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Is this a good book?

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1
    Calculus of a Single Variable 9th Edition (Hardback) - Ron Larson

    I have to stress that I have absolutely no experience with calculus at all and it really will be my first ever look. My knowledge so far is algbera and basic trigonometry. I noticed the book also has a pre-calc section to get you going.

    I am not at college or school or anything like that, I just study at home in my spare time so would this be a good book for first exposure?

    It's a tad pricey though :/
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2013 #2
    I think any calc book that has 9 editions is by definition not good.

    All semi-jokes aside, I think you can do much better than this. Books like these really don't do justice to the grand achievement that is calculus.
  4. Jul 21, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the advice, can you suggest something more suitable? Remember I have had no exposure to calculus before.
  5. Jul 21, 2013 #4
    Two good books are "A first course in calculus" by Lang and "Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach" by Kline. These are very suitable for beginners.
  6. Jul 21, 2013 #5
    Thanks, I'll check them out

    The second book you mentioned looks perfect. It doesn't start at the most basic stuff like Lang does, hell he even goes back to whole numbers...

    The second book also isn't just wall after wall of text and it's nicely laid out with spacing between equations and text.

    Thanks I will most definately get this one. Just wondering also can you double check your answers with a casio calculator or will I need to use wolfram alpha?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  7. Jul 21, 2013 #6
    Larson, Stewart, Thomas, and the other big fat freshman calc books that have gone through several (6+) editions are all good, which is why they are so widely used. And they all cover the same material at about the same level, so it's just a matter of personal preference which one you use. The purists here sniff at the popular texts, but that's because they are serious, gifted mathematicians who admire elegance, and can't really relate to an average student with average ability.

    But freshman calculus was set in concrete 50 years ago, so you are wasting your money if you buy a new book for $200. Get an old used edition for ten bucks, and it will be just as good.
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