Found in 3 comments on Hacker News
pugio · 2019-10-25 · Original thread
I just finished reading this, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It provides a clear description of the fundamental intuition at the heart of calculus (chop stuff up infinitely, then put it back together again), and a mix of the historical background of its development and its ancient and modern applications.

All books of this nature are somewhat idiosyncratic – it's not a history, not a textbook, nor an applied maths book; it's a packet of passion sent by someone who's clearly excited and enthralled with his topic: "Here's a story about something really cool! Maybe you'll think it's cool too!"

I've been investigating recent books with different approaches to calculus (trying to build a free online course that empowers people in maths). Here are some other books I can recommend/mention:

[0] "Burn Math Class: And Reinvent Mathematics for Yourself" Goes from 1+1 all the way to derivatives and integrals. My favorite work of math demystification and pedagogy.

[1] "Calculus Reordered: A History of the Big Ideas" Released this year, exactly as the title says. An accessible history, explaining each idea as it enters the world stage. I've only just started this, but it's a definitely more historically thorough, albeit less engaging, book than Infinite Powers. (Since historical accuracy seems to be TFA's main focus, I wonder what they would think of this book.)

[2] "Change Is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World" Another just-published book – this is the year for Calculus! Amazon has lost/delayed my preordered copy, but from the author's other work I expect this to be a LOT of fun.

[3] "Magnificent Principia: Exploring Isaac Newton's Masterpiece" Sort of "the annotated Newton". Outlines Sir Isaac's history, social environment, and development of the Principia Mathematica. The bulk of this book is going through each section of the Principia, translating the language into modern speech/formulations (where needed), and explaining what Newton was getting at. Also not as gripping as Infinite Powers, but a great way of reading and understanding one of the most foundational scientific/mathematical texts of all time.

[4] "Introductory Calculus For Infants" I'm about to have my first child, so am naturally collecting suitable reading material for the budding babe (suggestions welcome!).

[0] [1] [2] [3] [4]

pugio · 2019-08-05 · Original thread
For a truly "from scratch" and deeply empowering introduction to the basic notions in calculus (and all mathematics), I've found nothing better than Burn Math Class[1] by Jason Wilkes. It assumes nothing but basic arithmetic, and proceeds to guide you through how to invent maths for yourself.


goldenkey · 2018-02-16 · Original thread
Seems well liked but whats is up with the cover? Most people who are into mathematics aren't zealous rebels bent on burning the world. I feel like the marketing director for the book screwed up big time. I won't judge the book by its cover though.

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