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Best book/software for Calculus?

  1. Nov 18, 2004 #1
    What do you guys think is the most complete and clear calculus book? also, is there any good software for learning calculus? thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2004 #2
    What is your background? Have you had any introduction to calculus already?
  4. Nov 19, 2004 #3
    i know limits and derivatives (really basic though)
  5. Nov 19, 2004 #4
    I bassically used two books during calc courses. Apostol's and Courant's. Both are very formal and difficult. You may want to have a teacher and more simpler books to work your way trough this two. What i mean is that these are not books for engenieers (no ofence). They have lots of mathematical rigor in them.

    I personally think these two are the best Calc books ever made, specially Courant's.

    Some people will recomend Spivak's book, wich is a good book and is also hard for newbies (lots of debate here between which one is the best, Spivak's, Courant's or Apostol's, different "schools" i guess), and some others will recommend Stewart's (did i spell this right?), wich i personally find rather basic if you want to become a mathematitian, but good if you want to learn how to use calculus (if you are tending more to an applied science).
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2004
  6. Nov 19, 2004 #5
    my aim is to learn calculus to use for physics, so im guessing the last one, Stewart's would be the best?

    btw, thanks for the help.
  7. Nov 19, 2004 #6
    I can only recommend Stewarts book - "Calculus - concepts and contexts" I think it's called. Well-written, easy to read and a lot of examples and great illustrations.

    I had this book during Calculus I + II and Vector Calculus and was very pleased with it.
  8. Nov 20, 2004 #7
    well, i looked at some reviews on the books that you guys recommended and almost everyone says that they are very hard and that stewarts book gives way to hard of problems compared to the examples he uses. im gonna be teaching myself atm so i was wondering if there was one that explained easier? thanks. also, right now, i got a rather old book (published in 1968) called The Calculus with Analytic Geometry and the author is Louis Leithold. i've gone through it but it seems to make rather big jumps over "this rule to this example" and i dont think i would know anything that he was talking about if i had not had a basic background in limits and derivatives. anyone had this book?

    also, up to this point ive been using a book called Calculus for the Managerial, Life, and Social Sciences by S.T. Tan. It seems to explain the points pretty clearly but it bothers me that it focus's on those certain sciences and might skip over points that i would need or use for physics. does anyone know of a good calculus book that is meant or easily incorporated into physics?

    thanks again guys.
  9. Nov 20, 2004 #8


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    I would definitely go with Spivak's text.

    Stewart is great and all, but Spivak is better because he doesn't waste time on pointless crap. He tells you a little bit, and explains some with an example or two. After that, it's pretty much your job to do the rest.

    I have both texts and have read 5 chapters or more in both texts.

    If you just want to do Physics, go with Stewart. If you are not sure about Physics or Math, then go with Spivak because if you don't, you'll never know what math really is.
  10. Nov 23, 2004 #9
    Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with JasonRox last comment.

    Furthermore it is NOT true that the exercises in Stewart are too difficult - whoever wrote this is an idiot. There is 25-50 exercises in the end of every chapter - 90-95% of these requires only convergent thinking. The last 3-5 may require some basic divergent thinking.
  11. Nov 23, 2004 #10
    plus, you might want to read some physics books.
  12. Nov 26, 2004 #11
    If you're new at calculus, calculus made easy by silvanus p. thompson and martin Gardner would help alot. Even though its not as in depth as other books, it is written in clear and interesting prose and even Feynman learned calculus using this book ! I've found myself easily learning certain concepts such as partial differentials and integration by parts just by glancing at the chapters.

    The only downfall i can see is that it has a lack of proofs. Especially in the introduction to differentiation. There was no mention of limits. Which in my opinion is good. I myself got totally phased out when i saw the proof of differentiation in my school math textbook. So, this book makes it much simpler.
  13. Nov 27, 2004 #12


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    I did not say that in the previous post, but I did say it before. The problem was that I was trying to breeze through it.

    Now, I do all the questions and basically if you do one after the other its not bad at all.

    I like it better because questions in other texts are dirt easy that there is no point wasting your time on them.
  14. Nov 27, 2004 #13
    I had Stewarts Calculus : Concepts and Contexts(2nd edition) for ap calc ab and I thought the book was pretty good
  15. Nov 28, 2004 #14


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    Depends on what you want to learn.
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