Textbook for Calculus [Self-Learn]

  1. I've been entertained recently by the prospect of learning Calculus by myself. I'm living in Toronto, Ontario; 16 years old. I've got a good deal lined up on a textbook already from a guy that goes to York University (have not yet confirmed); it's:

    Course: MATH 1515 - Introduction to Calculus
    Title: Calculus - A First Course
    Authors: Stewart, Davison, Ferroni

    when I became skeptical about what book I should buy. Is this a good book? Are there better ones?

    Keep in mind that I'm not very strong at math, so an idiot-proof Calculus book would be appreciated, something that isn't too dry (I get bored if I'm not interested in what I'm learning), and does not require grasping leaps of concepts (preferably guiding and methodical).

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Well it does sound friendly enough :D Is there anyway that you can possible take a look at the material inside the book?
  4. Important question: Have you mastered high school algebra and possibly trigonometry yet? If you haven't, it is important that you do so before attempting calculus.
  5. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,899
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    hear, hear! harken to what tensorkhan is advising, especially algebra, and even arithmetic.

    it is sad to see students taking calculus who cannot figure out, when x gets large, whether (1/x) gets large or small.

    or who do not know how to factor ( x^2 - a^2), or write the equation of a straight line through two given points, or figure out how -x could be positive (if x is negative).
  6. Pyrrhus

    Pyrrhus 2,205
    Homework Helper

    I had already taken a course in Calculus I, II and III with the Calculus textbook by James Stewart which wasn't very precise with its definitions, and some of the exercices were elemental... If you want to understand Calculus, instead of Calculus as merely a tool, go for Michael Spivak's Calculus book, i believe it's very precise and full of proofs, no more take this as it is... :smile:
  7. While Spivak's book is hands down an amazing textbook, and one that should eventually be consulted for calculus, the OP expressed that he (yes he's a he, even though at first I thought he was biritney spears due to his avatar :smile:) is not very strong in math, so a textbook like Spivak's may be too difficult as an intro.

    I also thought that mathwonk was a cuddily little gerbil (or whatever creature that is), but that also turns out to be false :grumpy:
    Last edited: May 25, 2005
  8. Mathwonk's avitar is not a girble it is obviously pikachu, and you never know maybe it is true.
  9. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,899
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    who says i'm not a gerbil! actually i'm a hobbitt. (the picachu refernce makes it painfully clear there are some movies i have missed lately.)

    ( i don't know how to load a personal avatar, and i thought after perusing the standard choices, that "the punisher" was a little scary, especially given some of the questionable things i have been known to say, inadvertently of course.)
    Last edited: May 25, 2005
  10. i think Thomas and Finney is an excellent book for Calculus .
  11. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,899
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    elliott gootman wrote a nice little 15 dollar paperback guide to accompnay calculus for people who are finding it hard to understrand their text. it does not substitute for a full textbook treatment but helps a lot to understand the material in one.
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