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Calculus Textbooks

  1. May 8, 2009 #1
    I want to know i great textbook for calculus. Unfortunately, the cost of textbooks is much too high to be buying more than one. So is there a textbook that has a good intro to calculus as well as covers almost all of calculus and differential equations. Also, do i need any prior knowledge of math other than algebra, geometry and trigonometry. What about a stewart calculus book, are they well written?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2009 #2
    in my opinion
    i think stwart calculus the most powerful textbook for beginners
  4. May 8, 2009 #3
    A girl I'm tutoring asked me to suggest a good introductory calculus text, for a reasonable price. I was seriously out of ideas, as the only book I've had is Spivak so far. I would also like to avoid Stweart, as my glimpse of it has yielded no more than disgust. Any suggestions?
  5. May 8, 2009 #4
    I feel like the Stewart text covers a whole lot, which is good for me. But there many reviews which have referred to the book as the worst book that a person can read. Are there any other books that cover the same contents but in a better approach?
  6. May 8, 2009 #5
    Also remember i need to learn calculus for physics so if differential equations come with it that's better.
  7. May 9, 2009 #6
    What about Apostol's calculus. He has two books one single variable and one multi-variable. It also includes a lot of differential equations, linear algebra, and analysis. How good is it on a beginner?
  8. May 9, 2009 #7
    If you know most of what's covered in a calculus I class already then Apostol is a good choice. If not, then you should pick up a used copy of Stewart or something similar (don't get the newest edition, they barely change the book at all with new editions, and older editions cost <$10 used) and go through everything up to series. Apostol is used in honors calculus classes in college for kids who already took a calculus class in high school, so its not easy to go through cold.

    But if you want to do calculus for physics then something as rigorous as Apostol isn't necessary. I don't see anything wrong with Stewart personally.
    Last edited: May 9, 2009
  9. May 9, 2009 #8
    If i were to get a Stewart text, should a pick early transcendentals over the original?
  10. May 10, 2009 #9
    I am 99% sure that they are the same textbook content wise. I have seen an older copy of the original Calculus book and it looked identical to a later edition of the Early Transcendentals variety.

    Also, it is much more reasonable to look at stewart in comparison to other calculus books using google books than to put all your faith behind Amazon reviewers. Another point that's not often made is that it's definitely worth it to see what calc books are available at the library. There is no compelling reason to buy the book unless there are no renewals allowed (which would be weird). You save a lot of money and if you really want a certain book as a reference later or if you really liked it, then you can buy it, but this can be done later if the book is available at the library.

    Many people on these forums will recommend Spivak, myself included, and some will look at a book such as Stewarts with disgust. But most people who encounter Spivak will have seen calculus before, even if this is not the original intent of the author. Just remember that Spivak is as good, if not better than many intro to analysis textbooks, so if you are not at that level yet, there is nothing wrong with starting with Stewart. I would recommend that you go to google books, search for Spivak (the 3rd edition should be online), and try to read chapter 1, chapter 5, or the part right after the last theorem in chapter 7 AND chapter 8 and see how it suits you. If you can get a grasp on what Spivak is talking about in those sections (more precisely, if you can follow his arguments), you can work through the entire book.
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  11. May 10, 2009 #10
    Thomas and Finney is not that bad either (although I used stewart.) :D
  12. May 10, 2009 #11
    Did you like the Stewart one? Was it easy to read? Do you think it's good for a self-studier such as myself who wants to go ahead of what's expected?
  13. May 10, 2009 #12
    Yeah, I self studied too, and don't worry about the expectations. I'm supposed to be finishing algebra 2 now but i'm doing vector calculus from stewart's. By the way, get the full book, not the concepts one, it's more worth it.
  14. May 10, 2009 #13
    Should i know learn any other branch of mathematics other than algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus before learning out of stewart's textbook?
  15. May 10, 2009 #14


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    No, those are your basic pre-reqs for calculus, so you're good to go.

    Stewart's actually isn't that bad if you're just starting to learn the techniques.
  16. May 11, 2009 #15
    Nope. That's how much I knew when I started off. :) have fun!
  17. May 13, 2009 #16


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    Buy an older version and you will save money and be able to buy for less than $10.
  18. May 13, 2009 #17
    How old should it be? 5th, 4th, 3rd,,,
  19. May 13, 2009 #18
    And what's the difference between the 5th and the 6th.
  20. May 13, 2009 #19


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    Well you don't have to get an exact edition, but typically older editions are better. Which author are you planning to buy?
  21. May 13, 2009 #20
    Well, i'm planing to buy Stewart. I think i'm going to get the 5th edition because there is no difference between that and the 6th. The only difference is the problems, but i'm just self studying, i'm not in a course that needs the problems from 6e.

    Also, do you know how well Stewart's text covers vector calculus. Just Curious.
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