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Kutta comments on Calculus textbook recommendation? - Less Wrong

3 Post author: Tesseract 29 May 2011 06:20AM

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Comment author: Kutta 29 May 2011 07:30:28AM *  2 points [-]

Could someone give me an opinion on Spivak's Calculus? I picked this book for voluntary study because of the uniformly positive reviews but haven't started plunging into it yet.

Comment author: [deleted] 29 May 2011 01:45:42PM 4 points [-]

Spivak is good and well-loved and even has a sense of humor.

Note that there are two ways to learn calculus: the high-school way, without proofs (Stewart is a good example) and the college-level way, with epsilon-delta proofs (Spivak is this kind.) You should decide what fits your needs best. You don't necessarily need to learn high-school-style calculus first -- my first intro to calculus was Serge Lang's book, which is similar to Spivak but more compressed -- but if you're just getting started computing derivatives it may help to do some physics problems to build intuition.

Comment author: Kutta 29 May 2011 04:39:21PM *  0 points [-]

Thank you!

I think I'll stick to Spivak, then. Technically I've been taught the high-school style calculus twice, once in high-school and once in college, but the former was mediocre and the latter was ridiculously abridged and compressed, and I usually employed the "study one day before exam" strategy. The high-school style calculus would be most likely adequate for me but I think I should try at least once a Rigorous Math Textbook.