Calculus For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science))

Category: Mathematics
Author: Mark Ryan
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Comments

by jasode   2017-11-22
>There are a lot of pictures. [...] highly visual format,

Thank you for your response. To clarify, I'm not an elitist that rejects cartoons and informal style. For example, I think the "Calculus for Dummies"[1] with the cartoons is a good math book.

I'm also not really not talking about the visual "clutter" that others complain about either.

Cartoons are fine but I prefer that the drawings/illustrations really impart knowledge or insight rather than "decorate" a book's page like wallpaper.

For example, I looked at "Head First Networking"[2]. Using Amazon's "Look inside" feature to browse some pages:

- page 1: the clipart of the man and woman and the thought bubbles do not reward the user with quality knowledge in relation to the space they take up

- page 19: the clipart of the tourist with the arrows and thought bubble does not actually teach a networking concept

My point is: just because a book has cartoons & unserious style doesn't mean it has good presentation of teaching. It might be a suboptimal book that just happened to use cartoons.

Another way to put it: Comics can be a very powerful way to illustrate concepts but their power is underutilized in the Head First books. The cartoons are often "jokes" instead of teaching.

>which, to many people, reads as non-serious

Similar to cartoons, I have similar complaints about "conversational style" that many authors think helps with pedagogy but it really doesn't. (You can explain things terribly while using a conversational tone, and likewise, explain things clearly with a serious tone.) I'll save that criticism of that for another essay.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Dummies-Lifestyle-Mark-Ryan/...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Head-First-Networking-Brain-Friendly-...