Found 10 comments on HN
iamcreasy · 2018-05-30 · Original thread
This book is amazing. But I'd suggest everybody to read the version edited by Martin Gardner in 1998[1]. The first version written by Thompson ignored the use of limit, and it also used terms that aren't used anymore. For example, the older book used the term 'differential coefficient' which is now known as derivatives[2].


[2] More about the difference between old and the new book

BadMathBook3 · 2018-02-16 · Original thread
I bailed on high school math, thinking I'm math dumb.

In my late 20s I decided to try again, but jumped straight into calculus. And at first regretted that decision. However, I got lucky by stumbling upon this book:

It "reads" like a book, with the ideas given context. I had an "ok" connection with Algebra, and the book explained the rest well enough for me.

In school, the textbooks were loaded with symbols, but not enough description -- I guess they relied on bored teachers making minimum wage to do that part. I went to a school with poor academic showings (but connections to state superintendent of ed got them a grant for football facilities).

Coincidentally, this book goes well with the technique described here:

knight17 · 2017-04-21 · Original thread
> ... a 1998 update by Martin Gardner is available from St. Martin's Press which provides an introduction; three preliminary chapters explaining functions, limits, and derivatives; an appendix of recreational calculus problems; and notes for modern readers. Gardner changes "fifth form boys" to the more American sounding (and gender neutral) "high school students," updates many now obsolescent mathematical notations or terms, and uses American decimal dollars and cents in currency examples.

Seems like a good update to a classic, but there are some in the reviews complaining about Gardner

T-zex · 2015-04-30 · Original thread
I have an offtopic question, but believe I could find an answer here. Does anybody know a statistics equivalent book for Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus Phillips Thompson [1] Where everything is explained in layman's terms.


mcguire · 2014-09-02 · Original thread
There's also Calculus Made Easy[1], by Silvanus Thompson, relatively recently reprinted in an edition with additions from Martin Gardner.[2] The original edition is available in the US from Project Gutenberg, though.[3]

Quoth the 'pedia: "Calculus Made Easy is a book on infinitesimal calculus originally published in 1910 by Silvanus P. Thompson, considered a classic and elegant introduction to the subject."




siddboots · 2013-05-15 · Original thread
> Calculus Made Easy

Thompson wrote the original edition a century ago. It is now Public Domain.

Gardner's revised edition adds introductory material, a problem set, and updates the language to keep it roughly in line with what is taught now. I can't speak to the differences between modern editions, but I have this one:

> linear algebra

To be honest, all abstract algebra is tough on new-comers. Compared to undergraduate calculus, the "aha" moments have more pay-off, but usually take a lot more time. The significance and power of vector spaces is just not something that is easily learnt, other than by working through problems with pen-and-paper math, and while doing so, constantly asking yourself "why do mathematicians do things this way, rather than some other way?"

I bought a copy of Gilbert Strang's Linear Algebra And It's Applications when I was an undergrad, and still refer to it now. It's brilliant, but it's a traditional text book, and definitely not a "primer".

It's not the type of maths you would call "hard" (integral calculus can be infuriatingly "hard") but it's the type that takes time and work to understand. Once you understand vector spaces, QM is surprisingly straight-forward.

tokenadult · 2012-08-29 · Original thread
Can you now teach me how I (~20 year old) can be interested in math?

The popular books by mathematician Ian Stewart

are very interesting and mathematically accurate. Some readers also like the books by Keith Devlin,

one of which I am reading right now.

I like almost every book by John Stillwell

and especially recommend the latest edition of Mathematics and Its History

as a book you should try to obtain from a library to see what a book with challenging, interesting, but accessible problems looks like.

Many people like the videos that feature Edward Burger

or Arthur Benjamin lecturing about math in the Great Courses (Teaching Company) video lecture series, which you may be able to find at a library.

AFTER EDIT: Here is a link for Calculus Made Easy, a book recommended by another participant here.

tgrass · 2012-06-08 · Original thread
After Vector Calc, I wanted to go back to the fundamentals, to understand instead of remembering.

I came across Silvanus Thompson's 1910 reprinted textbook Calculus Made Easy [1], and it was hands down the best primer on any topic I've delved into.


davidsiems · 2011-02-24 · Original thread
If you've never read it before this book is a very intuitive introduction (and refresher):

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