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Showing 1-10 of 18 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 166 reviews
on May 16, 2017
Great book, giving an overview of the concepts and ideas behind the calculus, without getting bogged down in computational details. A great companion to a standard calculus text, to provide easy reading regarding concepts such as limits, the real number line, and the physical meanings of differentiation and integration.
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on October 21, 2008
My friend Alexander recommended this book to me in passing one day, so I ordered it and promptly forgot about it. The package arrived and sat on my desk for a week before I had time to open it. I started reading. And reading. And reading. It's hard to believe that a math book can be a page turner, but David Berlinski has accomplished that feat.

This won't make you an expert in calculus. It's a tour, as the title says, not an in-depth course. However, Berlinski does a wonderful job of making the material continuously engaging by interweaving history, practical application, and theory. He starts with an excellent ground rule: prove no theorems. You must take everything he says on faith (but you can switch to a calculus textbook any time if your faith wavers ;). That brush-clearing maneuver gets the reader out of the mess of mathematical rigor, revealing the beauty of calculus.

Although I studied calculus years ago, this was a great reminder of the fundamentals. I also learned a great deal about the people behind The Calculus -- Newton, Leibnitz, et al -- that I never knew before. A great gift book for your intelligentsia friends.
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on April 9, 2014
The author is off his rocker but seriously the guy helped me make sense of Calculus I. Not only did I learn how to take derivatives and limits and find areas but this book explained why I was doing. If you're looking to know more about the subject than just how to do calc problems, this is a pretty good book to start with.
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on December 31, 2011
This book is highly readable and very enjoyable. This is astonishing considering the subject matter, the calculus. Berlinski is witty, writes extremely well, and is great at explaining highly abstract concepts. It's a good introduction!
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on August 17, 2000
Mr. Berlinski book has made me see, through a powerful pedagogical lens, that most mathematics books, Calculus in particular, are a distilled and purified product of a brew made from the blood, sweat and tears of many mathematicians across the centuries. The next time I pick up a textbook and read "it easily follows" or " it is clearly evident", I'll know for sure that those words are, at least, presumptuous.
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on December 13, 2011
I have given this book to students who have just completed their first semester of Calculus as reading to keep them fresh for their second semester. Without fail, they have reported it as a positive influence in helping them throughout that tough course. I have also given it to all of my Liberal Arts friends to encourage their appreciation of the Calculus as our culutral heritage. So far, all have been delighted that they could, at the least, follow the discussion. This is due, I believe, to the wonderful way in which Dr. Berlinski writes.
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on September 9, 2005
This is the only book I have ever read that pulls all of the concepts of calculus together into one complete package. The style is a bit wordy, but that is the point. It keeps you interested and involved. The background and history of calc are combined with stories to aid in learning. If you want to understand calc and really know what you are talking about, this is the book for you. It isn't a textbook and it won't teach you how to solve problems, but by the end of it, you will KNOW calc! Outstanding supplement to a textbook.
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on August 21, 2015
A beautiful explanation of calculus, from the beginning, the very beginning. The language is lovely and the explanation is done in a manner understandable to less mathematically inclined but still interesting to those who have achieved the higher levels of math. Couching his tale in the history of the topic, the author interlaces interesting experiences, observances and anecdotes drawn from his experiences as a university professor.
The book is a good one for any level of mathematical ability. Very readable.
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on December 22, 2012
We read this to supplement a college math course. It is very interesting, and if you can get over the high-flown voice of the author, very informative. I would recommend this for anyone in advanced calculus or real analysis.
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on March 19, 2013
This is a great book but hard to read if you're not a math person. It sounded interesting but I needed Calculus for dummies to be able to read the book. With a few simple concepts under my belt, the book was fabulous
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