It really isn’t that difficult! No. Really! And Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson makes calculus approachable for self-educating students.
He begins by putting the reader’s mind at rest by explaining what we are doing:
The preliminary terror, which chokes off most fifth-form boys from even attempting to learn how to calculate, can be abolished once for all by simply stating what is the meaning—in common-sense terms—of the two principal symbols that are used in calculating.
You will not find the language at all off-putting, but rather remarkably approachable. Calculus Made Easy is particularly useful for those ready to tackle calculus on their own.
Silvanus P. Thompson was a professor of physics and member of the Royal Society. Like most people who are very comfortable with their subject, he was able to explain calculus in a way that resonated with the general public. Despite being published in the early 1900s, the book was still being published in hardcover in the late 1990s! That’s staying power.
The author covers the language (including pronunciations) and meaning of calculus terms before setting off into more difficult concepts such as sine and cosine. Other topics covered include:
- Partial differentiation.
- Techniques (integrating by parts, substitution, factoring, etc.).
Answers to the problems are in the back.
Excellent book … and it’s free!
Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson
Hardcover 1998 version that includes more problems.
Calculus By and For Young People (Ages 7, Yes 7 and Up)
If you have a younger child you may enjoy this title. Read our full review.
If you have a younger student you may appreciate more age-appropriate resources. Particular favorites you may appreciate include one of these free eBooks: