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Calculus the Easy Way 4th Edition

44 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0764129209
ISBN-10: 0764129201
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Downing earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale, and has taught economics at Seattle Pacific University since 1983. Calculus the Easy Way is part of a trilogy with Algebra the Easy Way and Trigonometry the Easy Way, all written be Douglas Downing and available from Barron's.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's; 4th edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764129201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764129209
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J. Umbach on August 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget the bad reviews, those people totally missed the point of this book. It is not meant to be a last minute study guide or answer every question about the hardest Calculus concepts. This is a book meant for those who just don't get it no matter how many times they read the stupid textbook, struggle through homework problems that barely resemble the textbook examples, and have a teacher who can't seem to explain things worth a damn.

This book does work. Yes, it is simplified, but it does a good job of giving you a foundation on which to build upon which you will need before you can tackle the truly hard stuff.

It is even better for those who are more interested in stories than textbooks examples that don't give you any sort of real use to the concepts. By building up in tiny steps the concepts suddenly become less daunting and a sense of fun goes a long way towards learning and understanding the subject.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
My early formal education was in biology and later I attended graduate school for biochemistry. Along the way, I took classical physics, quantum physics and many other classes that required calculus. I was also a teaching fellow at a university and taught high school math, so I feel I can recognize a good text when I see one.

This particular book is unique in that it presents calculus within the context of a story and uses problems that come up in the storyline as teaching devices for important concepts. This makes the book very engaging and shows how calculus can be applied to different types of problems.

I also liked the balance betweeen theory and problem solving. In the past, I have found that some books focus on the theory and tell me more than I wanted to know. Others just threw problems at me without adequately explaining important theoretical concepts. I feel this book balances the two very nicely.

While it is true that this book does not contain a lot of advanced topics or develop theories as much as others, it does teach you the "must know" concepts quickly and gets you to understand how to apply what you learn. I'm glad I knew about it in graduate school, especially when I was studying physical chemistry. If I didn't, I'm sure it would have been a much more painful process.

Lastly, higher mathematics DOES NOT come very naturally to me. This was a helpful tool for someone like me and is likely to be for you if you are at all intimidated by difficult mathematical concepts.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MathFire on September 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
...I had taken two years of calculus about 15 years before I decided I wanted to know again what I had once known. My old calculus text book looked threatening so I went to a local bookstore to see what was available. To my surprise, I found "Calculus The Easy Way" by Downing. It was in story book form, with cartoons, and humor. Unlike many texts, before it explains a mathematical concept, it relates a practical need for it. "Calculus The Easy Way" hits the concepts lightly, while managing to be the most user friendly book on calculus that I have ever seen. However, I did not care for the section on volumes of revolution, or what little was included on related rates. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Outline Series "Calculus" does a much better job in these areas. But I was able to go to the latter due to having read the former. After perusing these two inexpensive paperbacks, hardcover calculus texts no longer appeared ferocious.
In "Calculus The Easy Way," you won't get much depth. I doubt that depth is one of the intended functions of the book. It may better be described as a tool by which to access the subject with the least amount of pain, and the greatest amount of pleasure. It helps you make a beachhead. If you want more, there are other books that will take you inland. As an additional resource, which is packed with examples, including detailed solutions, you might want REA's "Calculus Problem Solvers." Try not to be the captive of any one book because another book may explain a particular concept in a way that speaks more clearly to you. A used bookstore is an affordable source of many different treatments.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bratkowski on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
After my freshmen year of college, I decided to switch majors from English to Biology. Since my Biology major required that I take two basic Calculus classes, I was a little afraid of what I was getting into. I high school I never considered myself very good at math. I admit that I never tried too hard at the subject; I just did as much work to get by, and didn't really worry about understanding the concepts much. I never even got up to Calculus in high school. I did actually learned quite a lot about mathematics from a college algebra course, but the course was somewhat difficult for me, and it was just algebra!
I pick Calculus the Easy Way up in the summer after my freshmen year in order to get some practice of a subject that I knew nothing about. At first I was suprized that a math book was written in the frame work of a fantasy novel, but eventually the idea grew on me. It was interesting that it was possible to "intergrate" a story into lessons in Calculus. The characters and story lines were fun and the explanations about the fundamentals of Calculus were pretty easy to understand, although I have to admit that it would have helped if they had been more straightforward at times. The problems at the end of the chapters helped me quite a bit, but I did agree with other reviewers who believe there could have been more of them.
Overall, I think that Calculus the easy is a good introduction for those unfamilar with calculus. It may not have all of the topics disscussed in more advanced calculus classes, but it has all of the core material and does provide introductions to differential equations and partial differentiation, so it does cover a broad range.
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