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Is Giancoli really crap?

  1. Oct 21, 2014 #1
    Giancoli Physics : Principles and Applications has got really great reviews on Amazon, and it is recommended on the Collegeboard website for AP Physics. I was excitedly going to buy it.
    Recently, some members here said that this book is worthless and crap. I definitely trust those memebers' opinions more than Amazon's reviews.That made me so hesitant and hopeless as I'm in a desperate need of finding a decent algebra based textbook, and I don't have time right now to study calculus.
    Should I just buy it? Could you tell me what's your opinions in this book ?
    Is there any alternative ?
    I appreciate this wonderful community and thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2014 #2


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    I vaguely remember learning from Giancoli…way back when. But I don't really remember anything about it.

    Did the aforementioned members explain why they think the book is crap?
  4. Oct 21, 2014 #3
    No, it wasn't clear why.
  5. Oct 21, 2014 #4


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    I think the consensus of many people is that the standard, commercial introductory physics textbooks are around the same quality (Halliday Resnick & Walker, Giancoli, Serway, Young & Freedman, etc.). None are clearly superior to another. Since this is probably your first taste of physics, just use whatever your teacher uses, learn the basics from it and you will gradually learn more as you proceed through your education.

    By the way, the quality is not that great of any of them from what I read on these forums. But you should realize the people saying that are seasoned in physics so they probably don't like it because usually they are unsatisfactory in their details of derivations.
  6. Oct 22, 2014 #5
    I used Giancoli in my first calculus-based physics. I think it's pretty decent. I don't know what the big problem with it is, although it's been a long time since I've studied from it. To be sure, it's not the deepest book, but I think it's sufficient for an introduction. There are books like Spivak's Physics for Mathematicians that might do better on stuff like the motivation for Newton's laws. I don't think that it's mandatory that you should delve into that at the beginning, though.
  7. Oct 23, 2014 #6


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    Oh, BTW, the top reviews on Amazon are paid by the publishers to the writers via Amazon. :)
  8. Oct 24, 2014 #7
    Calculus makes some parts of physics make a lot more sense and makes some of it much easier than having to try to stick to Alegebra based methods. Even very basic calc that can be very quickly picked up can help.

    As far as the book getting poor reviews, I think many here prefer a different approach than the general texts provide. Stuff like K&K for Mechanics and French for waves and Purcell for E&M and such
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