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First Course in Probability, A (7th Edition) Hardcover – May 28, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0131856622 ISBN-10: 0131856626 Edition: 7th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 7 edition (May 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131856626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131856622
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This book in short assumes too much, and should take the time to do more explanation rather than calculation.
Shayaa Muhammad
The book requires a good foundation and background in calculus, so it may be an appropriate textbook for senior undergraduates or early graduate students.
C. Po
There is an excessive amount of example problems and the way the textbook solves the problems is highly confusing.
Macbook owner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Rutledge on June 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book is a bit of a misnomer. A more apt title would have been "First Graduate Course in Probability" or "A Second Course in Probability". The book description describes this as an introduction for students with an understanding of only elementary calculus. However, I believe that very few people with a background in only elemetary Calculus are going to be able to follow this text which presupposes facility with proof techniques like mathematical induction and a moderate level of mathematical maturity. Ross does not do any hand holding. Proofs are short and to the point, explanations are terse and compact, "obvious" steps are skipped and left to the reader to fill in. So if you are not prepared to follow terse mathematical explanations that are short on cursory explanation, then this may not be the book for you.

For math majors and other students with a strong mathematics background, however, this may serve as a useful reference. It is concise, elegant and chock full of example problems with solutions. But it all depends on what you are ready for. Some may find the excessive number of example problems distasteful and prefer a less cluttered treatment. Others may find that, despite the examples, the book is not "applied" enough. In my opinion, this book is not suitable as a first course in probability for anyone but mathematics majors. You will get the most out of this book if you are already familiar with the subject, or if you have a talented teacher to fill in the numerous gaps. For actuarial students and engineers, you may want to look for a more expository volume like "Introduction to Probability" by Bertsekas.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Schwartz on October 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to its title, this book has helped me through several probability courses. I used this book not only to study for the first actuary exam, but also as a supplement for my intermediate and doctoral-level probability/inference courses. Ross fills in gaps left by texts such as Rice, Cassella and Berger, etc., by spelling out properties of various distributions, and showing how they relate to eachother, and by doing many many examples.

Incidentally, save yourself the money and get an earlier edition. I have the fifth edition, which was not even the current edition at the time that I bought it, and it's perfect as is.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Alexander C. Zorach on January 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This was a textbook for a probability course that I took, and I did not find it very useful at all. The book is incredibly thick and large, but there is relatively little information in it. The extra bulk is not due to explanatory prose, discussion, or optional topics, but rather, an abundance of examples, some of which are good, but some of which are inappropriate and/or poorly carried out. In particular, I find that the order in which the examples are presented is not optimal, and the amount of examples on a given topic is not optimal either. There also needs to be much more discussion, instead of just going over specific problems.

Overall, the book is unreadable, even though it's at an elementary level.

The only redeeming quality of this book is that its exercises are fairly challenging, interesting, and there is a "self-test" section at the end of each chapter which provides fairly good explanations of how to carry out the problems.

My last criticism of this book is that it's clear that the publisher is trying to milk this for as much money as its worth--by the 7th edition, the book should be very refined, and honestly, looking at previous editions I see absolutely no improvement. I honestly question any book that goes beyond 3 or 4 editions...I think it's a money-making scam and you shouldn't waste your time with it when there are so many good texts on probability out there.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JohnDoe on October 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've only read the first four chapters of this book so far, but overall, I am enjoying the book. In order to give a sense of how difficult the book is (or perhaps how slow I am in picking up the material) - it sometimes takes me a full hour just to read 3 pages. Furthermore, sometimes, I have had to put the book down and reread the pages another day to be able to comprehend the material. This is with a goal of really trying to understand each page. My math background includes classes in Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Introductory Differential Equations. Each chapter has three sets of problems: chapter problems, theoretical problems, and self-test problems. The self-test problems have concise solutions that also can take a some time to understand. There are also a few typos here and there - not that many though. I would recommend this book only to those who are highly disciplined and persistent with studying math. I would also recommend finding a person knowledged in Probability for questions you'll definitely have. For me, I've had to also do a lot of the problems to really understand the material. Lastly, this book has been my first introduction to probability.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm on June 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I used this book 18 years ago in an "introductory" probability course for advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate applied mathematics students. The course didn't assume any previous knowledge of probability, but it did require a background in multivariate calculus, and for this type of course this text is appropriate. Despite the plethora of examples that it provides, this would be a terrible introductory text for freshmen or sophomores, especially those who (intend to) major in the social sciences, as it really is focused on developing the theory behind the subject.

As I recall, the first 2 chapters treated combinatorics, in a frustratingly intuitive fashion, in the sense that it seemed the only way to do the problems was to try to copy examples given in the text. There were also some confusing paradox-type problems, where it seems as if more than one answer is possible depending on one's perspective, and for these the text did not provide much guidance.

Once beyond these early chapters, the book became much more analytic, essentially becoming an exercise in multiple integration, which I, as a math major, found to be much easier, but many other readers (such as other reviewers here) would probably feel the opposite. Still, I recall spending a disproportionate amount of time that semester on this course, essentially because of the difficulty of the text, and in particular, I recall many tedious problems that revolved around summing infinite series, which can be daunting until one develops the necessary bag of tricks. Still, I think the book did do a good job of explaining the theory of probability, even if this was not much use in solving exercises.

While I have rated this as 4 stars, I can understand how those who don't share my enthusiasm for challenging texts would rate it lower.
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