Questions in which books play a key-role, such as questions on antique books, e-books, difference between various editions of a book, etc. For questions asking for recommendations of books on some subject the tag textbook-recommendation is often more suitable.

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97
votes
22answers
10k views

Why do so many textbooks have so much technical detail and so little enlightenment? [closed]

I think/hope this is okay for MO. I often find that textbooks provide very little in the way of motivation or context. As a simple example, consider group theory. Every textbook I have seen that ...
94
votes
35answers
13k views

Books you would like to read (if somebody would just write them…)

I think that the title is self-explanatory but I'm thinking about mathematical subjects that have not received a full treatment in book form or if they have, they could benefit from a different ...
86
votes
33answers
51k views

Best Algebraic Geometry text book? (other than Hartshorne)

I think (almost) everyone agrees that Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry is still the best. Then what might be the 2nd best? It can be a book, preprint, online lecture note, webpage, etc. One suggestion ...
83
votes
41answers
26k views

Where does a math person go to learn quantum mechanics?

My undergraduate advisor said something very interesting to me the other day; it was something like "not knowing quantum mechanics is like never having heard a symphony." I've been meaning to learn ...
81
votes
28answers
14k views

Are there other nice math books close to the style of Tristan Needham?

Hello, I've been very positively impressed by Tristan Needham's book "Visual Complex Analysis", a very original and atypical mathematics book which is more oriented to helping intuition and insight ...
62
votes
54answers
14k views

Free, high quality mathematical writing online? [closed]

I often use the internet to find resources for learning new mathematics and due to an explosion in online activity, there is always plenty to find. Many of these turn out to be somewhat unreadable ...
61
votes
13answers
12k views

Statistics for mathematicians

I'm looking for an overview of statistics suitable for the mathematically mature reader: someone familiar with measure theoretic probability at say Billingsley level, but almost completely ignorant of ...
60
votes
28answers
8k views

Where does a math person go to learn statistical mechanics?

The more math I read, the more I see concepts from statistical mechanics popping up -- all over the place in combinatorics and dynamical systems, but also in geometric situations. So naturally I've ...
58
votes
61answers
23k views

Favorite popular math book [closed]

Christmas is almost here, so imagine you want to buy a good popular math book for your aunt (or whoever you want). Which book would you buy or recommend? It would be nice if you could answer in the ...
56
votes
34answers
6k views

Books about history of recent mathematics

I draw on this question to ask something that has always been a pet peeve of mine. It is very easy to find books about the history of mathematics, much less so if one wants books about the recent (say ...
54
votes
61answers
8k views

Old books still used

It's a commonplace to state that while other sciences (like biology) may always need the newest books, we mathematicians also use to use older books. While this is a qualitative remark, I would like ...
46
votes
49answers
9k views

Books you would like to see translated into English.

I have recently been told of a proposal to produce an English translation of Landau's Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen, and this prompts me to ask a more general question: ...
41
votes
13answers
4k views

Erratum for Cassels-Froehlich

Edit 25 April 2010: I have a physical copy of the new printing of the book. I can only assume the LMS is now selling it (but have no details). IMPORTANT EDIT: THE RESULTS ARE IN! Ok, the deadline has ...
36
votes
26answers
12k views

A Book You Would Like to Write

Writing a book from the beginning to the end is (so I heard) a very hard process. Planning a book is easier. This question is dual in a sense to the question "Books you would like to read (if somebody ...
32
votes
96answers
31k views

Undergraduate Level Math Books [closed]

What are some good undergraduate level books, particularly good introductions to (Real and Complex) Analysis, Linear Algebra, Algebra or Differential/Integral Equations (but books in any undergraduate ...
28
votes
17answers
6k views

Computer Science for Mathematicians

This is a big-list community question, so I'm sorry in advance if it is deemed too soft but I haven't seen anything similar yet. I've seen computer scienctists post questions looking to learn things ...
27
votes
11answers
8k views

Homological Algebra texts

I would like to hear the communities' ideas on good Homological Algebra textbooks / references. The standard example is of course Weibel (which I'll leave for someone else to describe). As usual, ...
27
votes
6answers
6k views

Good lattice theory books?

A recent answer motivated me to post about this. I've always had a vague, unpleasant feeling that somehow lattice theory has been completely robbed of the important place it deserves in mathematics - ...
26
votes
32answers
5k views

What out-of-print books would you like to see re-printed?

It's excellent news that the LMS are to re-publish Cassels & Fröhlich. There are many other excellent mathematics books which are just about impossible (or at least very expensive) to get hold ...
26
votes
16answers
24k views

Linear Algebra Texts?

Can anyone suggest a relatively gentle linear algebra text that integrates vector spaces and matrix algebra right from the start? I've found in the past that students react in very negative ways to ...
25
votes
65answers
7k views

Fiction books about mathematicians? [closed]

What are some fiction books about mathematicians? It seems to me rather difficult for writers to create good books on this subject. Some years ago I thought there were no such books at all. There ...
24
votes
14answers
3k views

Essential reads in the philosophy of mathematics and set theory

I am graduate student and have a decent understanding of logic and set theory. Recently I have got interested in the philosophy of mathematics and set theory. I have read a number of papers by ...
24
votes
13answers
23k views

Good differential equations text for undergraduates who want to become pure mathematicians

Alright, so I have been taking a while to soak in as much advanced mathematics as an undergraduate as possible, taking courses in algebra, topology, complex analysis (a less rigorous undergraduate ...
24
votes
9answers
5k views

Introductory text on geometric group theory?

Can someone indicate me a good introductory text on geometric group theory?
22
votes
3answers
3k views

Elementary Number Theory Text from a Categorical Perspective

My question is somewhat similar to this previous question, but from a slightly different perspective. Is there any textbook on elementary number theory that develops the properties of $\mathbb{Z}$ as, ...
22
votes
8answers
7k views

Undergraduate roadmap to algebraic geometry?

