Hello hubskiers. Please check out my new math and physics textbook. I'd be interested to hear some feedback about what you think of the idea. If you've got a calculus or a mechanics exam coming up, it will definitely be worth checking out... Yours, Ivan

I agree that text books are too expensive and sometimes hard to understand. But on the other hand, there's a lot to learn about mechanics and calculus. The only real way to learn is by doing, and I think that's essentially independent of formatting. What is it in other texts that you find to be "bullshit"? Or is it that you just don't like that calc is typically a prereq for mechanics, when calculus was invented specifically for solving mechanics problems to begin with? I agree with that position, frankly. Even though calculus certainly has tons of applications separate from mechanics, I think learning it in the context of physics is the easiest way, because students can start to understand that the math isn't just an abstraction. "Who gives a shit?" is an appropriate answer to the question of what is the tangent line to such and such parametric curve at point (X1,X2), IMO, if the question is framed in a vacuum. Are you simply trying to reconnect what seems lost in the academy these days? If so, it's a commendable goal.

- The only real way to learn is by doing, and I think that's essentially independent of formatting

That is very true. I've been surprised time and time again at how much progress students make by solving exercises. Right now, this is the main thing missing in the book, and I'm going to be working in the coming months to create a nice set of exercises, possibly using the khan-exercises framework which you can use through the web. The main purpose of the book is to give students the initial tools they will need to then dig into the exercises.

- What is it in other texts that you find to be "bullshit"?

I guess the main thing I'm calling bullshit on is the "page inflation" phenomenon. Old calc. textbooks were 100-200 pages long and did a really good job at introducing the three-four new ideas (limits, derivatives, integrals, series). How come new textbooks are 1000+ pages long? The longer the textbook, the smaller the probability that students will actually read it.... so more is actually less.

- "Who gives a shit?" ... question is framed in a vacuum.

The relation to the real world is another big motivating factor for learning. This is why I begin each section with a "what is this used for" paragraph and an example. It makes sense to explain the applications before going into the formulas and the theory, otherwise why should-I listen to you?

It looks like a pretty good textbook.

I like that you provided a nice sample for people to check out.

I remember that when I took calculus I learned a lot more from a text like this (I think it was called "how to ace calculus") than I did from either my assigned textbooks or the web.

- ... "how to ace calculus" ..

Wow cool. That book's tone and content seems very similar to my calculus chapter. Your experience with this short book confirms the fact that you don't need to read thousands of pages to learn how to take limits, find derivatives, and optimize functions.