300 x 400 = 120,000

300 x 60 = 18,000 138,000

300 x 2 = 600 138,600

400 x 40 = 16,000 154,600

400 x 9 = 3,600 158,200

40 x 60 = 2,400 160,600

40 x 2 = 80 160,680

60 x 9 = 540 161,220

9 x 2 = 18 161,238

When a problem is visibly written, some lightning calculators use criss-cross

multiplication. This is a right to left method that can be used in a mental way as well.

The problem 349 times 462 becomes: