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Math textbooks by Ron Larson

  1. Algebra & Trigonometry

  2. Precalculus

  3. Neither

  4. Both

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  1. Nov 19, 2014 #1



    So I'm planning on buying the books in the links above (Algebra and trig, precalc and calc by Ron Larson), but as they are quite expensive I was wondering if I would be missing out by not purchasing one of them instead of all three?

    I've heard it's a good idea to skip precalculus and go straight to calculus for example. I've also had a great deal of algebra and trigonometry and know most of what's in the table of contents, but I was thinking maybe it has a better way of explaining concepts and includes proofs? I'm certain I'm going to buy calculus, but uncertain of the two others (maybe just one of them or neither). I also see there is some overlap in the content of algebra & trig and precalculus. Has anyone used any of these books and can offer some insight?

    Excuse my messy and badly formulated inquery, hope you understand what I'm trying to convey :-)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Of course Calculus is far more fun but take a look at the precalc stuff again. These concepts popup time and again and are really useful in the long run.
    They lay the ground work for limits the basis for Calculus and prepare you for Advanced Calculus later on.
  4. Nov 23, 2014 #3
    People would always sit in my Pre-Calculus class and constantly complain "When will I ever use this". They maintained these feelings throughout first semester Calculus as well, however beyond calculus 1, i've noticed that a lot of manipulation techniques learned in precalculus begin to resurface. For example, partial fraction decomposition and completing the square come up regularly. Long story short, a strong understanding of the basic techniques used in calculus that you learn all the way back in Pre-calc classes do become important down the line, and it will make learning the concepts much easier if you are familiar with these methods of algebraic manipulation. If I were you, I would buy the Calculus book and the Precalculus book, the latter will most likely review the important trigonometry that you will need for calculus, e.g. trig identities and such.
  5. Nov 23, 2014 #4
    Thank you! I'll purchase it right away :-)
  6. Nov 23, 2014 #5


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  7. Nov 23, 2014 #6


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  8. Nov 24, 2014 #7
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Nov 24, 2014 #8


    Staff: Mentor

    Some profs derive extra income from their published books and so they will update them annually with small errata and better descriptions. Students are always asked to buy the most recent version. For introductory books, this can be quite a large income but for higher level books not so much.

    For me, I always considered the importance of the book and whether I'd want to keep it for the future. After being out of school for quite a few decades now, I still have a couple of math books on Advanced Calc, Differential Geometry... and my physics books on QM (Rojansky), CM (Goldstein / Marion / Landau), and GR(Wheeler) for other courses that I still wanted to study, I have the Schaum's Outline equivalent.

    One prof suggested that we nt use highlighter in our books as that detracts from reading it again. Its true, every time I see the highlighter on the first couple of chapter I grimace and wish I had followed that advice. Instead underlining with a pencil or annotations in the margins were a better solution. Now I tend to use graph paper sticky notes or bookmark notes.
  10. Nov 24, 2014 #9
    The proofs in Larson's 8th Edition Calculus flat out suck. They are either missing steps or seem vaguely circular.
  11. Nov 24, 2014 #10
    Really? I have already purchased Calculus by Ron Larson:-( I'm not sure which edition it is, but I believe it's the 9th. Do you have any recommendations for an Precalculus textbook? :-)
  12. Nov 25, 2014 #11
    Well, I was being a little hyperbolic (no pun intended), Maddie1609. I think it's simply because I'm too retarded to see the logic in a proof when it's already there. But actually, you can't go wrong getting any of Larson's Calculus editions. I would go straight to the Calculus, rather than bothering with Precalc or trigonometry, since the Calculus (other than already having a Pre-Calculus section at the beginning of the book) book will review any trigonometric or algebraic concepts you might have forgotten about before it delves into the Calculus applications of those concepts.
  13. Nov 27, 2014 #12
    I ended up ordering precalculus and calculus by Ron Larson, both newer editions. I also bought a physics book by Halliday(?) and Resnick :) Thanks for all the feedback!
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