- Paperback: 426 pages
- Publisher: Johnston Press; Enlarged edition (August 8, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1409724670
- ISBN-13: 978-1409724674
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 253 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Calculus Made Easy: Being a Very-Simplest Introduction to those Beautiful Methods of Rekoning which are Generally Called by the Terrifying Names of the Differential Calculus and the Integral Calculus Enlarged Edition
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I do wish Gardner had resisted the temptation to insert chapters on functions and limits at the beginning of the book. There is much better motivation for that material after Thompson's introduction to derivatives. A footnote in the discussion of orders of smallness saying that a more rigorous explanation could be found at the end of the book would let a beginning student see what this calculus stuff was all about, and would also motivate the work on limits as a way to paper over the thin ice, to mangle a metaphor. It seems to be very hard for mathematicians to distinguish between logical development of a discipline and pedagogical discovery of that discipline. If you reconstruct what motivated people to create a branch of mathematics, and then teach that path of discovery, you can hope to motivate the development of more logical exposition and proofs. You can also hope to communicate some idea of what mathematics is about even to people whose minds do not require the full proof, or follow it if it is forced down their throats. Unfortunately, most fully qualified mathematicians should never be allowed near beginning students. Gardner seems to understand the problem in his discussion of why this book is so attractive compared with most introductory calculus texts, but he still wasn't able to resist the temptation to go down the same rathole.
Gardner has still produced a lovely edition of Thompson's book, updated to conform to current notational practice, so as long as you can skip over his two introductory chapters and come back to them later if you feel the need, it can be recommended with no other reservations.
if you wish to learn calculus, there is no substitute for example problems. This book has dearth of example compared to other
modern text books out there. I would stay away from this book, unless historical approach is of your interest.
The hardcover version by St. Matins Press is what you want. It's also almost half the price!, and is updated to include a somewhat useful introduction and very useful footnotes by a contemporary mathematician. That is an excellent book at an excellent price.