Mathematics

Penguin

2006

336

Let's face it: most students don't take calculus because they find it intellectually stimulating. It's not . . . at least for those who come up on the wrong side of the bell curve! There they are, minding their own business, working toward some non-science related degree, when . . . BLAM! They get next semester's course schedule in the mail, and first on the list is the mother of all loathed college courses . . . CALCULUS! Not to fear-The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus, Second Edition, like its predecessor, is a curriculum-based companion book created with this audience in mind. This new edition continues the tradition of taking the sting out of calculus by adding more explanatory graphs and illustrations and doubling the number of practice problems! By the time readers are finished, they will have a solid understanding (maybe even a newfound appreciation) for this useful form of math. And with any luck, they may even be able to make sense of their textbooks and teachers.

### My Thoughts

Don’t let the title of this book fool you, and don’t think that it is “below you.” In just roughly over 300 pages, author W. Michael Kelly introduces an often intimidating subject and explains all of the topics that first year Calculus students are exposed to. While he writes in an informal way often using jocular language and anecdotes, he doesn’t sacrifice covering concepts in a rigorous manner with a thoroughness not often associated with books of this nature.

This book is not meant to replace your Calculus textbook, but rather to supplement it. Based on the reader reviews it gets, it does a very good job of helping new students understand topics that the the formal language of their texts may not make clear for them. I, however, picked the first edition of this book up years ago for a different reason – I was rusty. This book served as an excellent refresher for a subject that I hadn’t given much thought to for decades. Not only did it shine a fresh light on the dusty corner of my mind where my Calculus knowledge was still stowed away, it also gave me a new understanding of the importance of Calculus with the many simple, yet practical word problems the author uses as examples throughout the book.