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A Mathematician's Survival Guide: Graduate School and Early Career Development Paperback – July 29, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0821834558 ISBN-10: 082183455X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: American Mathematical Society (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082183455X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821834558
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Very valuable for the prospective student ... definitely good advice ... definitely recommend to every mathematics department to keep a copy of this book for their undergraduate and graduate students." ---- MAA Online

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Customer Reviews

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Read it for fun and enjoy it!
Physicsmind
Overall the book is really informative and easy too read, almost like a science fiction.
Per Kistler
I highly recommend it to anyone planning a career in a science related to maths.
P. Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Per Kistler on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although the book has been written for prospective graduate
students in mathematics at top universities, I still read it,
to get an idea what such math graduate studies are all about.
And it was quite rewarding, because the author shares all the
information about the educational process, from college to
full professorship, as lucidly as possible. The math scene
described in this book reminds a little of a cult. People
outside the brightest of the brightest, like me, and like
most of humanity, might feel somewhat embarassed. But it was
not written for us. The details of the book are too many
to be represented by examples here, but they cover the whole
range from fincancial aspects, to recommendation letters, to
to whether one should join a mathematical society etc.
A smaller part of the book is even dedicated to mathematics.
It tells first introductorywise then with listings what one
needs to know for the qualifying exams. Overall the book is
really informative and easy too read, almost like a science
fiction. For the intended audience the book seems to be perfect
and for outsiders it's valuable for the insight, as well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jesus Oliver on June 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dr. Krantz's lucid "Survival" guide is rich in advice for the aspiring mathematician who sees a plum job in academia as the ultimate career goal. With section names such as "How do I work my thesis problem?", and "Why does everyone else appear to be succeeding?" Dr. Krantz's chronological account of Math graduate school and the first few years in the work force does an excellent job of providing step-by-step guidance for us future mathematicians. This advice, and the author himself are at their best when talking about prevalent insecurity issues with which all of us mathematicians deal and showing us how such issues are indeed very commonplace and how the solutions are also commonplace and readily available to you.

Now, that being said, it is also important to remember that this is just a rough guide and that not every section in the book should be followed to the letter. More to the point: Dr. Krantz's advice should be used in addition to, not instead of, grad advisors, faculty in your department, and even more senior grad students. Dr. Krantz's advice can be detrimental in some instances and in others, it's just plain wrong. For instance, his advice that a student should NOT study for general and subject GRE's is particularly questionable; in fact I do believe the opposite to be true. GRE tests follow a well-defined set of rules and question formatting; thus, the question themselves have a finite amount of variation to them, and therefore it is precisely in this type of standardized exam MOST students will benefit from reviewing old material and going through numerous practice tests before taking the real thing.

Overall, this is a very good book, full of wisdom and it is, alas, even entertaining at times. If you're considering a career as a mathematician, you would be doing yourself a favor by buying this book and reading it with an epsilon amount of caution.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Robinson on July 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a graduate student in computer science, working on my PhD. If you're looking for a sort of rulebook that contains all the meta-knowledge one needs to know to survive in the scientific game, this is it.
The book includes helpful information to questions you probably wouldn't dare to ask anyone:
"How do i choose a thesis advisor?",
"What if I can't solve my thesis problem?",
"Am I in competition with the other graduate students?",
"What kind of money can I make as a professor?"
There's also lots of information about life after graduation, especially relevant for those of us who want to pursue an academic career.

The book is written in an easy to follow style, and gets straight to the point. You really feel that the author knows what he's talking about.
I highly recommend it to anyone planning a career in a science related to maths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BM23 on June 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I graduated a couple years ago with BS in Mathematics and was trying to decide if I should return for my PhD. This book was extremely helpful. It presents a very thorough overview of the PhD process with helpful information regarding thesis advisors (both selecting and working with) and thesis preparation. Material is easy to read (conversational tone) and very specific. Definitely recommend this to anyone considering a graduate program in mathematics.

Also gives extensive information regarding the application of a PhD in academia- such as types of jobs (tenure track, post-doc fellow, etc.), types of colleges and the workload (and pay) to be expected at those colleges.

End of text is an overview of mathematics topics important to the post-bachelors, pre-grad student.

It does not spend time explaining all the different areas of mathematics, so that part you'll need to figure out for yourself. Reading this book will get you excited to talk to your professors about a doctorate program. Good luck!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Nash on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this to my son who is a high school junior planning to major in mathematics in college. He thought it was great because it looks beyond just getting into college and taking a bunch of math classes. What does a math major do next? Do you have to teach? What do professors and TA's really do? What does it take to get into grad school and is it worth it? I would recommend this book to anyone contemplating any type of career involving higher level mathematics.
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