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Books on calculus

Christophe Verré

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688

Not quite Meaningless Drivel. I liked Mathematics at school, but I've never been very good at it. There are some subjects that I'd like to study again, especially calculus (limit, differentiation, integration...). There are so many books available... (I don't have access to English books, so I can't check out by myself). If any maths enthusiast could recommend any books on calculus...

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Paul Clapham

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 19973

Apostol volumes 1 and 2 were what we used when I was a math TA (with Tommy himself as the prof). That was a long time ago but I see from my google search that they are still very well-regarded. Although I see Amazon wants $174 for one of the volumes... you may want to look for "Calculus for Dummies" or something along that line.
Mike Simmons
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Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3028
I used Howard Anton's Calculus and Analytic Geometry. Not sure what edition - 2nd perhaps? Can't find cover images online that go back that far. Anyway, whatever was the current edition in 1985. It was very good, and I used it for three semesters, through vector calculus. Looking at Amazon, I suspect the 5th edition is reasonably close to the version I used, and used copies can be found fairly cheap. I'm not sure about what happened to the series after that, as there's apparently been a reform movement in calculus education, and I have no opinion on how beneficial it was, or whether Anton's partial incorporations of this reform were good, or whether they should have been increased or reduced. But I have no problem endorsing pre-reform versions of the book - very clear and very thorough.
Christophe Verré

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688

Calculus for Dummies seems to be what I'm looking for. Apostol's book is way too expensive

Mike, there seems to be many different books published ! I found an disambiguation explanation here:
Anton has many different calculus textbooks: Calculus: A New Horizon, Calculus, then "Early Transcendentals" and "Late Transcendentals" versions of the latter calculus text. Both the Early and late versions come in 1 of 4 versions: Single, Multivariable, Brief, and Combined (Single and Multivariable). In addition, his Linear Algebra and Linear Algebra with Applications texts are treated as the same work. Most of his books come with separate study guides, which are treated as separate works.

I guess I should go for either Early Transcendentals Single Variable, or Late Transcendentals Single Variable, as the multivariable part seems be about pretty advanced stuff. Most people complain that there are only answers for exercises whose number is odd (not even). I think I'll have to stay away from it, but thank you for the recommendation of the older edition.

I started to read a freely downloadable old edition of "Calculus Made Easy, Silvanus P. Thompson" (2nd Ed, 1914 !). It's actually very interesting. I might buy a copy of the latest edition. (funny to see that they replaced "Think of a farthing as compared with a sovereign" by "Think of a hundred dollars compared with a penny" )
marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Consider A Tour of the Calculus by David Berlinski.

This is not a textbook. Instead, it is an conceptual/historical overview of the the big ideas in an accessible format. It is an excellent complement to more rigorous textbooks, which are often lacking on the conceptual side. I read it after getting a BA in mathematics, and some lightbulbs went on.

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Deepak Bala

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662

There are some subjects that I'd like to study again, especially calculus (limit, differentiation, integration...).

Consider A Tour of the Calculus by David Berlinski.

I solved a puzzle recently using differentiation / maxima / minima. Is the 'A Tour of the Calculus' bent on practical applications ? If so I'd like to buy the book. I am looking at improving my knowledge on the same lines Christophe is.

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Christophe Verré

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688

Thanks Marc. This sounds interesting too. I may have a look after I finish "Calculus made Easy". As I said previously, I started reading "Calculus made Easy", and it is exactly the kind of book I'm looking for. Not theorems and formulas thrown at you one after another. The author slowly explains the concepts and principles, then explains how to deduce some formulas, then shows a few examples.
I agree. Here's the link:
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