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Thread: Reading Math Books

  1. #1 Reading Math Books 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Do you have any tips for reading math textbooks or attempts at popular math reading outside of a course?


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  3. #2  
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    Take notes. Lots of notes.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Take a pencil and paper, and manually do the excercises at the end of each chapter. Only by using the concepts learned can you achieve a full understanding of them.
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  5. #4  
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    Can any one suggest me books of Ratio Word Problems and it's questions related to it .Thanks .......
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  6. #5  
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    Math books are a great way to learn the basics. Create a math quiz and put yourself to the test. It's the best way to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
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  7. #6  
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    When you get to that wall of proofs that make your eyes glaze, don't skip over it. Stop. Write it out. If there's a place where something doesn't make sense, ask questions.
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  8. #7  
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    I think reading a math book is really a good idea of learning the basics of mathematics but maths is a subject which requires practice even lots of practice so just reading is not sufficient one should has to solve the problems because there is huge chances of error if its not practiced properly and with proper attention.
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  9. #8  
    Ophiolater Nehushtan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintermute View Post
    When you get to that wall of proofs that make your eyes glaze, don't skip over it. Stop. Write it out. If there's a place where something doesn't make sense, ask questions.
    Absolutely true. This, I would say, is what makes reading math books different from reading books on just about any other subject. When youíre stuck on something in a book, the temptation is to skip it, read further and come back to it later. You might think reading a bit more might even help you understand the bit you didnít understand. Well, this might work in most subjects, but not in maths. Math topics are built up step by step, layer by layer, and if you donít take the trouble and make sure you fully understand each step, your whole reading process is going to grind to a halt.

    If you intend to read a book on a particularly difficult math topic, it might be a good idea to make sure youíre in contact with someone who knows the topic well. That way you can ask questions on anything you donít understand.
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    Bassaricyon neblina Olinguito's Avatar
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    This is not a textbook but itís what Iíve just started reading.

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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Make sure you have some of the simpler ones kicking around. I have found quite a few times when I had to go back and review simple things that I had forgot over the years.

    I also find it interesting to go look up the source when I am having trouble with a concept.
    For example there is no better explanation of the basic idea of cost benefit analysis than Pascal's Wager as explained by Pascal himself.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintermute View Post
    When you get to that wall of proofs that make your eyes glaze, don't skip over it. Stop. Write it out. If there's a place where something doesn't make sense, ask questions.
    That depends on why you are reading the text in question - sometimes you need to know the theory of an area without needing to know the machinery. Inf act, unless the proofs are very insightful I would skip them on the first read and get to the meat of the subject and then go back and learn the why if you need it. The most important thing to do IMHO are the exercises and thinking of examples and counterexamples to definitions. The last part there cannot be overstated, your intuition pump needs something to latch onto and examples and counterexamples are the best things in mathematics (hell there are whole books dedicated to just that in topology)
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    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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