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Is it possible/advisable to read several books in 4 months?

  1. Jan 2, 2015 #1
    I am starting to plan some books to read for the summer, and I have already found 3 math books I'd like to finish in 3 months (taking the last month off- burnout recovery). Namely, How to prove it, spivak calculus, and a discrete math book

    Now, I'm wondering if my goal of doing this is realistic? I have no problems studying 10+ hours a day as I am an engineering student and I'm used to long hours.

    Can I do this? Is it advisable to do? Could I possibly do more books in this time- or am I destined to fail?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2015 #2
    If you have the will and the time then you can do it. The more important question is probably should you do it or is it a good use of your time. You said you're an engineering student, so what's your motivation for choosing a "proofy" set of books and why those books in particular? Also, summer is a long way away, and who knows what your interests may be in ~5 months. Best of luck no matter what you decide to do!
  4. Jan 2, 2015 #3
    My interests are 100% computer science. I've been programming for roughly ~8 years now in several languages (all kinds, procedural, functional, object oriented, etc) and have been paid before/worked on team projects.

    I'm not happy with the current projects I do now and want to tackle some more advanced topics requiring heavy mathematics and of course build up my knowledge so I'm really to tackle some hard data structures & algorithms books. But I've coded in low and high level languages. Since the engineering math isn't really that proofy and doesn't really help in these subjects, I need to learn more proofy math for myself.

    My major is electrical/computer engineering- the programming they learn isn't sufficient (and I know all of it).
  5. Jan 2, 2015 #4

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    You can probably "read" those books in that time. But "reading" the books is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to become familiar with the material.
  6. Jan 2, 2015 #5
    Aren't these books normally learned in one semester (~3-4 months) in the typical school environment? At a full time course load, shouldn't I be able to learn 5-7?
  7. Jan 2, 2015 #6
    If you've already taken single variable calculus then Spivak shouldn't be too bad, yes its rigorous but the beauty in Spivak is that thoroughly explains concepts with English to help develop the intuition and thought process behind the proofs. You will find Spivak to have a lot of text, which may or may not be a good thing for you.
  8. Jan 2, 2015 #7
    I did Spivak over a summer, and I'm an engineering student. I can't attest to its usefulness in my engineering studies, but I can attest to the personal enrichment I've gained by being exposed to deeper levels of calculus than I experienced in my calculus courses. It will take time, though. Some chapters I had to read several times before I was comfortable with them. I'm not sure all of Spivak can be done (except in rare circumstances) in only three months with no teacher. Perhaps up to integration, though.
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