Mathematics Books, Free to Good Homes

For a peculiar reason,* we have inherited a very nice collection of mathematics texts. They are mostly calculus/engineering texts and advanced applied mathematics, but there is a range, and there are a number of classics.

We are now looking for homes for these books. So, take a look at the photos below, and comment (or email me), indicating what you might like. Also feel free to pass on the offer to whomever you think might be interested. Here are the rules:

1) There are no rules: this is Calvinball. We’ll make it up as we go along.

2) The books are free, but you could consider making a donation to Tenderfeet. If you’re in Melbourne, we can arrange pick-up or drop-off, and otherwise I can mail the books, and we’ll figure out the postage somehow.

3) You can request as many or as few books/categories as you wish, with whatever levels of enthusiasm and specificity seem appropriate.

4) It is definitely not first come, first served. I’ll do my best to handle overlapping requests in a reasonable manner, with some preference given to starving students.

5) Would you like fries with that? If you express interest in a book, I might suggest similar books from the pile.

6) Most of the books should be identifiable from the photos, but feel free to ask for further details on any book. The books are roughly sorted into topics, so if you cannot identify a book, it’ll probably be similar in content to its neighbours.

7) See Rule 1.

Go for it, and thanks.

*) People are stupid.

UPDATE (06/01/21) 

Thanks to everyone for contacting me. There are plenty of books still up for grabs, and people are still welcome to make requests. In a couple days, I’ll look to rationalise the requests thus far, and I’ll contact everyone to arrange the handovers.

UPDATE (09/01/21)

OK, I think I’ve replied to everyone who has requested books, to arrange pick-up/drop-off. If you think I missed you, please give me a nudge with a comment below. (There are still plenty of unclaimed books, particularly on mechanics, and modelling and the like.)

UPDATE (15/01/21)

OK, all the books have now been assigned. The plan is for one big Traveling Salesman tour of Melbourne on Wednesday 20/1. So, unless other arrangements have been discussed, please reply to my email to you, to confirm there’s a safe place to drop the books if need be.

FINAL UPDATE (04/02/21)

All done! All the books have been picked up or delivered or mailed. Along the way, it was great to meet, or re-meet, a bunch of you guys. (Hopefully the mailed books will arrive shortly, if they haven’t done so already. I’m sorry, but it was prohibitively expensive to mail them with tracking.)

Thanks to all of you who offered a home for these excellent but otherwise-God-knows-where books, and I hope they’ll be of interest and use. Thanks also, very much, to those who donated to Tenderfeet.

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PHOTO 19 (last one)

61 Replies to “Mathematics Books, Free to Good Homes”

  1. Hi Marty!

    These look wonderful.
    However, there are too many texts to choose from! I’m especially keeping my eye out on an engineering maths text + a probability related tests. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi, Tsui. I’ll definitely put something aside for you. Also let me know what you’re studying and aiming for. A number of the calculus and engineering texts are standard and decent. As an incoming uni guy, it’s definitely worth your while having a few of these on your desk. None are a stand-out to me: my favourite calculus texts are not there, and I never taught “engineering mathematics”, so am less familiar with those. There’s no probability texts in the pile.

      1. Hi Marty,

        No problem. I plan to take the double degree option of Engineering+Science with a mechanical engineering major in mind down the road. Hopefully that narrows down some options.

        -Tsui

    2. Tsui, The best book on probability – and arguably mathematics – is Feller, W. An introduction to probability theory and its applications (VOLUME 1).

      1. I agree, TM. It’s a classic alright. But the inclusion of “introduction” in the title is very misleading. There is plenty to learn from it but it does require very careful reading and some mathematical courage in many places. I would not consider it an introductory textbook suitable for a first course in undergraduate probability (so Tsui M should exercise caution in how s/he approaches this textbook).

