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“PreCalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell” – Review

Precalculus in a NutshellHaving recently changed my major from Film to Computer Science, my upcoming classes will now include much more math than I’ve had previously. In light of this, I have begun to prepare myself by doing as much study and review as possible on my own. Several weeks ago, I found a used copy of this book (Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell) by George F. Simmons. It is essentially a review of Geometry, Algebra, and Trigonometry (pretty much everything you may have learned in high school – plus a little more). Now that I’ve finished the book, I’m astonished at how much I’ve learned from such a brief text. I could not have gained more from an entire semester of classes with long lectures and copious note-taking. There are dusty old topics from algebra in this book which I’ve never understood until now. If you don’t intend to work in a math related field, this 119-page book will impart all the math you will ever need to know. Each section is quick, concise, and practical. The formulas are considered only according to their usefulness and application. Nothing is left ambiguous or too abstract to remember. However, this text is not for the faint of heart. Simmons demands the reader’s full attention. Every sentence contains information that is vital to your understanding – not a single word is wasted (this is probably why the book is so short). So be careful while reading or you’ll easily get off track.

I have since moved on to study calculus in my spare time. But without this extremely helpful book, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without the aid of a teacher.

In a side note, I found this excellent Youtube channel which has helped me grasp the basics of calculus:

Derek Owen’s Youtube Channel

Also, a few days ago I discovered the MIT OpenCourseWare which I am very excited to explore over the next few weeks:

MIT OpenCourseWare

Both of these have made a very nice supplement to my texts. Hopefully all this study will help me ace my upcoming calculus classes and make me a better programmer.

-Corey Kruger

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