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Which book to study with? Suggestions!

  1. Jan 15, 2008 #1
    Which book to study with?? Suggestions!

    HI all,

    I just started my lectures today, i took calculus I, but the book which the professor has chosen to work through out the semester is Calculus by James Stewart. I checked the school library and there seem to be tons of books under calculus name, among them is also Calculus by Michael Spivak, Courant books, Apostol etc. SO what would you suggest, just to stick to the book that the professor has chosen to work with; should i ignore this book totally and work with Spivak, or maybe just simultanously work with Stewart and Spivak also?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thnx in return.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2008 #2
    I suppose you are still in elementary calculus. The books that you suggested are very good book and they are more aimed to theory. To archive good marks in elementary calculus you dont need to study spivak and others. However if you want to be a good maths major, they are the classic book to read and study
  4. Jan 15, 2008 #3


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    Maybe you can take some from the library and try to read a section about the same subject in all books. If you decide that one of them is really more appealing to you than the one the professor uses, you might want to buy it for yourself.

    In principle, students are supposed to follow the book they like best, and put some effort in finding such a book. In my experience however, most students just use the primary book or course notes, as it's both cheaper to buy one instead of two, and more convenient to use the same book as the professor uses.
  5. Jan 15, 2008 #4
    Well, about buying the book it will not be a problem i think, not that i can find and buy it, but i am planning to study most of the time at the Library, so that's where the book is indeed. I really love theoretical math, where there are a lot of proofs to everything that is presented, because i do not really like just creating an intuitive view to the problems that are presented. Today i started reading Spivak, it is a book published in 1967, i did not see any other editions in the library and there are no books of him at all at the book store here in the university. I liked very much what i read of spivak, although it was jus a few pages at the very begining, sth about numbers and their elementary properties. The other books i haven't actually lookt upon, but i will defenitely do so, because my main purporse is to really study math and not just to pass the exam, because i love math and that's why i would like to read about math as much as possible and not just ber ristricted to what the professor lectures. To be honest, i really do not like at all this book of Stewart, it is not rigorous at all, it is jus an intuitive aproach to most of the probolems, it almost does not include any proofs, or theorems to be proven at all. I think i am gonna use this book just as a means of keeping track what professor is lecturing and get delve in the topics using other books.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  6. Jan 15, 2008 #5
    I love Spivak's book, and it will probably follow along with a course based around Stewart's book fairly well compared with Apostol (I am not as familiar with Courant but own both of the others), however, I really enjoyed the style of the bits of Apostol which I have read, and in reality you can't go wrong reading any of the three books so pick the one you like the best.
  7. Jan 15, 2008 #6
    Last semester I took calculus 1 and i also had the stewart book. I did not like it at all for the same reasons. Try The Calculus Lifesaver by Adrian Banner. Really Really Really good book, I loved it and I will probably still use it in calc 2 as a reference
  8. Jan 16, 2008 #7


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    spivak is a book on analysis. you will probably take a course on analysis later, and it will be a good book to use then. i think for the course you are doing now, the book "introduction to calculus and analysis" by richard courant will be better. since you say you like rigor, this book is especially suited since it gives you both intuition and rigor and has a lot of material about how calculus is actually used in practice, i.e applications to physics and geometry. spivak doesnt have anything about applications (and rightly, since it is a book on the rigorous foundations of calculus, i.e analysis).
  9. Jan 17, 2008 #8
    This is a fantastic companion to any calculus text!
  10. Jan 17, 2008 #9
    well, thank you guys for your advices, i really appreciate it.
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