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Free Mathematics Books (e-booksdirectory.com)
122 points by georgecmu on Dec 9, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

Time is very, very precious. One piece of advice to learners: A math book takes a very long time to read. Optimize for "best", and best fit only. If it's free, good, if not, it's still ultimately the best return on investment! You can borrow it from a local library, much better to spend one hour doing that, than hundreds of hours on a sub par work. Good books are a good investment.

There is a best fit algorithm where you have to balance the tradeoffs of switching books for one topic.

For example lets say you're learning calc and you have a perfectly good book but the author's explanation of Green's theorem simply doesn't resonate with you. Yes, there's always wikipedia or mathworld or one of the online lecture series... but, if its free and fast and searchable, may want to try another book's perspective.

I took a EE type microwave class in the 90s where the instructor provided a lot of value by not specifying one textbook but gave us the best one or two photocopied pages from perhaps a hundred widely varying books. Sometimes the ideal textbook for a rare enough niche simply doesn't exist, or something like it existed but its 30 years out of date, or...

Free doesn't always mean good though. I recommend reading things that are rated well and reviewed properly by a community. I think that would be the most optimized way so you won't spend time reading books that don't explain things very well. You can always try other books if the one you're reading isn't explaining some parts very well though.

Exactly my point - you make it more clear: free != good. Must optimize for good. That kind of community would be great.

A guide to the "best" books would certainly be useful, in that case.

University professors often have a list of recommended reading on their websites. (Ad hoc I could only link to German ones, sorry.)

FYI: Most of these are not free books. These are PDF copies of books are most likely illegal in U.S. I agree, books are a good investment, so support the authors and buy.

That helped me find the following:


Thank you!

Whenever I see a collection of (e)Books, I have this urge to build something that functions the following way: You pick a topic out of the collection, the page tells you the prerequisites to understand the topic along with books covering that topic. For each book, it shows a tree of books, beginning with one that requires no prior knowledge up to a book that covers the topic. Something that shows you a "path to mastery". Do you think something like that is practical?

That's an interesting idea.

You may not like this, but I suggest another complicated dimension be applied like learning style. A concrete example of what I'm taking about is some people learn the quicksort best in prose / analogy, some learn it best in psuedocode, some learn the best in whatever language they are most comfortable in, and some would learn the best from graphical animation flowcharty type things. So its entirely possible the path to mastering the quicksort would be four different books for four different people. Of course you can "fix" that by simply having different paths to the same goal for different learning styles.

Even worse is people playing their own multidimensional games when mushed up against a multidimensional book. So is the little schemer series really a book about learning scheme or a book about learning programming or purely educational learning how to think? One book could quite easily end up in three totally different linked list / tree diagrams that you're proposing.

Purely from a startup business strategy idea, I suppose you have a guaranteed sale to some bookseller or another.

I'd use that. I've considered something similar for online classes, but there is no reason why it couldn't be all learning channels.

Thought about this a lot over the past few years. Feel free to email me (address in profile) and share ideas.

You should look at the intro to David Mackay's information theory book. It had something akin to what you're saying...

I was curious about this, Googled for it, found it freely available from Mackay's website.


Referenced table on page six of the PDF.

Thanks to both of you!

I want this. It reminds me a bit of KhanAcademys knowledge maps, on a higher level of course (https://www.khanacademy.org/exercisedashboard).

I wish I knew how to build such thing. In any event, your project would be immensely popular. Hopefully financially rewarding too!

Mathematics changes very slowly, so old books are just as good as newer ones. Up to the graduate level, you really don't need new books.

I recommend the Dover Books on Mathematics series:


I have the Dover 3-vol. Euclid. A classic!

I have the Dover Technical Handbook on Trigonometry - it's really amazing!

Huh. Everything from Blast into Math! to Holonomy Groups in Riemannian Geometry and well beyond, all jumbled up together in one big unsorted uncategorized list.

Or you could click the link in the top paragraph, that sorts them into categories.

"Click here if you prefer a categorized directory of mathematics books."

Has anyone read "The Haskell Road to Logic, Math and Programming"? Seeing it on this list reminded me that I had wanted to check it out.

I started the book and enjoyed the first few chapters. My recommendation is to learn Haskell before you read this book.

Where is it? I can't find it with control-f.

Hm, I've found at least a couple of these that link to Chinese sites that 404.

My guess is that not all of the books here are free. Some might just be available online if you're willing to perpetrate copyright infringement.

I was homeschooled in math thru high school, my Dad's approach was to give me 3-4 books on any subject and his own explanation, which usu involved partial diff eqs, which meant i had no idea what he was talking about. Now you can go that way with voluminous free materials on teh web

a really good list for machine learning and the prereq linear algebra and prob/stats: http://www.reddit.com/r/MachineLearning/comments/1jeawf/mach...

usu is internet for usually or something else?

torrent version of all these in zip format with better names found here: https://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/9321862

I'm afraid that doesn't exist any more.

I was surprised to not find SICM on the list:


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