# What Is Mathematics? An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods

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What is Mathematics? http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Elementary-Approach-Ideas-...

A couple of recommendations (not specific to just Calculus):

- What is Mathematics? (Courant http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Elementary-Approach-Ideas-...)

- Calculus (Apostle http://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Vol-One-Variable-Introduction...).

- Mathematics from the Birth of Numbers (http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Birth-Numbers-Jan-Gullberg...) This book was written by a Swedish surgeon without any background in Mathematics. He started working on this when his son started attending university. A recommended read.

- The Calculus Lifesaver (Adrian Banner). This book is supposed to be a guide for students to crack their exams. But I found the book surprisingly informative. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8351.html

- Godel Escher Bach. I've read only the first couple of chapters. My interest in mathematics was rekindled to a great degree by Godel and the Incompleteness Theorem. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_G%C3%B6del#The_Incompleten...)

- http://us.metamath.org/. The concept alone makes me happy! Metamath is a collection of machine verifiable proofs. It uses ZFG to use prove complicated proofs by breaking it down to the most basic axioms. The fundamental idea is substitution - take a complicated proof, substitute it with valid expressions from a lower level and keep at it. It introduced me to ZFG and after wondering why 'Sets' were being taught repeatedly over the course of years when the only useful thing I found was Venn diagrams and calculating intersection and union counts, I finally understood that Set theory underpins Mathematical logic and vaguely how.

- The Philosophy of Mathematics. From the wiki: studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. It helped me understand how Mathematics is a science of abstractions. It finally validated the science as something that could be interesting and creative. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/philosophy-mathematics/

I think the Philosophy of Mathematics should be taught during undergraduate courses that has Maths. It helps the students understand the nature of mathematics (at least the debates about it), which is usually pretty fuzzy for everyone.

So, only two recommendations for you, one book, one website:

1) If I'm only allowed to recommend one math book to beginners, It'll definitely be:

What is Mathematics - by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins

Take a look at the review by Albert Einstein. Yes, Albert Einstein!

http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Elementary-Approach-Ideas-...

2)BetterExplained

This site explains math intuitively unlike the traditional formal approach.

http://betterexplained.com/archives/