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Topology textbook advice

  1. Aug 5, 2010 #1
    So, the list of required texts for my fall courses came out today and I found that my topology course is requiring this piece of crap: https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Topolo...sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281026932&sr=8-1". Normally I'm not scared away by bad reviews, but in this case I can't help thinking that the instructor is making a terrible mistake, since Munkres or Willard are pretty much the be-all-end-all of point-set topology books.

    So, I'm looking for advice. I am thinking about either buying Munkres or Willard and then just photocopying possible homework sets from a friend/library. Does anyone have any input? Will material coverage be generally similar enough that I'll be able to do that? Should I email the prof and ask him what the heck he's thinking (just kidding, although I really do wonder...)?

    EDIT: Additionally, is it much more difficult following a different text than a class uses? This is the first class I'm considering using a different book for

    Thanks for any help,
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2010 #2
    Munkres is a solid book you can't go wrong with, it will cover all your basic material. What makes you think your class' textbook is useless?
  4. Aug 5, 2010 #3
    One of my topology courses taught a few sections out of armstrong. It is a very dense textbook and can be hard to follow at times as Armstrong likes to bury his theorems and definitions. As far as an introductory course on topology I would definitely recommend Munkres over Armstrong, but once you have a background Armstrong is okay too.

    If you think that Armstrong is bad you should check out Goodman's Beginning Topology. Worst introductory topology book ever.
  5. Aug 5, 2010 #4
    Willard's book is very good and it is cheap. I don't know anything about Munkres but his book is probably the most popular topology book; it is however ridiculously expensive, even used, as is the case with many popular textbooks. I don't see the point in getting three general topology books unless you're quite certain you want to go into a field that uses a lot of point-set topology.

    If Armstrong's book is the required text then you must get it. It seems you can get it used for a reasonable price. Don't bother e-mailing the prof. You're only a student who hasn't even taken the course yet so he won't much care for what you have to say. Maybe wait for the course evaluation that comes at the end if you still think the book sucks, it may grow on you instead.
    Don't worry about the material the books cover, they will all cover the necessary basics (as long as you get an undergrad book).
  6. Aug 5, 2010 #5
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll probably just buy armstrong and willard both. They are both pretty cheap and I believe willard is supposed to be more advanced.
  7. Aug 5, 2010 #6
    willard's book is more advanced & a lot of the problems are highly non-trivial. don't feel bad if you don't solve all of them on your first go. it's worth getting just for the notes & bibliography in the back though.
  8. Aug 8, 2010 #7
    It can be. If your teacher actually follows the book closely then you may want to still concentrate on using Armstrong as your main text and use other texts when you need clarification or better exposition. One thing that helps if you do end up using different books is to choose one set of notation to work with, hopefully one that you're naturally inclined towards. This will save you some time if you for instance decide to take down the better or best proof of a particular theorem from the books you're using.
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