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on October 6, 2014
This book is atrocious. They throw one of each type of homework problem at you, with about half the odd problems being completely unrecognizable. The target audience is supposed to be college students who didn't go through Calculus in high school, but the theories and explanations are written for students with inherently strong math skills. Nobody in my class liked this book. Even the instructor complained. I don't know why the Math department chose it. Avoid it if you can, and if you can't, I guess you should get the student solutions manual even though the ratings on it are low too. Or hire a tutor. Or carve out extra time for your professor's office hours. You'll need all the help you can get.
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on April 18, 2014
I have taught out of this book for two semesters now in my college algebra class. Although it is not without some positives, it has various issues for which, honestly, there are no excuse. Overall it seems to me to be designed for "dumbed-down" college algebra classes, in which a student might learn a little (but not much!) math with the hope of getting through the class and out of college with that meal ticket some call a diploma.

The issues begin on the first page of the first chapter. According to this the author, Connally, a function is a "rule" (whatever that means) that takes numbers as input and gives numbers as output. That's a perfectly fine introductory definition, but it should be followed later in the book up by something more rigorous. It never is, and the student is left with a fairly nebulous understanding of what a function is.

Conally seems fond of having students use a calculator to solve problems and illustrate concepts, often to good effect. Unfortunately, he at times relies too heavily on the calculator. Where a simple algebraic technique might be taught and applied, he might ignore it completely and instead advise the student to just punch the function into a calculator. This is an issue particularly in the chapter on piecewise-defined functions, where the student is advised to essentially let the calculator do the thinking instead of analyzing the function him- or herself.

Various issues persist throughout the book. The Conally's initial take on inverse functions is lacking, and can easily leave students with the impression that every function has an inverse. Many concepts are overly simplified, or omitted completely. When you finally get the chapter on polynomials (which, bizarrely, is put off until after the chapters on exponential, logarithmic, AND trigonometric functions), nowhere does the book even mention the all-important fact that the degree of a polynomial is equal to the number of its zeros. That's right, folks: we have here an algebra book that omits the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra!

The exercises in this book are generally good, which makes it all the more shame that the book's text has so many issues. Granted, the material is so watered-down that there often isn't much to write exercises ABOUT, but they tend to be well-written and sometimes through-provoking. Perhaps, then, this book is best used as an exercise supplement in conjunction with a better textbook. But I can't really recommend it on its own.
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on June 22, 2015
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being great and 1 being horrible I'm going to give this math book a 5. It isn't the worst book I've ever had to use however its far from the best. It only gives answers to the odd numbered problems, and most of the explanations are confusing. I hope the math department at my school switches from this for future students.
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on April 24, 2014
This book poorly explains topics and in almost every chapter without a fail about a third of the material in the practice questions is note taught in the chapter. I have also found over dozen incorrect answers in the back(I got them verified by tutors at my local college), some of which are correct in the answers manual. Overall I have come to the conclusion the publishers and writers of this book don't care one bit about education only about putting out enough lazy half-done work to make a quick buck. Further more any deans or professors who choose too use this book must be equally lazy and you should avoid them if at all possible.
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on October 6, 2014
My daughter is taking precalculus this year and this book is used in the digital version for her class. I believe a hard copy is essential to keep as a reference and is also much easier to utilize for math homework. Unfortunately, despite this being the same edition as her digital copy, we have seen at least one problem with different numbers used in the homework portion. It may be the only problem, but now it creates uncertainty about the two versions being the same. It is not a typo, just different numbers. I have no idea why they would make such a change. Now she has to check every problem with the digital version to ensure it is the same which is time consuming and frustrating. As far as the actual content, I am not in a position to say as I have no background in this subject and my daughter is just learning it.
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on March 18, 2015
As others have written, there are mistakes in answers to the exercises, which is frustrating. More problematic, I think, is that the writing is often convoluted. I learned many of the included topics in an algebra class just last semester and thought I understood them well. However, I'm often confused after reading about them in this text. The key concepts seem to be buried inside of complicated examples. I'm also disappointed with the online component (Wiley Plus) compared to the one I used last semester (My Math Lab). The graphing tool is clumsy to use, making it difficult to create accurate graphs. If a submitted answer is incorrect, there are few resources to understand the relevant topic more thoroughly and those that do exist are difficult to find. Hopefully, the school will choose a different text for future semesters.
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on February 4, 2013
It's the right book.

The book is poor, the chapters are mediocre explanations of the material.
Furthermore the answer key is poor.

In the first 10 questions multiple had the wrong answer in the back of the book.

Which is very discouraging to many of the students in my class who can't understand why they are getting the "wrong" answers, which are actually right.

It was a waste of money and the only reason I didn't return it was because the homework for my class comes from it...

So I need it for the problems even though none of the other information is worth trudging through for help with the material it claims to teach.
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on January 29, 2015
This book is so well written that you could teach yourself the material without taking the class, (assuming you had all of the background math beforehand,) and it has more than enough review examples in the event you may have forgotten some math from your last class.
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on June 18, 2014
Not that it matters, because if you're reading this you most likely are a student who has been forced to purchase this horrible excuse for a text. This book is the antithesis of a learning aid, in fact it is an obstacle to learning. The problems presented as examples in the chapters are overly simplified and have absolutely no relation to the exercises, which are far more complex and never explained adequately. Often problems are presented without having been covered at all in the lessons, which, as a result leave you banging your head against a wall for no reason, until the work is covered in subsequent chapters. I rented this book but I wish I had purchased it, if only for the joy of watching it burn to cinders after I finish my course. You may also note that most of the positive reviews on this site are actually reviews about the Amazon experience ("fast delivery," "correct item," etc... and have nothing to do with the quality of the product.
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on August 20, 2014
This is a terrible textbook. The end of chapter problems and exercises are pretty good. As a tool for checking your understanding, not counting all the wrong answers, it's not that bad. But, if you were to miss a day of class and wanted to use this book to learn on your own what you missed, you will be SOL. As a learning tool, it's pretty awful.
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