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I'm trying to decide which one to pick up to begin a self study of mathematics. One of the factors is how much content is covered and the amount of associated solved problems the book has.

EDIT:

Lets said my goal are go after something like this course doing it self studding. Pls, take just the linked course as a way to define goals more than define content. Seem to me that this book is a good one, but I really prefer hear someone else opinions before decide.

The existence of collection of exercises with its solutions is a plus due to the self learning constrain ;)

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To a great extent, this is going to depend on what country you're in. Also, the most widely used text may not be the best text for you, since a text often becomes widely used when it offers something for everyone, offends no one (i.e. isn't difficult), and is great for no one. –  Dave L. Renfro Feb 20 '13 at 20:33
    
Thanks for you reply. Lets said my goal are go after something like this course doing it self studding. Pls, take just the linked course as a way to define goals more than define content. Seem to me that this book is a good one, but I really prefer hear someone else opinions before decide. –  gsc-frank Feb 20 '13 at 20:45
    
I first thought that a slightly more comprehensive book by James Stewart might be better for you, but given that you want to "go after" the MIT pure math sequence at some later time, I think Axler's book would be much more suitable for you than what you suggested or the Stewart book: Sheldon Axler, Precalculus: A Prelude to Calculus (2008). –  Dave L. Renfro Feb 20 '13 at 21:38
    
There is a 2nd edition, 2012 edition of Sheldon Axler's book available. However, there do not seem to be any reviews of the 2012 2nd edition at amazon.com, so you'll want to look at 2008 1st edition for reviews. –  Dave L. Renfro Feb 20 '13 at 21:47
    
Thanks Dave. Can you give me some reasons regards your suggestion? I mean, in what way your suggestion is tie to the fact that I want "go after" the MIT pure math sequence? Just for knowing... Thanks again. PS. If you reply my question, I could select your reply as The Reply. –  gsc-frank Feb 20 '13 at 22:05
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Given that you want to "go after" the MIT Theoretical Math Option at some later time, I think Sheldon Axler's Precalculus: A Prelude to Calculus (2008) [see here for the 2012 2nd edition] would be a better choice than what you suggested, which was Larson's Precalculus.

Sheldon Axler is the author of Linear Algebra Done Right, a text well known for its no-nonsense readability and which is frequently cited in math StackExchange, and so without even looking at Axler's Precalculus book, I felt sure it would be a good fit for someone who is aiming to eventually study the MIT Theoretical Math Option. Moreover, this initial feeling of mine about Axler's book was strengthened after I looked at its table of contents, at some of the amazon preview pages, and at the reader reviews at amazon (thus far, only the 2008 edition has reader reviews). One of the strengths of Axler's book that I saw mentioned a lot was its use for independent study, which also fits your situation.

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