I have completed basic calculus 1,2,3 courses, Linear Algebra, etc. I have not, however, got into rigorous Analysis yet, which I am planning to do now. I have three books in mind. They are :

Terence Tao - Real Analysis

Apostol Mathematical Analysis

G.H Hardy's Course of Pure Math

I HAVE NEVER BEEN INTO RIGOROUS PROOFS EVER BEFORE.....I DID CALCULUS AS COMPUTATIONAL SUBJECT MAINLY. However, I am determined to learn Real analysis. I can also use other subjects in conjunction with real analysis like Modern Algebra, etc or I can do real analysis first and then after? I AM TO DO SELF STUDY AT HOME ONLY. I DO NOT HAVE MONEY TO PAY MY TUTION FEES OF COLLEGE

Anyone who has gone through these books, kindly help me with selection or whether these books can be used simultaneously and stuff like that. I will be glad.


  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you have had little or no exposure to rigorous proofs, you might want to begin with a book such as Velleman's How to Prove It before studying analysis in earnest. There's also Alcock's recent How to Think About Analysis to help you make the transition from calculus. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ If these aren't your only options, then you may want to consider Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis. In my experience, it's a pretty standard introduction to analysis. $\endgroup$
    – AJY
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @JW Thanks .... $\endgroup$
    – Taylor Ted
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 20:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You might also want to take a look at Stephen Abbott's Understanding Analysis, I am also using it for self study. $\endgroup$
    – Kurome
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 5:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I suggest that as a beginner Apostol's Calculus I will be very good. $\endgroup$
    – user170039
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 4:22

3 Answers 3


Apostol's Mathematical Analysis for a beginner? No way! You'd be bored to death presumably, and also you'd be scared, which is not at all good if you are beginning the subject.

Among these three, I would go for Tao's Real Analysis. The reason is simple: I don't want to be intimidated by a subject I am about to learn. A lot of mathematical topics need good exposition, and Terence Tao is a brilliant writer, it seems.

G.H.Hardy's book is good, but old-fashioned.

See, the point is, you need a book that will act as a mentor, that will firmly clasp your hand and guide you through the depths of the subject. I was fortunate enough to get a brilliant professor who made Analysis a cakewalk, which is really not so simple to teach.

Hence I would suggest a combination of Bartle-Sherbert and Tao if you want to begin understanding what Analysis is all about. You can enter the advanced topics presented in these books as well.

And once you are confident enough, you can go through Apostol or Rudin, who are invariantly the masters. But, it's like learning magic: you need to first learn basic, easy tricks before you can turn into a good magician. Keeping this in mind, if you follow what I said, things will be easier.

A lot of undergrad math is pure rigour, which produces a sense of completeness and satisfaction after a proof, but can seem too abstract or useless to someone who has not undertaken a thorough course. Calculus courses help in computation of integrals, finding clever substitutions, etc. but in real life, it rarely matters now. You'd try your hand at a hard Integral computation only if you have nothing else to do; otherwise, talking practically, you'd just look up Wolfram Alpha.

All the best.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer . I will start Bartle-Sherbert and Tao togethor .. $\endgroup$
    – Taylor Ted
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ I second Bartle-Sherbert. It will be hard at first, but don't get discouraged. $\endgroup$
    – snar
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ On the contrary, I feel Bartle Sherbert is quite elementary, replete with illustrious examples. It is acc. to me one of the easiest texts available. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @LandonCarter: all the texts you mentioned are elementary. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Of course. I should never expect that a person who understands Calculus well is immediately good in Analysis. A thorough treatment of Analysis from the elementary stage is required. I have seen many in my college life who were superb in Calculus but repeatedly got backs in Analysis papers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 2:20

In my opinion, the best introductory book to real analysis is Berberians's A First Course in Real Analysis.

The content in the book is much lower than it is in Rudin's book.

I see that you have been suggested Tao's book by Landon Carter. I do not mean to undermine his suggestion in anyway. Tao's book, if I recall correctly, defers most of the proofs to the exercises. For someone who has never seen rigorous proofs before, reading such a book might be a bad idea, especially if you do not have a friend who you can readily go to whenever you get stuck.

Berberian's book is a really gentle introduction to the subject and in my opinion very well written. Just check that book out and decide.

As for starting Modern Algebra simultaneously, it would be a good idea to start group theory from Herstein's Topics in Algebra.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes you are absolutely correct. But, I think among all books, Tao "explains" things well. For the rigour to be developed, the reader has no option other than to look at a real Analysis book or take help from a professor. I have seen many undergrads struggling with how to prove things. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ +1 by the way :) Have not read Berberian but have heard about it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. :)$\phantom{xx}$ $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @LandonCarter will i be able to do proofs left over by Tao after understanding material (preceding) .Is this why you have suggested bartle along with it ? $\endgroup$
    – Taylor Ted
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Read Tao as a story book, then read Bartle Sherbert, learn how to start proving, then revert to Tao and try to solve the examples. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 13:38

A book is said to be well-written if it is properly addressed to the audience for which it is directed to.

In my opinion, take a look at a list of some free but well-written texts available online. Perhaps, you will see some that match your taste.

Here is a list: http://www.freebookcentre.net/SpecialCat/Free-Mathematics-Books-Download.html.



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