The word “calculus” can send a shiver of fear down the backs of many. Thankfully, Dennis Jarecke has composed a book containing the basics of calculus that he assures will allay those fears.
Jarecke’s thesis is that by taking small steps up the mathematical Mount Everest, readers can shorten the normal calculus learning curve. His titular assertion that his slim volume can replace a semester of calculus class may be a stretch, but this book can serve nicely as a jump start before a calculus semester or as a refresher for those already familiar with the concepts.
The author provides an accessible compilation of teachings on a complicated subject. Acting as a trusted professor, Jarecke explains concepts bit by bit and builds upon them in such a way that readers will begin nodding their heads in comprehension. His explanations are simple, such as defining that “slope” is “how steep a line is,” and his lessons are all well-defined and memorable. For example, he quotes the well-known calculus method of remembering the Quotient Rule using the lyrical “low-D-high minus high-D-low divided by low-low.”
Jarecke also provides exercises (a key in the mathematical learning process) along with links to examples of how these problems were solved. In addition, he offers signposts of how many minutes it might take to study each concept.
The book provides crisp, clear examples of graphs of all the functions, derivatives and integrals discussed, as well as a welcome glossary of terms such as “function,” “derivative” and “integral.” It also offers call-out boxes with important concepts outlined.
The author admits that the book covers only 75% of a normal Calculus I course, omitting calculations of limits and derivatives of trig functions. However, those leaping into the calculus world will appreciate this introductory volume. Anyone looking for a refresher or a compact reference to calculus concepts will also find it useful.
Also available as an ebook.
BlueInk Heads-Up: Librarians may wish to stock a copy of this book for those seeking a compact reference to the basics of calculus.