Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Quick question about Michael Spivak's Calculus

  1. Aug 29, 2004 #1
    I'm about to buy Michael Spivak's Calculus book sight unseen (no bookstores here have it--will be ordering online) and was hoping someone could clarify it for me.

    When people discuss the rigour of it, will it give proof of common theorems and features of Calculus? Or does it presuppose the reader has a decent (or at least introductory) knowledge of Calculus already and skip over many things like the chain rule, quotient rule, etc?

    I have been introduced to Calculus and want to learn more, but also retrace my steps and learn the "how" not just "plug your numbers in" :)

    Additionally, how strong should your Algebra be for this book?

    Cheers,
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2004 #2
    I would say if you've seen calculus before you may be able to get through Spivak's book, but the problems will still be pretty hard. I thought they were really hard anyway, and I'm in 4th year. There aren't any real easy problems where you just plug numbers in just to get the hang of them; you can either do hard problems or no problems at all.

    Algebra beyond what you do in high school isn't necessary; there aren't any groups, etc in Spivak's book, if that's what you mean.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  4. Nov 11, 2004 #3

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You prove the theorems yourself. That's how hard it is.

    I got myself a copy and I can't get through half the questions. Some of them I have no clue what they are asking for!
     
  5. Nov 11, 2004 #4
    Is there a study guide or a website or anything for the book? You've got me interested.

    Also, is it like an analysis-type book?
     
  6. Nov 11, 2004 #5

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    In the book, it says they should have called the book "An Introduction to Analysis".

    I find it hard to answer all the problems. Especially Chapter 2.

    I only read Chapters 1 to 3 for now. I haven't finished all the problems in Chapter 3 yet, I got like ten more to go. I'll try to finish them on the weekend. I'll be reading chapter 4 soon too. I must admit even questions in Chapter 1 are hard.

    Any advice?
     
  7. Nov 11, 2004 #6

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Also note, I am also reading James E. Stewart with the class and having no problems with that one. I just want a deeper understanding.
     
  8. Nov 12, 2004 #7
    Yep thats what I heard about Michael Spivak's book. Picked up a copy over at the UofT bookstore last month. Unfortunately haven't had much time to work on it because of college work :/

    I must say that after reading the first dozen pages of it vs Tom Apostol's it looks much more accessible to first-time students.
     
  9. Nov 12, 2004 #8

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Reading through it is easy, but answering problems is hard. Sure you can answer the first five, but all 30.
     
  10. Nov 12, 2004 #9
    I never said it was easy--I said it was accessible :wink: Open Tom Apostol's book and you'll know what I mean... :tongue:
     
  11. Nov 12, 2004 #10

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I see what your saying now.

    I feel like an idiot not being able to solve some most of the questions. I'm at Chapter 3 and answered 15 out of the 16 I tried so far. Chapter 1 and 2 on the other hand...
     
  12. Nov 23, 2004 #11

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    when I was a kid, i was the math (algebra) champ of my (small southern) state. my school did not offer calc. i went to harvard on a full merit scholarship and fought to get into a beginning super honors calc course. just to get in, i had to prove the real numbers were uncountably infinite using cantors second diagonal method, based on reading i had done at the library.

    the course was extremely hard, and most of the kids were valedictorians of their high schools. after spivak wrote his book, it beacme the etxtbook for that course.

    eventually harvard dropped the course because so many kids have already had calc in high school.

    so spivak is qwriten for very bright kids who,have never seen calc. in fact it is better in some ways if they have not.

    does this help?
     
  13. Nov 24, 2004 #12

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Um... After working with Spikvak's text for awhile, I think its fine now.

    You truly have to understand what is going on.

    I'm having trouble with the sequences and series, but I learned some new tricks and can now find the sum of any series (that can be written as a polynomial).

    I got a test in one minute later.
     
  14. Nov 24, 2004 #13

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Micheal Spivak's text is challenging for anyone. I've talked to other people who used it and they just dropped their jaw.

    Put it this way. Most of the time you forget the name of the author of a text, but for this one it won't happen. You will be old and dying in your deathbed and at the same time repeating to yourself "Spivak is insane. Spivak is insane. Spivak..."
     
  15. Nov 29, 2004 #14

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    on the contrary. spivak has done a wonderful service to all the students hoping to achieve a mastery of calculus at a level that was impossible for most of us to reach before he wrote his book.

    if it is not your cup of tea, lower your sights and pick another book.
     
  16. Dec 2, 2004 #15
    after reading about this, i think i'm going ot order it online as well, work on it over christmas break. maybe i could even weasel out some independent study credit for it.....
     
  17. Dec 3, 2004 #16

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You won't get very far within two weeks, not to mention by yourself.
     
  18. Dec 3, 2004 #17
    i guess i didn't say what i meant very clearly. work on it over break, see what's up, and then work on it all of next semester, hopefully garnering some indedpendent study credit along the way.

    oh yeah, i found it online only 2 places. amazon, new, for 70, but it won't ship for 3-4 weeks, and alibris, used, 134 bucks. did you spot it cheaper/faster?

    EDIT: found one. it was hidden in amazon. really bizarre. 23 bucks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2004
  19. Dec 4, 2004 #18

    mathwonk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2015 Award

    the reason amazon takes 3-4 weeks to ship is that they are a reseller and have to first buy it from the publisher, who will also galdly sell it direcvtly to you.

    that would be "publish or perish" publishers, located at

    http://www.mathpop.com/mainhtms/bip.htm


    In general, after looking on amazon or barnes and noble, try abebooks.com for used, or the publisher for new copies. often barnes and noble or amazon are reselling a copy to you, after marking it up for no good reason at all from your point of view.

    in this case however, EDIT has found on amazon the cheapest available copy. of course you might want to invest in a new one.


    From the preface of spivak's book:

    Every aspect of this book was influenced by the desire to present calculus not merely as a prelude to but as the first real encounter with mathematics. Since the foundations of analysis provided the arena in which modern modes of mathematical thinking developed, calculus ought to be the place in which to expect, rather than avoid, the strengthening of insight with logic. In addition to developing the students' intuition about the beautiful concepts of analysis, it is surely equally important to persuade them that precision and rigor are neither deterrents to intuition, nor ends in themselves, but the natural medium in which to formulate and think about mathematical questions.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2005 #19

    JFo

    User Avatar

    I would love to get a copy of Spivak's book!... What is the title??
    Is there a specific edition that's better than the others?
    An ISBN # would help too if you happen to have it.
    Thanks much!

    PS
    Same info for Apostol and Courant would also be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2005
  21. Jan 21, 2005 #20

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Calculus - Micheal Spivak

    Note: Go to a second hand bookstore.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Quick question about Michael Spivak's Calculus
  1. Is Michael Spivak Wrong? (Replies: 10)

Loading...