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A decent book about calculus for beginners

  1. Jul 13, 2007 #1
    I'm sorry if this question has been asked before, and I think it is, but does anyone know a good calculus book that isn't too hard and begins with the basics? I know what derivatives and integrals are, but I think my knowledge on these subjects iss not sufficient.

    I have learned everything I know about calculus from two main sources: Wikipedia and Steven G. Krantz's book 'Calculus Demystified', which I think is an excellent book, but I want to read other authers so I can see what styles
    I like best and what not, because in my belief it is not good to learn everything from just one or two sources.

    So does anyone have any tips for moi? I would appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2007 #2
    Stewart's Calculus is quite easy to follow.
    If you want rigour, try Spivak.
    Stewart is better for computation though.
    You might want to pick up the Schaum's Calculus book, too.
  4. Jul 14, 2007 #3
    Thank you. I will look if I can buy them soon. Are there any more recommendations?
  5. Aug 4, 2007 #4
    i'm going to buy Spivak along with the Solution (course i won't refer to it unless i've spent days on a problem) after that Apostol. Stewart's book is truly about computation, too many problems ... not enough text.
  6. May 30, 2008 #5


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    i liked lectures on freshman calculus by cruse and granberg. but at this price i would look at it in the library first:

    Lectures on Freshman Calculus (ISBN: 0201013010)
    Cruse, Allan B. And Millianne Granberg
    Bookseller: dadsbooks
    (East Wakefield, NH, U.S.A.)
    Bookseller Rating:
    Price: US$ 40.00
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    Quantity: 1 Shipping within U.S.A.:
    US$ 3.00
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    Book Description: Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1971. Original Cloth. Book Condition: Near Fine. No Jacket. First Edition. 6 3/4" x 9 1/2". 641 pages. Indexed. Illustrated, charts, tables. Decorated end pages front and back. INCLUDES ERRATA SHEET. Book Condition: NEAR FINE. Black cloth boards with bold white lettering on front board and spine. Slight edge wear. See picture. Interior: EXCELLENT. No marks. Clean and tight. You may contact me for more pictures. Bookseller Inventory # 001497
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  7. Jun 1, 2008 #6
    I definitely recommend Calculus and Intuitive and Physical Approach by Morris Kline. It was my first calculus book and is still my favorite. It's really heavy on physics applications and kind of long, though.

    W Micheal Kelley's Humongous Book of Calculus Problems has been a huge help because he explains the answers in very explicit detail. I have been self teaching myself for the past few months and this has made things so much easier.

    You can also find the 7th edition of Calculus with Analytic Geometry by Larson, Hostetler etc for almost brand new for only a couple of dollars. I'm going through this one now and it is a little hard to follow, but it's definitely worth the few dollars!

    Forgotten Calculus by Barbara Lee is also great. There is no theory, it just helps you solve the basics. There are no mention of the trig function, unfortunately. You may find it beneficial to work through this first. I went through the whole book in only two days.

    Thomas and Finney also seems to be a great book. I'm still waiting for it in the mail, but from the reviews I would say this also warrants a purchase.

    Maybe Spivak would also be good. It requires vast amounts of concentration to understand exactly what's going on though.

    I hope this helped. I have amassed so many calculus books this past year in anticipation of starting college in the fall.:smile:
  8. Jun 1, 2008 #7


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    here are a few of the calc books on my shelf:

    grossman, spivak, thomas - finney (9th edition), Bers, thomas ("alternate", i.e. very early, edition), edwards - penney (7 different editions, recommend the 1st), apostol, silvanus p. thompson (before martin gardner mussed it up), goursat, courant, kitchen, munroe, loomis - sternberg, dieudonne, schaum's (the older the better), hardy, stewart (2nd edition), cartan, rudin, fleming, lang calculus, lang's analysis I and II.

    i tend to discard ones I do not like, but have also let a couple I liked get away: comenetz, cruse and granberg.
  9. Jun 1, 2008 #8
    Mathwonk, do you recommend Finney-Thomas 9th for self study? I would like to at least get to integration before the summer is out and, even with some background on the subject, I'm finding Larson somewhat awkward to follow.
  10. Jun 2, 2008 #9


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    i think it was one of my favorite texts, among those i was handed to teach out of. however the 10th edition became just a bit too dumbed down for my taste.

    it will explain clearly how to calculate, but only a little of how the theorems are proved.

    a book like spivak proves every theorem, thomas finney 9 states the theorems and proves a sampling of them, while thos. finney 10 sometimes proves none of them.

    i notice one reviewer says the 7th and 8th editions included even more useful material, but i have not seen those.

    so the pattern seems to have been to dumbdown the book gradually, but i also think the writing of the 9th edition is actually clearer than in thomas original book, 40 - 50 odd years ago. i don't which edition is optimal, but i do know i was unhappy with the 10th.

    notice however the long list of favorable reviews on amazon supposedly for the 9th edition, are not actually all reviewing the same book.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  11. Jun 2, 2008 #10
    Thanks Mathwonk. It actually appears to be just what I'm looking for. I'm not too worried about all of the theorem proofs because I plan on working through Spivak after I get a firmer grasp of the basic/mechanical aspects of Calculus.:smile:
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