        Comment: Marty, you’re offering an absolute feast of textbooks, many of which are classics (in my eyes, anyway!). A lot of these books are out of print and/or priced through the roof. I can hardly believe my eyes that there’s a copy of Goldstein’s Classical Mechanics and a first edition of Jackson’s Classical Electrodynamics. And Courant and Hilbert Vols 1 and 2. Holy cow! I sincerely hope all these books you’re offering find really good homes. They deserve it. Someone accumulated an awesome collection over the years. I’m guessing from the inclusion of Englefield (photo 4) that it’s part of the estate of a Monash academic who was teaching first year engineering maths in the 80’s.

        The appearance (photo 19) of the HBJ College Outline Series: Calculus book is really interesting and suggestive. I would highly recommend this book to any student doing a first course in undergraduate calculus as an extremely useful supplementary text. Also a useful and highly accessible supplement for teachers of Maths Methods and Specialist Maths. I will point out however that it does not contain differential equations.

        1. JF: I bought many books when I was an undergraduate that would serve me well in the future.

          We used Feller as a text book when I was in second year. I have used chapter 2 as a course on combinatorics for an undergraduate student – plenty of material there for a term. I vaguely recall that Feller was the set text for first year honours students at Monash in 1968.

          But you are right: the word “introduction” could be misleading. Once I taught at TAFE and we were given special money for equipment to assist us with teaching. What equipment could I buy as a mathematics teacher? I argued that our equipment consisted of books. My manager agreed – provided I bought books that were introductory rather than advanced. So I have a nice hard-back copy of Feller’s “Introduction” vols 1 and 2.

          As for price of books, when I was an 2nd year undergraduate, I won a prize of 100 dollars for books. I was required to buy books that were relevant to my education. So I bought all the mathematics books that I wanted and still did not get to 100 dollars; I asked all my lecturers what they would buy – then I bought the books they recommended. Still got only to 90 dollars. Since I was a BA student, I bought a lovely book of Michelangelo’s sculptures for about 10 dollars.

          Next year I won 50 dollars in the same prize; I bought Principia Mathematica (hardback).

          1. Those were the days, TM. I suspect that even after adjusting for inflation, your $100 prize would struggle to buy more than a couple of 2nd Yr textbooks nowadays. I expect price to reflect the academic work behind a textbook, but it seems nowadays that the main factors controlling price are small print runs, an average window for sales of perhaps 2-3 years and (maybe) diagrams and other visual elements sourced from third parties.

            The worst culprits are secondary school textbooks, where new editions of a popular textbook render the inventory of used books for that textbook obsolete. So there’s a natural tendency for publishers to generate new editions on a regular basis. This is the biggest scam of all, aided and abetted by moronic changes to Stupid Designs and Yr 7-10 curricula.

            1. These days, many academic mathematics books (almost all as far as I can tell) are print-on-demand. The author writes the book with a \LaTeX template, produces the .pdf, and the publishers provide a cover when needed. And even the covers are not well done. Recently I bought a book where the cover did not close properly. I complained to the editor of the series, and he explained that all this was due to print-on-demand; he too had complained to the publishers.

              Recently I bought a book on education published by a major publisher. The text was written by experts. But the publisher had decided on a grey font rather than black, and this makes it difficult for me to read. I complained to the lead author – he had already complained to the publisher. All that scholarship marred by a printing decision.

              1. Books, like all things educational, are dying out. That’s exactly how I wound up with this pile: no one appreciates the value of books, the value of a library. Students are expected to just shut their minds and fill in their fifth rate skeleton notes.

                And bookmaking, like all crafts, is dying out.

              2. Amazing. Who in their right mind would make a decision to print in grey font rather than black? But I’ll bet toothpicks to arrows it was cheaper. But I don’t think too much scholarship would have been marred in this instance 😉

                I’ll sometimes buy textbooks from University bookshops (the ones that still exist, that is) but usually I’ll buy on-line. And once upon a time I loved going to Borders in South Yarra to browse and buy. An amazing experience. Their academic sections (Mathematics, Physics etc) outstripped by a country mile anything else I’ve ever seen (including the gone and probably forgotten McGills in Elizabeth St or Technical Book Shop in Swanston St).

