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After 20 years of being a locksmith, I have decided that I want to get a college degree and I'll be starting next year! As part of my degree, I will be doing two math courses - one in calculus and the other in linear algebra.

However other than addition and subtraction, I don't know much else! I'll need to work my way through K - 12 math textbooks doing topics such as arithmetic, algebra, counting & probability, geometry, number theory, calculus, etc before even touching first year college calculus and linear algebra textbooks!

Could I please get some math textbook recommendations that are comprehensive, precise, proof-based and to the point? I have heard that some Russian textbooks do what I want but I'm not too sure about that. I do prefer textbooks as I am a bit old fashioned and aren't the best when it comes to using technology! Money also is not a problem so please recommend as many textbooks as needed! If it's better to have a textbook for each field in math then so be it!

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  • $\begingroup$ Why did you delete the personal story? I enjoyed that. :) $\endgroup$ Oct 16 '14 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ I thought no one would care about my personal story and just wanted me to get to the point. I've added it again :) $\endgroup$
    – user184775
    Oct 16 '14 at 8:16
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The best way to chose, in my opinion, is to ask the professor that will be teaching you the two courses.

This is because each person looks at things in his own way and thus also explains them in its own way. The way your professor explains things may be very relatable to one particular book, and in that case, it is your best bet to choose that book over others, even if others have more respected and well known authors.

In my case, my calculus professor wrote his own textbook which he then followed very strictly. I learned quickly that it is much easier to follow his book than any other.

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My standard answer is two oldies but goodies, and they are each under $15 US:

"Mathematics for the Million" by Lancelot Hogben, available at https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Million-Master-Magic-Numbers/dp/039331071X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473280043&sr=8-1&keywords=mathematics+for+the+million

"What Is Mathematics?" by Courant and Robbins, available at https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Elementary-Approach-Ideas-Methods/dp/0195105192/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473280145&sr=8-1&keywords=What+is+mathematics

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