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Understanding Calculus - books?

  1. Jul 15, 2005 #1
    Understanding Calculus -- books?

    I know how to work highschool level calculus and such, but I don't feel like I have a very intuitive understanding of it. Can anyone suggest any books that maybe go through the history and explain it in an intuitive manner?
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  3. Jul 15, 2005 #2
    STEWART...i believe its the standard for cdn universitys.
  4. Jul 15, 2005 #3


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    Stew is the man. Though I never looked at the much praised Courant.
  5. Jul 15, 2005 #4
    Thanks. I assume you are talking about James Stewart's Calculus? On Amazon I see he has a few other texts on calculus, including Calculus: Concepts and Contexts. Do you know which one you're talking about?
  6. Jul 15, 2005 #5
    Calculus: Early Transcendentals i believe thats the names...or intro to calc...my edition has a integral sign..and black/blue the next edition i think was a bit greenish...
  7. Jul 17, 2005 #6
    Thomas' Calculus.
  8. Jul 17, 2005 #7


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    I was talking about concepts & context.
  9. Jul 17, 2005 #8


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    stewart is a good regular calculus book, and courant is an honors level book. i recommend as old an edition of stewart as you can find, say 2nd if possible, as they are "dumbed down" in every succeeding edition.
  10. Jul 17, 2005 #9
    I have 2nd edition and its great! (concepts and contexts) Although I hear some recomend spivak, eh mathwonk :-p
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2005
  11. Jul 17, 2005 #10


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    again, spivak is on another level above stewart, a no nonsense honors calculus book.

    honors books: spivak, apostol, courant, kitchen.

    ordinary good books: stewart, edwards penney, cooke - finney - thomas, thomas,... lots of others.

    then there are inferior ordinary books, whose name is legion....

    then there are unpretentious good books with limited objectives: silvanus p. thompson, elliot gootman,...
  12. Jul 17, 2005 #11
    But none with such pretty pictures of the guggenheim as stewart :-p
  13. Jul 17, 2005 #12
    calculus: a physical & intuitive approach by morris kline
  14. Jul 17, 2005 #13


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    I stick by my opinion that if you're gonna use an intuitive book, use it simultaneously witha rigorous one. Like spivak, apostol, courant, kitchen, according to wonk.

    I gotta check out that Spivak book that everyone's talking about as being great.
  15. Jul 30, 2005 #14
    Is it a good first calculus book?
  16. Jul 30, 2005 #15
    the spivak text is the most hardcore of any of all the calculus texts i think. if you're not very prepared I would say it isn't a great first book.
  17. Jul 30, 2005 #16


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    I think Spivak is a great start for those aiming for a math degree more challenging than your standard major (specialist, honors, whatever you want to call it), though a very motivated math major might do well with it. I'd be wary of unleashing Spivak on your average begining calculus student though. It would still be fine supplement for the less dense texts.
  18. Jul 31, 2005 #17
    but why the first editions of books are better than the latest ones?
    arent the latest editions more updated than the ones from the past century?
    im asking specifically about courant's and fritz's classic series which have in the past 5-7 years got its reedition at springer publishing company.
  19. Jul 31, 2005 #18
    by "it" I meant Stewert's Concepts and Contexts... didn't realize I had quoted a sentence with both books named. :smile:

    So to clarify: Is stewert's book a nice intro textbook?

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2005
  20. Aug 11, 2005 #19
    mathwonk, youre not replying because......?
  21. Aug 11, 2005 #20


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    There is nothing to update. What is in the older books is correct. Some topics might go in or out of fashion. The earlier editions were written with a clear purpose. Newer editions often are not. Often newer books will cite previous editions of themselves something like "I made this hard to understand so I could save ten pages for silly stuff I wanted to add see last edition for clear explanation". If the first edition was quite good tinkering is almost sure to make things worse. Lets play new book old book.

    New book:has computer and calculator use tips
    Old book:has sliderule use tips or only refers to hand calculations
    Nb: Lacks important results
    ob:Has a few results of limited use nowdays
    nb:Is obscure and bloated
    ob:has clear and concise style
    nb:Has many trivial problems (now w/ 10000 exercises!!!)
    ob:has helpful problems
    nb:uses 8000 pages when 500 would do
    ob:uses 800 pages when 800 would do
    nb:has pretty pictures
    ob:uses figures as needed
    nb:$200 brand new
    ob:$5 used
    nb:assumes reader is moron (is often right)
    ob:assumes reader is not moron (is often right)
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