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Foundations I have complied a list of textbooks about Trig, Algebra, Etc

  1. Dec 11, 2016 #1
    I am planning to self-teach myself Trigonometry and all the other required fields before jumping into calculus. I have compiled a list of books that I have researched and would like your opinions and recommendations.

    Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry by George F Simmons
    Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry by NJ Wildberger
    Precalculus With Unit Circle Trigonometry by David Cohen
    Trigonometry by Gelfand and Saul

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2016 #2
    You probably want to pare down the list a bit, at least as primary study material, and only use others if perhaps you get stuck. (Though of course you can always ask here).

    The Wilderberger book isn't going to help you much and will probably get you confused at this point. He's proposing a lot of alternative ways of doing trig that might be of interest down the line, but which I think will generally obscure things. It's also expensive as hell. So just scratch that one off your list.

    As for the others, i don't have personal experience with them but reviews can be helpful.

    Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry by George F Simmons

    I'm seeing a ton of good reviews here, particularly from self-learners. Since it is covering so many topics, it may not get into the all details of each, but it's probably a great place to start.

    Precalculus With Unit Circle Trigonometry by David Cohen

    I don't get a great feeling from this one as a starting point or for self learning. This is the type of book that probably needs "decoding" by a guided teacher, or, if used for self study, you would need a lot of discipline and a bit more background.

    Trigonometry by Gelfand and Sau

    This actually looks pretty cool. I think trigonometry is usually taught in a very dry and boring way, and treated as a kind of "you have to learn this because you'll need it later" kind of thing. But I like that it's a dedicated trig book that gives the subject a little bit of respect. It's something I feel like I'd pick up to read myself just for fun.

    Book of Proof

    This looks like a great resource for when you are ready to jump into more advanced/abstract math and do proofs. It is not likely you'll need it for calculus just now.

    Algebra and Trigonometry (3rd Edition) - Beecher

    Mixed reviews. Seems redundant to some of the above, but possibly better than the Cohen.

    The rest of the books either continue to be redundant, or not quite relevant to getting ready for calculus yet.

    I assume you also know about Khan Academy

    There is also a great list here of Free Math Books compiled by Greg, grand overlord of physicsforums. :)

    Trig Without Tears is another nice, online freebee that I wish I'd known about when I was taking it.

    But really, stick to very few books, one as your primary source, and consult others only as needed. Otherwise you'll be all over the place.

    -Dave K
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