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Mathematician's Delight (Dover Books on Mathematics)

W. W. Sawyer · 4 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
"Recommended with confidence" by The Times Literary Supplement, this lively survey starts with simple arithmetic and algebra and proceeds by gradual steps through graphs, logarithms, and trigonometry to calculus and the world of numbers. Generations of readers have found it the ideal introduction to mathematics, offering accessible explanations of how theory arises from real-life applications."The main object of this book is to dispel the fear of mathematics," declares author W. W. Sawyer, adding that "Many people regard mathematicians as a race apart, possessed of almost supernatural powers. While this is very flattering for successful mathematicians, it is very bad for those who, for one reason or another, are attempting to learn the subject." Now retired, Sawyer won international renown for his innovative teaching methods, which he used at colleges in England and Scotland as well as Africa, New Zealand, and North America. His insights into the pleasures and practicalities of mathematics will appeal to readers of all backgrounds.
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In addition to all the other good suggestions, the following are recommended (have not seen these mentioned so far);

- Concepts of Modern Mathematics -

- Methods of Mathematics Applied to Calculus, Probability, and Statistics - (all books by Richard Hamming are recommended)

- Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach -

For a Textbook reference, the following are quite good;

- Mathematical Techniques: An Introduction for the Engineering, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences - (easy to read and succinct)

- Mathematics for Physicists: Introductory Concepts and Methods -

For General reading (all these authors other books are also worth checking out);

- Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science -

- Mathematics and the Physical World -

- Mathematician's Delight -

> The OP is talking about teaching community college mathematics. That's not introductory university mathematics; if you are lucky it's Pythagoras' Theorem and quadratic equations.

W. W. Sawyer's books, such as Mathematician's Delight[1] and Vision in Elementary Mathematics[2], seem to be exactly for this audience.



I looked at the books. They seem really nice but are not feasible for use in the classroom for the courses that we teach.
I would agree with that statement.
That thread recommends many very few good books, but probably mostly books too hard at first for the participant who has posted this new thread.

I'll recommend a couple of books from that thread:

I agree with the recommendation of An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning in this thread.

Another participant has already recommended my favorite for background reading, Concepts of Modern Mathematics by Ian Stewart.

Get that right away.

Sawyer's A Mathematician's Delight is surely also good (I've read other books by Sawyer).

Read those for background as you get my favorite overviews of mathematics: Basic Mathematics by Serge Lang and Numbers and Geometry by Joseph Stillwell.

(Basic Mathematics is mostly high school level math, with a minimum of fuss and bother, and good exercises.)

(Numbers and Geometry is mostly undergraduate level math, with very good explanations and excellent exercises.)

Some years ago I took the same approach to start again from ground zero. I found Polya to be good, but a Mathematician's Delight is better and more accessible:
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