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Introduction to Smooth Manifolds (Graduate Texts in Mathematics) 1st Edition

20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387954486
ISBN-10: 0387954481
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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews: "This book offers a concise, clear, and detailed introduction to analysis on manifolds and elementary differential geometry. … Some of the prerequisites are reviewed in an appendix. For the ambitious reader, lots of exercises and problems are provided." (A. Cap, Monatshefte für Mathematik, Vol. 145 (4), 2005) "The title of this 600 pages book is self-explaining. And in fact the book could have been entitled ‘A smooth introduction to manifolds’. … Also the notations are light and as smooth as possible, which is nice. … The comprehensive theoretical matter is illustrated with many figures, examples, exercises and problems. Some of these exercises are quite deep … ." (Pascal Lambrechts, Bulletin of the Belgian Mathematical Society, Vol. 11 (3), 2004) "It introduces and uses all of the standard tools of smooth manifold theory and offers the proofs of all its fundamental theorems. … This is a clearly and carefully written book in the author’s usual elegant style. The exposition is crisp and contains a lot of pictures and intuitive explanations of how one should think geometrically about some abstract concepts. It could profitably be used by beginning graduate students who want to undertake a deeper study of specialized applications of smooth manifold theory." (Mircea Craioveanu, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1030, 2004) "This text provides an elementary introduction to smooth manifolds which can be understood by junior undergraduates. … There are 157 illustrations, which bring much visualisation, and the volume contains many examples and easy exercises, as well as almost 300 ‘problems’ that are more demanding. The subject index contains more than 2700 items! … The pedagogic mastery, the long-life experience with teaching, and the deep attention to students’ demands make this book a real masterpiece that everyone should have in their library." (EMS Newsletter, June, 2003) "Prof. Lee has written the definitive modern introduction to manifolds. … The material is very well motivated. He writes in a rigorous yet discursive style, full of examples, digressions, important results, and some applications. … The exercises appearing in the text and at the end of the chapters are an excellent mix … . it would make an ideal text for a comprehensive graduate-level course in modern differential geometry, as well as an excellent reference book for the working (applied) mathematician." (Peter J. Oliver, SIAM Review, Vol. 46 (1), 2004)


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Product Details

  • Series: Graduate Texts in Mathematics (Book 218)
  • Paperback: 645 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (September 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387954481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387954486
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,225,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Sean Raleigh on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
The problem with most differential geometry books out there--even the ones labeled as "introductory" or "elementary"--is that they are really not that elementary. Authors often assume that once they've introduced a definition or theorem, the reader surely will have mastered it right away. Then, the concept is quickly used to derive other results while the reader is left in the dust.

Lee avoids this common pitfall by dwelling a bit longer on each new idea, often using several examples to give the reader some much-needed practice and exposure to new concepts. It's easy to be a bit lazy when writing books like this and give very few actual computations: authors tend either to use stock examples which are often trivial, or relegate more interesting computations to the exercises--exercises which are basically impossible to do for the first-time reader since they haven't seen a solid example. Lee is committed to helping the reader work through the computations and then gives exercises that follow right behind and are genuinely doable.

A good example of this is the introduction of tangent vectors and vector fields. All books explain these ideas and give the rules for working with them, but Lee takes several chapters to develop the concepts carefully and show how to work with them. The intrinsic definition of a tangent vector is by no means a self-evident or intuitive concept, but you wouldn't know it from looking at other books.

Lee depends on lot on working in coordinates. This is a GOOD thing for first-time readers. Sure, the coordinate-free formulas are cleaner, but they give the reader absolutely no idea how to use them.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Machine Learning Researcher on August 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a very nice introduction to smooth (differentiable manifolds). Explanations are lucid, the style is consistent, and there is a feeling of a real textbook (not just a collection of results).

However, note that the book assumes quite a bit of previous knowledge. Readers are assumed to be familiar with basic topology (a standard assumption in such books), and with some algebraic topology. As a preparation for this book, I recommend the first several chapters of the author's book "Introduction to Topological Manifolds".

Readers that have this background, or that are willing to learn it elsewhere will benefit from this book greatly. I strongly recommend this book over Boothby and Spivak. It is more advanced and contains more content; in addition, it is also clearer and more pleasant to read.

Several disadvantages:

There are several typos in the book, including some that are not found in the author's errata on his web site. It is not clear what chapters are necessary for understanding later chapters. For example, if you want to skip Lie groups and algebras, will you still understand the chapter on tensors?

The biggest disadvantage is that important material such as curvature and connections is missing. For that material you need to buy the author's earlier book "Riemannian manifolds: an introduction to curvature". I think that at least some treatment should have been included for people who will not get that additional book.

With all this in mind, this is an EXCELLENT book. I have tried several other books on the topic and this is the winner by a big margin.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By concertmaster on November 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have taught from John Lee's book and do not share the enthusiasm of other reviewers. My main objection is that his proofs tend to be stodgy and labored. I usually find it easier and more satisfying to prove the theorems myself rather than read his proofs. Consider, for example, his proof to the inverse function theorem. It is four pages long, but it does not need to be. His writing is rarely concise and the reader has to work too hard to pull the main points out of the myriad of details. Lee resorts to coordinate proofs at every turn, when more elegant coordinate free approaches are possible. It is nice that most students are able to follow his proofs because he leaves out nothing. But they are not always able to see the forest for the trees. Lee omits the proof to Sard's Theorem and the Whitney Extension Theorem, two basic results in this area. Thus he cannot cover degree theory. His discussion of the pushforward of a vector field is awkward. He inappropriately uses pushforward notation for the total derivative linear mapping approximating a smooth mapping near a point. On a positive note, the book is an excellent resource for the study of Lie Groups and Lie Algebras. Milnor's little blue book is one of the most elegant texts in differential topology, but it does not cover as much. Spivak is excellent, as is Hirsch.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paul on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Topics are explained with exceptional clarity; portions of the book are well tied together; and the order of exposition flows very well. Lie groups are introduced quite early on, but their full power is not revealed until later in the book. I can't laud this book enough. I had a firm, well-developed basis of differential geometry after reading through this book for a course. The excersises are illuminating, as are the examples. Theorems and their proofs are clearly labeled. The motivational explanations prefacing theorems do an excellent job of conveying the intuition behind ideas.
I would recommend this book over Boothby any day. I haven't read Spivak, so I can't compare Lee to it, but Lee definitely seemed like an excellent choice for an intro grad class on differential geometry.
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