- Paperback: 150 pages
- Publisher: Birkhäuser (July 9, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0817636773
- ISBN-13: 978-0817636777
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top customer reviews
My daughter's math textbook is 5 pounds and I can't even stand looking at it. I understand that not every is enthusiastic about math and not everyone can feel the beauty of math. But you don't have to make math so ugly.
Learning math with a 5 lb textbook is simply terrifying but if your kid goes to public school you probably have no choice. Let you kid read a good book like this one, as early as possible, before he(she) grows a life time aversion to math.
You will find several interesting and serious topics that would be dangerous to bright students who insist they hate math, or rather what they've been told is math. Imagine their initial embarrassment when they find out that they can enjoy the subject! Maybe more importantly, imagine their relief when they realize that there IS a reason why we "FOIL", there IS a reason why negative times negative is positive, there IS a reason why we say a^(-1)=1/a, and it's not because "the teacher said so" or "that's just the rule" (ok, it is the rule, but now you'll see why). And there's no attempt to sneak anything by the reader. The authors are quick to acknowledge any gaps in their reasoning, and to assure the reader that in the future he or she will fill them.
It's this honesty and attention to rigor without being too formal or dry that give this book some extra charm. It moves smoothly from basic arithmetic (which everyone should still read if only to learn a different way of explaining it to a student/younger sibling/child) all the way to proofs, both algebraic and visual when possible, of some important inequalities. Cauchy's inductive proof, first for powers of two and then filling in the gaps, of the AM-GM inequality is here, as is the standard proof of Cauchy-Schwarz by the discriminant of a polynomial. Go to your local high school and look at its algebra book. I doubt that's in there.
I'll end with a few of the funny, sometimes weird, little remarks:
After illustrating the associative law using the example (sugar + coffee) + milk = sugar + (coffee + milk), the next problem is: "Problem 25. Try it."
"Please keep in mind that a monomial is a polynomial, so sometimes for a mathematician one is many."
"Probably you are discouraged by this solution because it seems impossible to invent it. The authors share your feeling."
One section begins: "62. How to confuse students on an exam: As usual, there are many evil ways to make use of knowledge."
The way with which the book is bound is another story though. My book started coming apart after only a few days, the pages are glued with no string to hold the pages together at all; they easily rip at the binding and from what I notice is that there is no way around it. It just spontaneously happening while I was trying to hold the pages open in a way so that the book is full open.
It is getting 4 stars because of the information and not five because of the binding.
this isn't a primary algebra book; I would most definitely recommend it to use as a supplement along with any other text though because it is great in that role.
Most recent customer reviews
So far we've found one typo:
In the exercise 42b instead of (a+b)/(c+d) it should be (a+c)/(b+d)