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Calc for Dummies or Calc Made Easy?

  1. Oct 11, 2007 #1
    Which book is more helpful?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2007 #2


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    i'd say its self explanatory - are you a dummy, or do you like things easy?
  4. Oct 11, 2007 #3
    lol, mathwonk is a comedic genius. Both are rather substandard in my opinion. Why not just read one of the standard texts and ask questions here when you get stuck. You' probably learn more that way. How bout spivak?
  5. Oct 11, 2007 #4


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    you misunderstand me. i am always totally serious. i was introduced to calc made easy as a freshman in the spivak honors course at harvard. it has always been a favorite of mine. i find dummies insulting. it took me years to realize the depth of truth in silvanus p. thompson's explanations. his callous way of ignoring higher order terms to take derivatives, is in fact exactly the method of fermat in finding linear approximations, and of the algebraists zariski tangent spaces. the book for dummies on the other hand is exactly what it claims to be.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  6. Oct 11, 2007 #5
    My favorite easy/dumb calc book is: "A calculus refresher for technical men"


    It's just problem after problem, no B.S.

    No I'm not a man or "technical" for that matter... whatever "technical" means...
  7. Oct 12, 2007 #6
    I have just started Calculus I using Stewart. I was looking for something to supplement the text. Since you put it that way, mathwonk, I will go with the calc made easy.
  8. Oct 12, 2007 #7
    Off topic: could someone tell me what goes under calc I, II, and III?
    Is this classification only used in the states or what? thanks.
  9. Oct 12, 2007 #8
    I - limits, differentiation
    II - integration, sequences, series, sometimes an intro to diffeq
    III - multivariable
  10. Oct 12, 2007 #9


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    well i could be wrong. but it is cheap.
  11. Oct 13, 2007 #10
    Cool. Thanks huck!
  12. Oct 13, 2007 #11
    Stewart is so easy. Man, I don't know if you can get easier than stewart.
  13. Oct 13, 2007 #12
    I agree. I learned calculus by reading through Stewart. It may not be a rigorous treatment, but it's easy to read and comprehend.
  14. Oct 13, 2007 #13
    If given the choices between those two books, I would pick calc made easy. Great easy read, and gives you a good basic idea how to solve some problems. It helped me while I studied calculus using Apostol.
  15. Oct 14, 2007 #14

    Gib Z

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    I haven't read Calc made easy, but I have read Calc for dummies. All I can say is that it has no rigor, none at all, but it does offer some intuition for those who are struggling with it. The simplistic explanations and analogies it gives I found helpful, though it took background knowledge to see why he could manipulate the notation for derivatives that people commonly do, and he didn't have proofs for all the propositions he gives to us, like the derivatives of the trig functions. So basically I wouldn't generally recommend the book, but if you are struggling with the current course then team it up with a book that provides a solid foundation, like Klein, and cross reference the books. In fact the only reason I read Calc for Dummies is because I found Klein quite a hard read the first time around, and on the Library shelf Calc for Dummies was right next to it =]
  16. Oct 14, 2007 #15
    Hihi I'm gonna read mathwonk's favorite 'Calculus made Easy'. Hopefully I can finish Spivak after that book.
  17. Jan 19, 2010 #16
    Calculus Made Easy by Sylvanus P. Thompson has been an excellent introduction the the subject, suitable for high school or first year college students for a hundred years. The 1910 edition, now in the public domain, has some obsolescent terminology and notation Martin Gardner updated in the 1998 edition at the cost of some of the Edwardian British charm of the original, but both versions use the Leibniz's d∫ notation and his intuitive infinitesimal approach, with practically no use of the Weierstrass style limits that frighten all too many students.

    The Weierstrass delta/epsilon definition tells one how to recognize a limit, but leaves no clue as to how actually find it!:rolleyes: Infintesimals let one sneak up, infinitely close to the limit, where one can then round off directly to that limit without all that mucking about in shrinking deltas and epsilons.:biggrin:

    Use Mad Easy to get your feet wet, then, if you are so inclined, jump into the sea of rigor when you are ready.
  18. Jan 19, 2010 #17
    The guy is thinking about reading calc for dummies, why on earth would you tell him to read spivak? What is the obsession with spivak anyway? There are plenty of books on real analysis if that's what you want to learn.
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