Hello, I'm sorry if this question isn't posted correctly. I hope that it is (since other questions regarding roadmaps have been allowed). Now to my question: From what I've heard from professors and ...
21
votes
14answers
5k views

Learning LaTeX properly

I have never learned how to use Latex properly. Whenever writing a paper, I use hacks to override behavior of the underlying template. What would be an intermediate to advanced book on learning how to ...
19
votes
8answers
4k views

How to start Game theory?

Hi everybody, I recently got interested in Game Theory but I don't know where should I start. Can anyone recommend any references and textbooks? And what are the prerequisites of Game Thoery? Thanks ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Classification of (compact) Lie groups

I would like to study/understand the (complete) classification of compact lie groups. I know there are a lot of books on this subject, but I'd like to hear what's the best route I can follow (in your ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Papers better than books?

Not so long ago I took a class called "Discrete analysis". I remember that I couldn't find any "novice" level material on Mobius functions in combinatorics. So then I went to the roots and read Rota's ...
17
votes
15answers
14k views

Good Algebraic Number Theory Books

I have just finished a master's degree in Mathematics and want to learn everything possible about algebraic number fields and especially applications to the generalized Pell equation (my thesis ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Number theory textbook based on the absolute Galois group?

I've just finished reading Ash and Gross's Fearless Symmetry, a wonderful little pop mathematics book on, among other things, Galois representations. The book made clear a very interesting ...
16
votes
17answers
3k views

Which book would you like to see “texified”? [closed]

Let's see if we could use MO to put some pressure on certain publishers... Although it is wonderful that it has been put online, I think it would make an even greater read if "Hodge Cycles, Motives ...
16
votes
12answers
1k views

Insightful books about elementary mathematics

What are some books that discuss elementary mathematical topics ('school mathematics'), like arithmetic, basic non-abstract algebra, plane & solid geometry, trigonometry, etc, in an insightful ...
15
votes
29answers
11k views

Alternative Undergraduate Analysis Texts

Other than the standard baby Rudin, Spivak, and Stein-Shakarchi, are there other alternative and comprehensive analysis texts at the undergraduate level? For example something that has general results ...
15
votes
19answers
3k views

Favourite scholarly books?

What are your favourite scholarly books? My favourite is definitely G.N. Watson's "A treatise on the theory of Bessel functions" (full text). Every single page is full of extremely precise ...
15
votes
11answers
9k views

What to do with antique math books?

My grandfather had a PhD in math. When he died, he left a lot of math textbooks, which I took. These include things like Van der Waerden's 2-volume algebra set from the 1970s, "Studies in Global ...
15
votes
9answers
4k views

Mathematics and autodidactism

Mathematics is not typically considered (by mathematicians) to be a solo sport; on the contrary, some amount of mathematical interaction with others is often deemed crucial. Courses are the student's ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Famous exercise from Lang's Algebra

There's a famous story about an exercise from Lang's Algebra that says something along the lines of "pick up a homological algebra book and prove all of the theorems yourself". I cannot find it in ...
14
votes
19answers
11k views

Good combinatorics textbooks for teaching undergraduates?

Hello, can anyone recommend good combinatorics textbooks for undergraduates? I will be teaching a 10-week course on the subject at Stanford, and I assume that the students will be strong and motivated ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

What are some good group theory references?

I'm curious about what books people use for a group theory reference. I don't currently own a dedicated group theory book, and I think I'd find such a book very helpful in my research. What is your ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Matsumura: “Commutative Algebra” versus “Commutative Ring Theory”

There are two books by Matsumura on commutative algebra. The earlier one is called Commutative Algebra and is frequently cited in Hartshorne. The more recent version is called Commutative Ring ...
14
votes
0answers
611 views

Horrible sets and blowups in Hubbard's Teichmuller theory

Edit: I can rephrase this question this way: When blowing up every point in the $x$-axis in $\mathbb{C}^2$ by means of an inverse limit of finite blowups, how can anything be 'left over'? The horrible ...
13
votes
9answers
9k views

A book for problems in Functional Analysis

Hello everybody, I want to know if there's any book that categorizes problems by subjects of Functional Analysis. I'm studying Functional Analysis now a days and I really need to solve some problems ...
13
votes
1answer
874 views

Devlin's “Constructibility” as a resource

It is fairly well-known among set-theorists that Keith Devlin's 1984 book "Constructibility" has flaws in its initial development of fine structure theory. (See Lee Stanley's review 1 of the text for ...
13
votes
1answer
294 views

Which tools can identify scholarly papers that use the same types of equations?

Many types of equations are being used in multiple contexts, so a search for specific formulas might be one way to identify scholarly papers that are conceptually related. Is any website or tool ...
13
votes
1answer
581 views

Website to help track recent research level mathematical book publications?

I'm responsible for recommending purchases of research level monographs to my university library. My job would be vastly simplified if I could find a website (say) that made it easy to scan a list of ...
12
votes
17answers
24k views

Suggestions for a good Measure Theory book

I have taken analysis and have looked at different measures, but I am currently looking at realizing a certain problem in a different light and feel that I need a better background in various measures ...
12
votes
19answers
8k views

Textbook recommendations for undergraduate proof-writing class

I am teaching the proof-writing class (for the 3rd time) in the Fall and plan to buck the party line and use a different text than the default Bond and Keane. My parameters are as follows: Logic, ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Euclid with Birkhoff

I'm looking for an short and elementary book which does Euclidean geomety with Birkhoff's axioms. It would be best if it would also include some topics in projective (and/or) hyperbolic geometry. ...