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Need Developmental Mathematics Textbook

  1. Jul 26, 2010 #1
    Hey all.

    I have a friend who has been out of high school for quite a while, and he is wanting to learn a little math (just basics).

    I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find a good book for someone who is not familiar with much math at all. I am guessing we would need to start with things like adding and subtracting integers, then working with fractions, and then into stuff like order of operation, rational expressions etc. Eventually into polynomials, factoring, solving quadratic equations, and maybe some trig. I think this sounds like a fairly standard remedial math/college algebra course at a university.

    If anyone knows of a good book either for cheap to buy or even free to view online, I'd appreciate it extremely.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2010 #2
    The book Introducing Mathematics is amazing. It has tons of info, some of which math undergrads don't even cover, all the while being extremely easy to read - I have given it to many of my non-scientist friends and they came away pleased. This book does not cover the absolute basics that you mentioned, but I have a feeling you are shortchanging your friend when you mentioned "adding and subtracting integers". To supplement this book, you can search wikipedia or mathworld for basic rules and notation.
  4. Jul 26, 2010 #3
  5. Jul 26, 2010 #4
    Yes, that's the one (although my copy has a different cover, but everything else is the same).
  6. Jul 26, 2010 #5
    Okay cool. I only got to glance at the first few pages on amazon, but it seems like something I might even like to read.

  7. Jul 26, 2010 #6
    Great. Some of the concepts are challenging and 'out there', but they are all very interesting, important, and you can't beat the history that is contained in the little book. I wish I would have read it before I started my math education.
  8. Jul 26, 2010 #7
    Yep, I am beginning graduate school in mathematics this fall, and it is really a shame that I have never gotten the chance to take a course in history of math.
  9. Jul 26, 2010 #8


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    Some of the reviews for Introducing Mathematics aren't positive.

    A textbook series that I happen to like are the paperback ones by Margaret Lial.
    See http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/series/The-Lial-Paperback-Series/11005.page" [Broken] (hopefully the link works). The examples are pretty thorough, at least from the books I have seen. You don't need to get all eight books, because there is considerable overlap in topics. Just getting Basic College Mathematics, 8/E and Introductory and Intermediate Algebra, 4/E would be enough to cover all the basic math before Algebra 1, Algebra 1 itself, and Algebra 2. Don't bother with the current editions -- older editions can be had for cheap.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Jul 27, 2010 #9
    I've checked those out eumyang, and they look more like traditional textbooks (which I like). The older versions are around $10 from what I see on amazon too, so that is nice as well.

  11. Jul 27, 2010 #10
    For pre-algebra and algebra 1, I think no book beats "Algebra Survival Guide:a Conversational Guide for the Thoroughly Befuddled ".


    For basic geometry, "Geometry" by Harold Jacobs. Get an old edition, the first edition if you can.


    I really like this review of it: "Jacobs sugar-coats the process of rigorous proof!
    I have no experience with other geometry books--although I did use the Schaum book and other "outline" help books early in the school year as a reference. Actually Jacobs was easier to use than the "outline" help books. Many problems skate close to calculus (limits are introduced) and analytic geometry. Some problems are quite nearly elegant. Highly recommended."

    Another good geometry book (After getting through the above book) is "Geometry Revisted" by Coexeter.


    After that for functions, trig and and other precalculus goodies I would recommend, "Principles of Mathematics" by Oakley and Allendoerfer

  12. Jul 27, 2010 #11
    Oh and thanks for suggesting "Introducing Mathematics". I will probably go out and buy it tomorrow. After I finish it I'll definitely lend it to my sister. She has this overpowering math phobia that holds her back in a lot of ways and I'm hoping this book will help her out. Like one of the reviewer's pointed out, providing the student a reason-why to study math in the first place is vital to their understanding of it. If math is presented as esoteric, dry and un-engaging then it's no wonder that so many people (myself included) hated math as it was taught to them in school.

    I particularly liked this quote by Leibniz while I was skirting through the first few pages of the book,

  13. Jul 30, 2010 #12
    The books just seem to be getting better and better (and they're cheap too)!

    I too loved the style of "Introducing Mathematics". It had a lot of neat quotes and cartoons that seemed entertaining and attention-grabbing.
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