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70 of 82 people found the following review helpful
There is a mind-numbing sameness to precalculus and calculus textbooks, and this book is more of the same. The coverage starts with real numbers, exponents, expressions and solving equations. The basic principles of functions, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, solving systems of equations, sequences, series, counting and probability, analytic geometry and limits follow this. I personally can do without the chapter on limits, when I teach precalculus, I am hard pressed to cover the other material. There is plenty of time to cover limits in calculus and it provides a better context. There are a large number of exercises at the end of each section and solutions to the odd-numbered ones are included in an appendix. As appears to be the case with many books, some of the exercises could have been left out with no decline in quality. At times I suspect there is the mathematical equivalent of an "arms race" to see how many exercises can be included at the end of a chapter.

The previous paragraph could be used to describe nearly every precalculus text on the planet, so it fits into the category of obvious, but necessary. Therefore, the key point is what makes this book different from the competition. The answer is not much. The approach is the standard statement of the new material followed by a series of worked examples, which is also the fundamental strategy used in all lower level math books. Short biographical asides of some of the major historical figures in mathematics are interjected on a regular basis. I like that, but wonder how often the students read them. What is different about this book is that the quality of the writing is somewhat better than most. In a field where there is very little to differentiate the texts, that is enough to make me rank this book in the top two precalculus books that are available.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2010
I'm in my 60's and have not studied math in school for over 40 years. This was my first math book for college since the 60's. I found it easy to read, clear, and too the point. I was able to understand it. That says a lot. Math has always been hard for me, so this book is well done if I can learn from it.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2012
While I am not an expert in mathematics, I usually do not have a difficult time figuring out problems based on the textbook alone. The explanations in this work read rather muddily; the structure of the content can be confusing; the examples seem insufficient towards applying the concepts learned. There were quite a few times where the problems given did not honestly reflect the explanatory material of the chapter. Some of the answers provided in the back seem to be incorrect given the explanations. Considering the cost of the text, the quality of presentation falls short of the money spent. I would strongly recommend against the use of this textbook as either a collection of exercises for classroom use or a method for self-study. Hopefully the publisher will work towards creating a stronger, friendlier text for the next edition.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2008
I thought at first maybe I had the wrong edition or something, but no... fifth edition it is. Some chapters the answers don't match up with the questions in the book i.e. it will say #107 when it's really the answer to #95, #109 is #97 etc. Some of the chapter test answers are just the wrong problem (some have slight mistakes, like copied down wrong. Others are just a completely different problem). I really expect more than this. I'm going down to the bookstore tomorrow to see if it's just my copy (as none of the other reviewers here seemed to notice). Otherwise I'm contacting the publisher.

On the bright side, the problems which ARE correct have been tremendously helpful. Just as an answer guide should. The only reason it's earned two stars.

I should really give it one, because after all... this IS MATH and accuracy is of utmost importance!!!
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2012
this is by FAR the worst math text i have ever had the misfortune of being forced to use (university of new mexico). there is absolutely no explanation of principals in terms that even come close to being understandable. the only examples available for review are the most basic explanations possible and shed no light AT ALL on how to solve more elaborate problems. of course the author would make the argument that the user of this text is supposed to know the basics of the principals in the book, to which I would say, the purpose of a book is to LEARN, whether i should or shouldnt already know something is not the point. get used to seeing "heres a problem" and "heres the answer" with no explanation on how to get there. useless.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
This book is one of the worst math text that I have had the pleasure of using. The explanations are poor and I have to google the material for better examples and explanations. If it was the last available reference in a post apocalyptic earth it would work, but not effectively. With so many other quality texts on amazon choose another for one independent study. However, if you need it for class buy it, scan the HW problems, and send it back then promptly purchase another book.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
I'd say it's a rather interesting book, especially concerning the set of problems at the end of each chapter. Covers basics of linear algebra and preparation for calculus, with reasonable amount of problems and examples. Clear prose. Warns about mistakes to avoid.
Brief biographies of prominent mathematicians are introduced in the margin sometimes. Occasionally refers to external sources that you may find interesting.
I'm giving it 5 stars because this book is rather non-traditional. The authors undoubtedly wanted to introduce it as an interesting subject and does cover needed preparatory material for calculus.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 1999
The book is easy to read and interesting. I am able to teach high school students out of this book, but it has enough depth to still be useful to a first year university student. It has good write-ups on the predominant mathematicians. It's the best pre-calc book I've come across.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
I wish I could give this 0 stars. The first problem is the insane price, well over double what the average textbook at my school costs. Luckily you can get the access code only for only $75, but even that is still way too expensive for this piece of crap.

It literally teaches NOTHING. You'll do better with youtube or random math websites online. I'm serious. There is absolutely not one instance of a homework problem where this book helped me at all, not one. It is literally that useless. I had to redo a pre-algebra course because I just couldn't learn ANYTHING from this text. I guess it was my fault for not figuring out to use youtube, patrickJMT, and other sources online. But before you say it was my fault, well over a third of the class failed, maybe even half. The only people who passed were the ones who already knew precalculus but just did badly on the SAT's for whatever reason. As someone who didn't have the luck of going to a well-funded high school that bothers to teach its students precalculus, I can easily say that pre-calculus has been the most infuriating, aggravating, confusing, hopelessly difficult, and pointless course of study in my life. And it was all made possible with the help of this text.

If you are a teacher and you are being told you should use this book, please try to appeal the decision of your school board or whoever's in charge of assigning books. Your students will do badly if given this book, unless they already know the material to begin with. But in that case, they wouldn't need a book anyway.

This book has deeply solidified my hate in all things math-related.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2014
I sometimes pictured a group of people sitting around a table writing this book and suddenly one of them says "OHH OHH, I got one! Let's stick THIS trick question in there!" You get the feeling a lot of passive aggressive thought went into the writing of this book. Here's a summary simple example of how this book is written.

How to solve square roots: √4 = 2 * 2 thus the √4 = 2

Now you try it! √-1

This approach makes it difficult to build any type of understanding for the basics when every question is at the extreme end of possibilities. I could understand if question 10 of 10 was extreme, but not the first questions in each sections. Additionally, this book uses completely non-standard labels for things which makes it even more confusing. Here's a made up example of how this can be confusing:

Pythagorean theorem: a^2 = c^2 + b^2

All in all, I found myself using this book only for the topics, then going elsewhere to actually learn about it and find examples. I found this is the only way to work with this book as the content and explanations are just garbage.
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