Kalman uses basic growth models...not only to convey the power of mathematics in solving real-world problems, but also to motivate the study of the elementary functions usually encountered in college algebra courses. There is a natural evolution from a simple hypotheses to difference equations, to their solutions, to the study of the elementary functions associated with the solutions. There is an emphasis on the "why" of algebra and on manipulation associated with applications rather than for its own sake.
Numerical, graphical, and symbolic approaches are used throughout, and the numerous exercises include reading comprehension exercises and group selected exercises...Aimed at students at the college algebra or liberals arts mathematics level, the slow careful development should be clear even to those with a weak algebraic background. Highly recommended. Choice An innovative alternative to introductory college mathematics intended for any student not headed for calcu! lus. Uses discrete and continuous models of growth to introduce increasingly sophisticated algebraic patterns...An effective blend of narrative, motivation, calculation, and graphical representation that introduces algebraic thinking with a minimum of algebraic formalisms. The American Mathematical Monthly The book is well balanced and succeeds in introducing the use of discrete models to students who might view a mathematics class with a weary eye...the author does a superb job of addressing a difficult audience. This is especially true of the problem sets. An excellent mix of reading, simple/short answer, and word problems of varying difficulties are given.
Furthermore, complete answers to some of the problems are given in the same chapter, rather than in an appendix. Kelly Black, University of New Hampshire This book can be described as the protocol of the ultimate (and apparently successful) teaching experiment, namely to lead students with hardly any mathematical back! ground at all, to a respectable level in the fundamentals of mathematics in such a way, that they will always have positive thoughts about it. ...The expert reader may use this book as a rich source of growth problems. Springer-Verlag, Zentallblatt fr Mathematik I found the book a refreshing alternative to college-algebra textbooks and would recommend it to instructors who are seeking changes. -- The Mathematics Teacher
The language of mathematics has proven over centuries of application to be an indispensable tool for the expression and analysis of real problems. Here Kalman explains for an audience of non-mathematicians the relevance of mathematical models to phenomena ranging from population growth and economics to medicine and the physical sciences.