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SatvikBeri comments on The Best Textbooks on Every Subject - Less Wrong

167 Post author: lukeprog 16 January 2011 08:30AM

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Comment author: SatvikBeri 13 August 2013 07:41:42PM 4 points [-]

Subject: Introductory Real (Mathematical) Analysis:

Recommendation: Real Mathematical Analysis by Charles Pugh

The three introductory Analysis books I've read cover-to-cover are Lang's, Pugh's, and Rudin's.

What makes Pugh's book stand out is simply that he focuses on building up repeatedly useful machinery and concepts-a broad set of theorems that are clearly motivated and widely applicable to a lot of problems. Pugh's book is also chock-full of examples, which make understanding the material much faster. And finally, Pugh's book has a very large number of exercises of varying difficulty-Pugh has more than 500 exercises total.

In contrast, Rudin's book tends to focus on "magic." Rudin uses the shortest possible proofs for a given theorem. The problem is that the shortest proofs aren't necessarily the most instructive-while Baby Rudin is a beautiful work of Math qua Math, it's not a particularly good book to learn from.

Finally, Lang's book is frankly subpar. Lang leaves out critical details of some proofs (dismissing one 6 page proof as trivial!), is poorly motivated by examples, and has a number of mistakes.

If you want to really understand Mathematical Analysis and get to the point where you can use the concepts to create proofs and solve problems, Pugh is the best book on the topic. If you want a concise summary of undergraduate analysis to review, pick Rudin's book.

Comment author: lukeprog 30 October 2014 07:54:48PM 1 point [-]

Thanks! Added.

Comment author: richard_reitz 19 March 2015 10:31:18PM *  2 points [-]

"Baby Rudin" refers to "Principles of Mathematical Analysis", not "Real and Complex Analysis" (as was currently listed up top.) (Source)

Comment author: lukeprog 19 March 2015 11:08:36PM 1 point [-]

Fixed, thanks!