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on September 9, 2010
In the days of the elves and dwarves, one book was fashioned from the fires of an ancient volcano by an evil wizard.
Or that's what this book appears to be whenever I have consulted it for any help in my studies.

I don't know who is responsible for picking the books for classes, but whoever picked this book for a calculus class deserves more than a slow death. This book focuses more on writing proofs for problems than -any- remotely useful concepts in solving equations.
It's one thing when you're teaching a man to fish, it's another thing when you're teaching a man how to talk about how to fish.
One way gets you fish, the other way makes you starve to death.

I cannot say anything positive about this book at all. Every piece of this unholy tome is utterly useless. If you must get it for a class, get it for the problems, and find a more respectable book to learn from.

On a side note, I was even more irritated that Amazon had the audacity to make me give it a star in the first place.
I would have easily given it no stars.
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on September 18, 2010
Faculty please note: the Kindle edition has typographical problems. Some characters appear to be dropped. Also, unknowns are never emphasized (italicized) and very often - especially with $t$ for some reason - they are run into the succeeding word. Most of this can be worked out fine by a reader who is comfortable with the material - but isn't the primary audience for a textbook students who by definition are NOT comfortable with the material? All in all, it's a appalling job of converting a text book that costs over $90 to download (and so won't cut into their profit margin with resales). I will have to think twice about buying a Kindle book from Wiley again. About the book itself, as content, I have no complaints, so this bad review rests squarely on the production staff. Oh, and by the way, Wiley: if Amazon can take a book off my Kindle, you can get them to update it with a fixed version. Do it, and I'll happily pull this review.
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on September 5, 2011
Usually in math classes, I am able to easily read a book and understand what the book is saying and can easily follow the steps that it outlines.

Also, you are used to having example problems given to you before you do the questions at the end of the lesson in the book.

This book, however, fails in both categories. For example, it will say "because this (step 1) is so and so, then that means (step 4) will be this" without giving you any idea of what steps 2 and 3 are. The book assumes that you already know it.

My biggest problem with this book is that what it teaches you is not what the problems are about.

For example, the questions in chapter 1 will say "Write the equation for a line that passes through the point (x,y)". The problem, however, is that you are not given any examples before these questions as to how to do them. Instead, the corresponding chapter 1 is busy talking about graphing functions and exponential families instead of teaching you how to do these problems.
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on August 26, 2011
Like many others here, I had a largely negative response to learning (or trying to learn) calculus from this book. Because I try at all times to be a nice guy, though, I've often put this down to my own lack of aptitude, or laziness, or some other personal fault. I know how difficult books are to make & am perhaps less willing than some to just say "well, it's a bad book."

Anyone interested in the teaching principles behind this book would do well to Google the term "math wars" and read up on it. The Hughes-Hallett book is definitely a product of the "reform calculus" movement. By saying so I am not making a value judgment: this is simply the case. The approach seems to not work well for me. For some people, it works fine (as evidenced by the reviews here that dissent and say, essentially "well, it worked okay for me."). And there it is.

I have encountered other calculus texts since using this one, and can say that, in the end, the writing in Hughes-Hallett seems murky and not all that it could be. I have found much clearer explanations of calculus concepts in books by Howard Anton and George B. Thomas. If I wanted to be mean or paranoid-ish I would opine that the "reform calculus" emphasis on self-discovery has resulted in a book where the explication is obscure on purpose (e.g. "we won't explain it clearly -- you have to discover the clear explanation for yourself"), but I'm sure that isn't really the case.

It does appear to have been written by a committee, however, and the tone is characteristically personality-free. That doesn't help matters. When I read a calculus book by Thomas, for example, or the How to Ace Calculus books, the authors' obvious love of the subject makes a difference ... to me.
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on January 18, 2010
I don't know what branch of math education thought this book was compiled with, but leaving the student helpless is definitely part of it. The book throws a couple of very easy examples that are not mirrored in the actual exercises. What does not help is arguably in some cases there is too much focus on proof and really no examples on how to approach a proof based question. If your professor (or math department) requires it, consider getting yourself as a supplement an older version of Larson's calculus.

I will admit, that if your professor covers the sections better than the book, the wide variety of problems will be an asset. But that's only if your professor provides a wide variety of examples, or mathematics comes naturally to you.
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on August 2, 2006
This book does not provide enough examples, and the few they do give are nothing like the work problems. Every teacher I've had has said if they were not required to use it, they would use a different book. And on top of that, it is ridiculously expensive! I have finally been forced to get another text book, and it is much better (and cheaper). Do not get this book if you have a choice.
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on January 25, 2012
I had to buy this book for my calculus 2 course. Despite the reviews, I thought I would make the best of the book. I really tried.
I love calculus, and I have never wanted to burn a book until I came across this overpriced piece of garbage.

As an edit: I got an A in my Calculus II Class, thanks ONLY to Paul's online calculus notes and Wolfram-alpha. Sadly, I have to use this book for calc III.... After that I will burn it.

For the techies: While I am not condoning this, I thought I would mention that someone has uploaded the 5th edition to the torrent sites.
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on May 23, 2010
I have to agree with most of the 1 star reviews. This book focuses too much on proof, and has very simple problems solved for you. The homework is very diverse and their methods and logic need to solve them are not covered in its section.

I believe it does the student a great disservice to not use some kind of example that is similar to all (if not most) of the problems given. For example, the logic behind related rates problems are confusingly explained and some HW problems throw in problems with constants ( like "k" and they must be considered for the problem to be solved). A student new to calculus (which is always the case, duh) who has not taken physics or maybe advanced chemistry would not be familiar with some ideas which are considered in most problems.

There are a handful of sections which show how to solve a problem, like the quotient rule, and then show its proof (interesting and debatable if its necessary) and then quickly launches into HW.

I believe this book is good for its diverse HW problems, but any student who is required to have this textbook must have an excellent instructor who ensures understanding or a supplemental calc book (like the calculus lifesaver or similar).
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on February 15, 2012
I don't usually write reviews, but I feel the need to soothe others who are struggling through Calculus using this useless, overpriced book. If you are having a hard time, it's not because you are dumb - you probably have this horrid textbook coupled with an ineffective teacher like I do! All I can say is get a supplement book or two (which sucks when you have to drop so much money on this stupid book for your class), but it's worth it if you want to get through Calculus and end up with some understanding as to what the heck you just learned and how you can apply it. This book will NOT teach you that - I have even found answers in the back of the book to odd numbered questions that were so simplified and bizarre as to the logic of how they got that answer that our university math tutors couldn't even figure out the train of thought. Book sucks but there is hope...with other books and good teachers!
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on January 21, 2007
This book is terrible. I used it for both calc 1 and 2. The University of Connecticut used this book for 3 semesters and than decided it was junk. Most of the math department hated the book and for the spring 07 semester they switched to the James Stewart book which is used for multivariable.

The problems are very hard and often the chapter does not show how to solve or give you strageties to solve them, the book does nothing well and is just an expensive paper back book with a horrible solution manual.
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