One of the top two precalculus texts available
Posted by Charles Ashbacher on 3/14/2005
There is a mind-numbing sameness to precalculus and calculus textbooks, and this book is more of the same. The coverage starts with real numbers, exponents, expressions and solving equations. The basic principles of functions, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, solving systems of equations, sequences, series, counting and probability, analytic geometry and limits follow this. I personally can do without the chapter on limits, when I teach precalculus, I am hard pressed to cover the other material. There is plenty of time to cover limits in calculus and it provides a better context. There are a large number of exercises at the end of each section and solutions to the odd-numbered ones are included in an appendix. As appears to be the case with many books, some of the exercises could have been left out with no decline in quality. At times I suspect there is the mathematical equivalent of an "arms race" to see how many exercises can be included at the end of a chapter.
The previous paragraph could be used to describe nearly every precalculus text on the planet, so it fits into the category of obvious, but necessary. Therefore, the key point is what makes this book different from the competition. The answer is not much. The approach is the standard statement of the new material followed by a series of worked examples, which is also the fundamental strategy used in all lower level math books. Short biographical asides of some of the major historical figures in mathematics are interjected on a regular basis. I like that, but wonder how often the students read them. What is different about this book is that the quality of the writing is somewhat better than most. In a field where there is very little to differentiate the texts, that is enough to make me rank this book in the top two precalculus books that are available.
Posted by Anonymous on 9/12/2003
I'd say it's a rather interesting book, especially concerning the set of problems at the end of each chapter. Covers basics of linear algebra and preparation for calculus, with reasonable amount of problems and examples. Clear prose. Warns about mistakes to avoid.
Brief biographies of prominent mathematicians are introduced in the margin sometimes. Occasionally refers to external sources that you may find interesting.
I'm giving it 5 stars because this book is rather non-traditional. The authors undoubtedly wanted to introduce it as an interesting subject and does cover needed preparatory material for calculus.
Posted by Wendie Cao on 10/8/2008
This book is really a great help for those wanting to exercise their math skills or even challenging themselves in precalculus. It provides answers in the back of the book so you can check your problems and in the beginning of the book it has some review chapters on basic algebra. I use it for my college precalc class it really does help and explains mathematics beautifully.