→ Calculus → Recommended Books
Updated 21 Sept 2013

Recommended Calculus Books and Web Sites

Copyright © 2004–2024 by Stan Brown,


Adams, Colin, Joel Hass, and Abigail Thompson (1998). How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide. W.H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-3160-6.

Like the Hitchhiker’s Guide (below), this book takes a lighthearted approach to the tough concepts of calculus. But the Streetwise Guide has more: chapters on how to cope with your instructor, what to expect on the final, and the twenty most common mistakes.

Testimonials from students on Amazon are pretty impressive.

Availability: This one’s not in public libraries, but it’s under $20 in paperback.

Spivak, Michael (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Calculus. Polished Pebble Press. ISBN 09-014098-23-3.

This little “calculus course companion” helps to demystify some of the tough concepts, particularly the derivative. Chapter 4 is really excellent at leading you to understand what the derivative is, and Chapter 5 is equally good at showing you the calculations.

Then when you come to the definite integral, Chapter 12 shows you what it means as an area, and Chapter 13 shows you how to use the Fundamental Theorems of Calculus to compute it.

Most of the other chapters are good too, but those four are worth special mention. If you feel like you’re drowning in details of calculations, Spivak will help you see the big picture more easily.

Availability: The TC3 library has a circulating copy.

Web Sites

MathMedics (2013). S.O.S. Mathematics — Calculus

This site gives you a series of explanations of specific topics — its Definition of the Derivative is an excellent example.

There’s also a help desk where you can post questions.

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