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The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics

Leonard Susskind, George Hrabovsky · 3 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics" by Leonard Susskind, George Hrabovsky.
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Amazon Summary
A master teacher presents the ultimate introduction to classical mechanics for people who are serious about learning physics "Beautifully clear explanations of famously 'difficult' things," -- Wall Street Journal If you ever regretted not taking physics in college -- or simply want to know how to think like a physicist -- this is the book for you. In this bestselling introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur. Challenging, lucid, and concise, The Theoretical Minimum provides a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
If you have the freshman/junior Halliday-Resnick stuff down I'd suggest jumping right in. Susskind's Theoretical Minimum (https://theoreticalminimum.com) is excellent, he has a lot of videos online. I'm using the book version (https://www.amazon.com/Theoretical-Minimum-Start-Doing-Physi...) for self study.
Some of these folks could probably benefit from reading a book that I just bought: The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need To Know To Start Doing Physics.

https://www.amazon.com/Theoretical-Minimum-Start-Doing-Physi...

It's a cool book... written to be relatively accessible, but is actually grounded in the real principles and math used in physics. As somebody who considers himself an autodidact of sorts (in that I'm as much self-taught as formally educated), but who has some awareness of "what I don't know" (and therefore doesn't sit around coming up with crackpot theories about quantum mechanics and what-not), I love this kind of stuff.

One of the authors is Leonard Susskind who is pretty credible. This is a book that is serious, but succinct (as you might guess from the title). Note that there is also a companion volume that is specifically about Quantum Mechanics. https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Mechanics-Theoretical-Leonard...

All of that said, I do think it's important to note (as others already have) that "autodidact != crank". Plenty of autodidacts are just people who study physics (or whatever) because they find it interesting, but they are aware of their limitations and don't pretend to have amazing new insights that have escaped physics for decades, etc. Likewise I'm pretty sure you can find cranks who have a formal education as well.

gaur
> The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need To Know To Start Doing Physics.

Terrible typesetting, by the way. I have no idea what imbecile thought it was a good idea to use a version of Garamond where the italic letters don't even have the same slant. Looks disgusting.

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vacri
The last paragraph of the article says the same as the last paragraph of your comment, that autodidacts aren't necessarily cranks.
Aelinsaar
When I first started asking friends about SR/GR, they pointed me to 'Gravitation' by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler. I really appreciated the "dual track" nature of the book, and for a long time it acted as my "What do I need to learn next, to understand the concept I was trying to read about?"

Many times, I've tried to get other people interested as I was to pick it up, and I've noticed something; the ones who want a textbook tend to stick with it. The ones who take a look and say "No no, I don't want all of that technical stuff", don't actually want to learn, they just want to magically know.

I'll never have the knowledge or abilities of a graduate student in this field, but I think there's value in learning what I can, while (in a positive way) knowing where I am in relation to the field I'm interested in.

And stay away from pop-sci, it does more harm than good once it gets you interested in science.

mindcrime
When I first started asking friends about SR/GR, they pointed me to 'Gravitation' by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler. I really appreciated the "dual track" nature of the book, and for a long time it acted as my "What do I need to learn next, to understand the concept I was trying to read about?"

Looks like it's out of print? Used copies on Amazon are north of $150.00. Shame... luckily a pdf is "out there" for those who are willing to circumvent copyright law.

Aelinsaar
I think the authors would appreciate you learning more than you giving money for an out of print book, that probably doesn't net them (or their estates) a dime. It really is a good read, and the first book that really helped me to begin to understand the Schwarzschild geometry, just what the hell a "4-vector" was, and in general how many mathematical concepts relate to heuristic ones.
GregBuchholz
Here's a couple of tips for getting books like that when they are otherwise not "out there". Try an inter-library loan from your local library. Chances are there is a library out there somewhere which will lend it to you. Also, on the out-of-print books on Amazon with sky-high prices. You'll note that all of the listing agents have tens to hundreds of thousands of feedback reviews. Usually there are several of those that have automated bots that keep their offering at the lowest price. So you merely create a listing to sell it yourself, slowly walk it down in price, and watch the bots follow you down. When it gets to a low enough level, buy it and cancel your own listing.
mindcrime
Usually there are several of those that have automated bots that keep their offering at the lowest price. So you merely create a listing to sell it yourself, slowly walk it down in price, and watch the bots follow you down. When it gets to a low enough level, buy it and cancel your own listing.

Hey, that sounds like a pretty nifty idea. I'll look into that down the road. Thanks!

Dr_Jefyll
> autodidact != crank

This. Unless you consider Charles Darwin, Oliver Heaviside, James Watt and Thomas Edison cranks. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as you can see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_autodidacts

j2kun
That being said, there are cranks on that list.
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