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123 of 123 found the following review helpful:
Refreshing Approach to the Fundamentals of CalculusJan 07, 2004
By Vito A. Carbonaro
I have been using "Calculus for Dummies" to review my Calc I and Calc II basics. I am surprised and pleased with how well Ryan's descriptions and explanations have allowed me to better understand the underlying principles in Calculus. If you are serious about the groundwork and maintenance of your mathematical skills, you know that it is frequently beneficial to return to the basics for those fundamental concepts which can occassionally grow fuzzy with time. If you can find a text that treats the material in a new and entertaining way, the review can be enjoyable as well as instructive.
I highly recommend Ryan's book. He limits complexity (and warns you when he is doing so) to keep the material accessible. For the ultra rigorous analysis, there are many college texts available. But if you are new to Calculus, or looking for a different and refreshing approach to the basics, you will find "Calculus for Dummies" a wise investment. If you are taking Calculus in school and are having some problems understanding the material (and who hasn't?), this book will help you "decode" some of the more difficult concepts. I am sure that it is destined to become a valuable catalyst text on many a struggling math student's desktop.
176 of 181 found the following review helpful:
Excellent calculus companion for high school and collegeSep 22, 2003
By Sweetcheeks McMuffin
In the tradition of the "For Dummies" series, "Calculus For Dummies" offers its readers with the advantage of clearly understanding critical ideas in calculus.
The book starts off with a refresher for algebra and such and then eliminates any fears of limits the reader might have. The fundamental idea of a limit (without the advanced delta-epsilon notation) allows the reader to thoroughly understand the backbone of calculus.
Differentiation is treated in detail with examples in power rule, chain rule, quotient rule, and applications (which the reader will have absolutely NO problem with after reading this book).
The concept of integration is explained so that the reader may see the fundamental principles of infinite summation of rectangles of miniature area. "Calculus For Dummies" has a strong presentation of integration techniques (especially integration by parts and the LIATE method pneumonic device) as well as trigonometric, volume and surface area, substitution, and indefinite integration.
Lastly, "Calc for Dummies" concludes with a discussion of infinite series. The book explains each of the 10 methods covered and also offers tips as to which method to use for a specific occasion.
All in all, a tremendously well-written book for those taking Calculus for the first time, those who need a companion for their current calc class, as well as those wishing for a refresher. "Calculus For Dummies" is very readable and allows the reader to understand the beautiful language of calculus without the rigors of proofs most calc textbooks have.
149 of 166 found the following review helpful:
Good book, but not for me.Feb 12, 2006
By D. Solberg
If you're trying to pass a calculus course, this book is a really good buy because it lays everything out very clearly and the explanations are great. The author gives a clear understanding of why we need to use calculus. For me, a person who's just curious about calculus, this book could have been a lot better by being more in-depth and less "funny". This book gives a decent overview of calculus, but in the end I stopped reading it for two reasons:
First, the book is about one-third silly jokes. Normally, I like a book with a little clever humor, but this book went way too far. I really do want to learn, but it's very distracting when a series of graphs is labeled, "More graphs" (haha) and a paragraph on limits ends with something like, "This sentence is here because my English teacher said every paragraph should have at least two sentences." (haha) The issue was not so much the bad jokes as the distraction. It's annoying when you're trying to grasp a difficult idea and all of a sudden the sentence doesn't make sense because it's "funny."
Second, this book is more of a review for getting through a calculus course (study techniques and all) rather than an overview of calculus for real applications. I would have liked more thorough understanding of how the rules worked rather than mostly just explaining the rules.
29 of 30 found the following review helpful:
Excellent BookDec 11, 2003
As a freshman college student, I purchased this book to help me understand what my awful professor and text book were trying to say. This book does a fantastic job at bringing calculus "down to earth", to quote Mark Ryan. It eliminates the pages of proofs my text book had and cuts right to the chase, explaining calculus in plain English. This book actually TEACHES calculus in a fun way.
This book is worth every penny if you are a student. If you're a beginning calculus student, you will probably get more use out of this book than your text, as did I.
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Learn CalculusOct 04, 2005
By Aaron Rutledge
This is, perhaps, the most concise and informative introduction to Calculus that I have ever come across. Mr. Ryan's ability to explain how mathematics works is practically legendary. It might be stretch to say this, but even if you haven't taken or studied pre-calc, and don't remember a whole lot about algebra, you could probably still hang with this book. That being said, you'll enjoy this book the most if you have pre-calc and algebra under belt, and you won't be disappointed! Admittedly, this book stays away from proofs, and theory unless it is absolutely necessary in order to make the subject understandable. What you get is a veritable instruction manual, or "how-to" that will introduce all of the techniques you'll need to succeed in your class (unless you have happlessly stumbled into the classroom of a "proof-happy" professor). If you want to learn the techniques of Calculus and actually understand what is going on in your first and second semester Calc classes, you cannot go wrong with book!
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