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

The Best Textbooks for Self-Study Thread

  1. Mar 27, 2007 #1
    Hi, I notice that there are many self-study students here on PF so I thought it'd be a good idea to make a quick reference of great books. Please add on as I'm currently only at the precalculus level. These books should assume relatively little to no prerequisite knowledge, explain concepts clearly and concisely and they should have many exercises to work with (and or a few worked out solutions).

    How to Solve it by G.Polya
    How to Read and Do Proofs by Daniel Solow

    Elementary Algebra:
    Algebra Success in 20 Minutes or Less
    Practical Algebra: A Self-Teaching Guide, 2nd Edition by Peter H. Selby
    Elementary Algebra by Harold Jacobs

    Geometry 2/e by Harold Jacobs
    Geometry the Easy Way by Lawrence S. Leff

    Algebra and Trigonometry by Michael Sullivan
    Algebra and Trigonometry, Right Triangle (2nd Edition) Marvin L. Bittinger
    Cliffs QuickReview: Precalculus
    College Algebra by Michael Sullivan
    What Is Mathematics?: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods
    by Richard Courant

    Linear Algebra:
    Linear Algebra Done Right 2/e by Axler

    Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson
    Calculus by Spivak

    Math Software & Apps:
    Maplesoft Maple 11
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2008 #2
    What about Precalculus by Cohen? I'm thinking of purchasing an older edition for self-study.
  4. Feb 8, 2008 #3
    For pre-calc I'd have to say PreCalculus by Blitzer is by far one of the best. Esp. with the CD where a teacher actually works out the problems & not just one or two, but many for each chapter. Just wish they'd make a Calculus text.
  5. Feb 11, 2008 #4
    You pretty much named the books I learned from, emsidis. Geometry by Jacobs was great. However, I'd like to add "Calculus with Analytic Geometry" by Larson/Edwards. It's so much better than the crappy textbook we were using at my college -- though it is also a traditional textbook -- which I couldn't stand. Filled with pictures, examples, calculator problems, conceptual problems, analytical problems, graphical problems.

    Also, there was a series by JE Thompson of the pratt institute called "for the practical man."

    Arithmetic for the Practical Man, Algebra for the Practical man, Geometry for the Practical Man, Trigonometry for the Practical Man, and Calculus for the Practical Man. These assume no prior knowledge of mathematics if you start from the beginning. I didn't read all of them, but they are all good in their own right, are written very well, and have some interesting methods in them. The Second Edition with the dust cover.

    Richard Feynman learned Calculus from the series according to The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.

    Linear Algebra by Georgi E. Shilov

    Linear Algebra by Lang

    Introduction to Partial Differential Equations with Applications by E. C. Zachmanoglou

    How to Prove It
  6. Feb 24, 2008 #5
  7. Apr 4, 2008 #6
    Need help! What's different: instructor versus student version textbook?

    Hi All,

    Any teachers/instructors/professors here? I need advice. I am a professional recently going back to school. Considering PhD studies in Telecommunications, which is a bit rigorous in math. I already decided on a math text that I want to review with on my own. I will probably also get the Schaum review as more of a quick mobile reference.


    My only questions now are:

    Will the instructor version of the textbook help me considerably more?
    Do instructor texts have more or less explanation than student version?
    Any other benefits in the instructor version?

    I already know I will get instructor solutions manual because student solutions only solves half the problems. As for the textbook, I ask because I am self-studying, thus will not have the luxury of asking a professor for help.
  8. Apr 9, 2008 #7
    Would you say that this series is perfect for someone who wishes to improve on their math skills for chemistry and physics use, or would some of the other texts be better for this?
  9. Apr 10, 2008 #8
    Engineering Mathematics

    Engineering Mathematics Through Applications is a good text to work on your own because it has complete solutions online.
  10. May 26, 2008 #9
    Sample chapters and complete solutions to all the problems in Engineering Mathematics through Applications is at the following url:
    http://www.palgrave.com/science/engineering/singh/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  11. May 26, 2008 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Last edited: May 26, 2008
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook