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Classical Classical Mechanics by Herbert Goldstein

  1. Strongly Recommend

  2. Lightly Recommend

  3. Lightly don't Recommend

  4. Strongly don't Recommend

  1. Jan 22, 2013 #1
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2013 #2
    A Must have Graduate Level Mechanics Textbook having good deal with Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics.
  4. Feb 14, 2013 #3


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    I used the 2nd edition (not the 3rd which is the last I believe, and much different apparently) for my upper level undergraduate course. All the theory of my course was in that book.
    The only downside I found in that book is that I would have loved to get -many- more solved exercises/examples. My feeling is that it's a very theoretical book with of course many examples/solved exercises but it could have gotten many more.
    It would be nice if someone could comment about the third edition when it comes to the solved exercises and examples given.
    All in all it's a must for a college education, in my opinion.
  5. Feb 15, 2013 #4


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    I passionately hate this book (the 2nd edition), but to be honest, I don't know how much of it is due to the fact that we had the worst teacher ever for the course. I came to dislike everything about the book, the notation, the content, the presentation, and even the font, cover and smell of the book. There are theorems in it that I've tried to read many times but never understood. The next year, the literature was changed to Scheck, and the course was given by a very good teacher. I went to those lectures as well. It was as if I had been transferred from a cold and damp mud-hole in the ground to a luxury hotel.

    If I have to refresh my memory about classical mechanics, I will use Arnold and/or Scheck.
  6. Feb 15, 2013 #5


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    It isn't just you mate. I would rather be tied to a raging ball and strewn across a cactus field than have to use this book. Arnold is infinitely better if one has the mathematical background. There is also the exceedingly beautiful and concise book by Landau and Lifgarbagez.
  7. Feb 15, 2013 #6
    I agree, I also hated Goldstein. For an analytical mechanics course, Landau is infinitely better.

    But then there's Calkin's "Lagrangian & Hamiltonian Mechanics". I like it more than Landau's but it doesn't cover rigid body mechanics, Landau is the best for that.
  8. Feb 15, 2013 #7


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    Yeah I have Calkin as well and I can 100% agree with you on that; one HUGE advantage of Calkin's book is the wealth of exercises. There are many alternatives out there but for some reason Goldstein's book is constantly used.
  9. Feb 15, 2013 #8


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    Haha...that's good to hear. :smile: But why did you "strongly recommend" it then? (Click on one of the numbers, and you can see who voted and what they voted for).

    I had a quick look at it some time ago. I got the impression that it's a great place to learn how to solve a wide range of problems in classical mechanics. It's probably the book I'd use if I ever need to do that.
  10. Feb 15, 2013 #9


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    Because I thought it said "Classical Mechanics" - Taylor but by the time I chose the option it was too late :( - the woes of using a phone
    Plus it has some very beautiful proofs; I remember there was one section where L&L use SR to show rigid bodies can't exist and when I saw that for the first time I was blown away lol
  11. Feb 15, 2013 #10
    I wouldn't recommend it on the basis that it is superceded by far better books. To name a few:
    • Arnold, Vladamir. Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics. Springer. 1989
    • José, Jorge and Eugene Saletan. Classical Dynamics: A Contemporary Approach. Cambridge UP. 1998
    • Lanczos, Cornelius. The Variational Principle of Mechanics. Dover. 1986
    • Whittaker, Edmund. An Analytical Treatment of the Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies. Forgotten Books. 2012

    (The most recent edition of Whittaker's text was first published in 1917, but it is certainly not outdated.)

    Goldstein is okay when it comes to exercises. However, especially at the graduate level, this doesn't matter so much when compared to a relatively dry exposition. Furthermore, José and Saletan's exercises are comparably informative, yet their exposition is top-notch (sans the notation).
  12. Feb 18, 2013 #11
    Goldstein is too tedious; Landau's far more interesting. but if you think Landau's too brief, then I'd recommend Taylor's Classical Mechanics.
  13. Feb 25, 2013 #12


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    OK, so since everyone else (it seems) is having a b*tch about Goldstein, I'm gonna say that it was the book from which I first got a clear idea of what the Hamilton-Jacobi approach was really all about.

    I also have Jose & Saletan, which I certainly like, but somehow Goldstein did H-J better for me. Goldstein is not all bad.
  14. Feb 14, 2014 #13
    I liked the second edition the best. The second edition may be the only physics book I read from cover to cover and did most problems. I started calling Goldstein "the good book" when I was talking to colleagues. I remember I was not alone. One colleague when he read about the intermediate axis theorem rotated his book in the air about the intermediate axis. That said, I read one poster liked Lanczos and Whittaker's books. These are both very good but they are more specialized than Goldstein to use as a textbook. I feel the chaos stuff cluttered it up too much.
  15. May 19, 2014 #14

    Agree with you, V I Arnold is one my favourite writers, his superfluous mathematical knowledge is absolutely tremendous.
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