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Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:26 am UTC
by Pathway
Greetings, xkcd! I come to you with a question about analysis textbooks.

I am taking an analysis course next semester. There are several different sections, each under a different professor. I've already selected classes for next year, and I chose the professor with the best time slot. I just found out that all exceptthe one I chose use Principles of Mathematical Analysis by Rudin. Mine uses Advanced Calculus by R. Creighton Buck.

Now, Buck has pretty good reviews on Amazon. Ignoring the stars (which are very good), it seems it's a solid text. As for Rudin, it gets rave reviews and I imagine you already know more than I do about it.

Is it worth switching from ~1PM to ~9:30AM, just because Rudin is being used at 9:30, with a [ed: slightly] better professor?

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:36 am UTC
by marginally_stable
I would be suspicious of anyone NOT using baby Rudin. Rudin+better Professor=FTW.(although, early morning=FTL..:-P)

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:48 pm UTC
by Cleverbeans
All other thing's being equal it's always worth switching to get a better professor. Personally I picked up Rudin because the resources on the MIT OpenCourseWare site use Rudin so it gave me some supplementary material to work with. Now if you're too lazy to make class on time at 9:30am it's better to take the afternoons because a bad professor is better then no professor at all.

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:01 pm UTC
by aneeshm
I'm not a mathematics student, just a humble Computer engineer who dabbles in pure mathematics for fun, and I'd say Rudin + better professor FTW. Mostly for the better professor part. You can always self-study your way through a different book as supplemental if you're sincere, but better professors are priceless. Note that I have not, in fact, used Buck, but have read through some of Rudin, and it seems to me to be pretty good iff you have a good professor. That's why I've bought another (Simmons', which is a bit off-topic, but I like it) book to do the "hand-holding" which a professor does, so that I can switch between them for different levels of learning.

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:44 pm UTC
by Fafnir43
Also, analysis can be one of those courses that's the mathematical equivalent of running headlong into a brick wall, especially if you haven't done much pure maths before. If you don't already have at least a passing knowledge of the important concepts, then I would strongly recommend taking the course with the best professor - it's substantially harder than (say) calculus, and if you have a bad professor you will get stuck at some point. 9:30 sucks though... :-(

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:44 pm UTC
by Pathway
Skill of the professor isn't really a big factor. They're both supposed to be pretty bad.

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:50 pm UTC
by leigao84
Unfortunately first year analysis is not something you can actually teach yourself. I say pick up Rudin, go to class everyday, pay attention, and work on some supplementary materials online while you can. One thing great about Rudin is that since it's so popular, there are many many solutions of its problems on the interwebs. You'd just have to know were to look.

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:21 pm UTC
by marginally_stable
leigao84 wrote:Unfortunately first year analysis is not something you can actually teach yourself. I say pick up Rudin, go to class everyday, pay attention, and work on some supplementary materials online while you can. One thing great about Rudin is that since it's so popular, there are many many solutions of its problems on the interwebs. You'd just have to know were to look.


http://at.yorku.ca/cgi-bin/bbqa

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:01 am UTC
by leigao84
9:30 is not that bad! Try waking up at 7am in the morning to work for IT Computer Labs in the morning then make it to 8 am classes. Now is it a Tu/Th class or a MWF class?

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:57 pm UTC
by 4=5
I find that the strength of the book matters hardly at all, all the difference in learning will be on the strength of the professor

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:04 pm UTC
by Qoppa
4=5 wrote:I find that the strength of the book matters hardly at all, all the difference in learning will be on the strength of the professor

This. With the right professor, you may not even need to open your text for anything but practice problems. Also, depending on the prof you may be able to get away with taking the course with the prof that uses Buck, but buy and use the Rudin text instead.

Re: Analysis Textbooks: Rudin vs. Buck

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:57 am UTC
by romulox
Neither of the two analysis courses I took as an undergrad had a text. The professor taught using the Moore method and a constructivist approach and each week handed out a new sheet of theorems for everyone to prove. The pace was slow; we started with basic set theory, then sequences, limits, functions, continuity, differentiation, integration (type a and b) and a little bit into logarithms with a few topological theorems included. Participation in the class was the most important part. You will not learn analysis by reading about it in a book, but rather by doing the theorems and getting into the math. Definitely worth getting the "better" professor. The book in the end is mostly irrelevant.

one of my profs used to always say, "math books are for people who already know how to do the math."