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Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum Second Impression Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0465036677
ISBN-10: 0465036678
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The writing is fresh and immediate, with plenty of detail packaged into the smooth narrative.... [O]n their own terms, I found Susskind and Friedman’s explanations crisp and satisfying.... I maintain a clear recollection of the bewilderment with which I struggled through my own university quantum-mechanics courses. For students in a similar position, trying to draw together the fragments of formalism into a clear conceptual whole, Susskind and Friedman’s persuasive overview—and their insistence on explaining, with sharp mathematical detail, exactly what it is that is strange about quantum mechanics—may be just what is needed.”
—David Seery, Nature

“[T]he book will work well as a companion text for university students studying quantum mechanics or the armchair physicists following Susskind’s YouTube lectures.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is quantum mechanics for real. This is the good stuff, the most mysterious aspects of how reality works, set out with crystalline clarity. If you want to know how physicists really think about the world, this book is the place to start.”
—Sean Carroll, physicist, California Institute of Technology, and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe

“Susskind does a wonderful job of carefully going through in great detail the story of the simplest quantum system. As advertised, it's the theoretical minimum, but a great place for someone to start on the road to a serious understanding of the mysteries of quantum physics.”
—Peter Woit, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University, and author of Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law

About the Author

Leonard Susskind has been the Felix Bloch Professor in Theoretical Physics at Stanford University since 1978. He is the author (with George Hrabovsky) of The Theoretical Minimum, as well as The Black Hole War and The Cosmic Landscape. He lives in Palo Alto, California. Art Friedman is a data consultant who previously spent fifteen years at Hewlett-Packard as a software engineer. A lifelong student of physics, he lives in Mountain View, California.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Theoretical Minimum
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Second Impression edition (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465036678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465036677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely difficult book to review. Though a layman in this field, fortunately, I have researched quantum mechanics and read enough books over the last few years on the subject to do a reasonably informed job of covering the salient points:
1) I have no doubt the author feels he has attempted to construct this book in a manner that can be understood fairly easily by many. Not to be insulting to anyone, but this book is definitely not for the novice.
2) Even with some background in quantum theory, there are many portions of the dialog that went way over my head, as I suspect, it will for many.
3) If you are an average reader interested in quantum physics, I have found several other books that cover this suject in a more readily understandable way. I suggest Machio Kaku or Bernard Haisch.
4) If you are a science student - college level or above, this book could be very insightful and of value for you.

So why Four Stars??? While the ultimate value of this book will be determined by each individual reader, it is critically important that a more widespread understanding of the scientific importance of quantum mechanics is shared by a larger audience. This book contributes to that cause and contains valuable information.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a few years of reading math-free QM popularizations, I decided to try to learn the math. Finding a book that bridges the vast gap between the popularizations and textbooks, though, has been a real challenge.

Thankfully, this book is now available. Yes, it's difficult but it's far more accessible than a textbook. The authors have really made an effort to offer insight into what is inherently a very abstract and mathematical subject. Like FLP-III (Feynman's Lectures on Physics), the approach is to start with "spin-first" and then work "backwards" to the Schrodinger equation, which is the starting point for most textbooks (that way, the harder math is deferred until later). However, QM:TM is more modern and easier than FLP, which is after all, meant for future physicists.

If you don't know any advanced math (calculus, complex numbers, etc.) then you should pass on this book. But the "math-divide" has now been bridged by this book, which is destined to be a classic.

Note: I didn't care much for TM: volume I (it was too rushed and brief) but that's not the case with volume II. The only con is there's no companion site (as far as I know) with solutions to the exercises.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book covers a lot of ground in a very creative way. However, I am extremely puzzled how the kindle version was distributed with typesetting issues associated with the Dirac bracket which make it difficult to read. There was obviously no review of the electronic version. Amazon should republish a correction ASAP.
2 Comments 88 of 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been looking for a book like this for many years as it provides exactly what I need.

Some reviewers have said this book appeals to a narrow audience, and they may be right. Get this book if:
- You learned maths at least to senior high school / basic university engineering/science level.
- You're interested in understanding quantum mechanics at a deeper and more mathematical degree than you get in popular science books and want to be able to work with the basic postulates and mathematics of quantum mechanics.
- You find existing text books that cover quantum theory (like Bohm, Rae) go too deep and are basically inaccessible.

The book is very readable, and though it takes you through derivations of Schrodinger's equation, working with vector spaces, statistical physics, it's never dry and doesn't assume to know too much to begin with.

My only criticism is that it tries to be jokey with pointless dialogue at the beginning of chapters, but being one of the few books that successfully bridge the gap between popular science books and text books, it earns its 5 stars.
1 Comment 27 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Susskind's lecture series on You Tube are very popular and he deserves our thanks for his efforts. It is also wonderful that there is an audience that wishes to learn these subjects. It is assumed that you know linear algebra and complex variables. If you have not had these subjects or need a refresher, you will have a better time with this book if you study or review these subjects. I would recommend the Cliff Quick Review of Linear Algebra by Leduc and Chapter 1 of Schaum's Complex Variables 2nd edition by Spiegel. They both have many worked out problems and the books are inexpensive.There are more expensive alternatives like Engineering Mathematics by Stroud or Shankar's Quantum Mechanics textbook which cover these areas. Susskind makes heavy use of spin and the Pauli Matrices as a basic model for quantum mechanics. A similar approach was taken in Jordan's Quantum Mechanic in Simple Matrix Form published in the 1980s and available on Dover. Susskind is a good teacher and further simplifies the math, probabilities, commutators, and operators to make the subject more easy to follow. The introductions to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger Equation, and Entaglement are nicely done and are a good read. If you want to learn some concepts of basic Quantum Mechanics and are not adverse to the math described this book will fill that need. Learn or review the mentioned math first or you will be lost quickly. You need to know what a complex number is,why we need complex numbers, how to obtain a complex conjugate, and Euler's famous formula. Susskind covers this in three short pages which is unlikely to mean much to you if you do not remember or know the math. It will also help to watch the lectures on You Tube. The major flaw of the book is the excercises.Read more ›
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Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
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