                I haven’t encountered the problems you’ve mentioned – yet. But … I did unfortunately meet print on demand a few months ago when I bought on-line what I thought were some old paperback novels – very annoying because (a) I wanted the original books, and (b) the inconvenient size (150% larger by area than a book). It was not made clear I was buying print-on-demand and not the original books.

              3. Terry, you forgot one step in the process. You wrote “The author writes the book with a \LaTeX template, produces the .pdf, and the publishers provide a cover when needed”. You forgot that the publisher takes the author’s latex code and fiddles with it, producing a new pdf that almost certainly has something broken. The author has to check everything, and I mean -everything-, and must bear in mind that the publisher’s people who fiddle with the latex and grammar increasingly have latex and English as a second language, and who aren’t scientists.

                I had a paper published recently that had its latex changed by the publisher, who converted my code to html so that the paper could be shown on-line. (But why?! The pdf is available for download anyway.) In the process, raw latex code appeared in my equations, and the odd paragraph got split into two separate paragraphs, because the publisher had moved the code for my figures around–apparently to be compatible with the pageless html–and then casually left blank lines in my code, which latex interprets as the start of a new paragraph.

                This broken version was then placed on-line for download, and only then was I asked to check it! The equations eventually got fixed, but I didn’t try to get them to fix all the paragraphs, in case they broke something else in the process. (I had actually been successful in getting some of the paragraphs fixed earlier, so that maybe only two remained broken. Don’t forget that they would’ve placed each new version on-line, and only -then- asked me to check it. Enough’s enough.) I guess there are now some readers out there who think that I’m inattentive enough to write latex with raw code visible in the middle of an equation.

                Latex doesn’t always do a good job rending subscripts, and so I put a lot of effort into crafting some decent-looking ones. The result seems to have been too hot for the publisher to handle. Although my latex renders fine in the pdf, the font in the on-line version has completely backfired, and looks ridiculous. So, in my attempt to make something render better than generic latex, it ends up on-line looking far worse than generic latex. How ironic!

                1. Thankfully, Burkard’s and my experiences with LaTeX submissions have been much saner. Perhaps closer to the heart of mathematics, where LaTeX became standard and much loved much earlier, common sense is more common.

      2. Hi Terry,
        I did already have a look into that book as Marty has recommended it to me before- but based off reviews, it is apparent that it is a notoriously hard book. The title seems misleading.

        1. The title is hilariously misleading, and it’s plenty advanced for someone just escaping the push-button nothingness of VCE, but it’s not a hard book.

          1. I wrote a book “Problems in Probability”, now in its second edition.

            I am now writing “Statistics for mathematics teachers” which I hope will be free and only 50 pages. … That’s the plan.

          2. Hi Terry,

            I was referring to “An introduction to probability” by William Feller. I have read reviews online about the book and it seems the title is laughably misleading, with the book being an advanced probability text.

            1. Thanks Tsui.

              Whether Feller I is advanced depends on one’s point of view. My view is that it is not suitable for high school students; it is suitable for some undergraduate students in mathematics. Feller does use series, the exponential function, and matrices, but he does not use differential or integral calculus (apart from the concept of a limit) because the work is focussed on discrete distributions. I would describe Feller I as sophisticated rather than advanced.

              Feller II is advanced. However, in my view, the best advanced book on probability is A.N. Shiryaev’s “Probability”.

              Unfortunately, Feller I is now quite expensive. These days, students are not exposed to books of this quality, and may find reading them difficult.

          1. As I recall, Kreyszig wrote a book on mathematical statistics; I met him once when he came to Bendigo to give a talk.

          2. Hi Steve,

            I am familiar with one of Kreyzig’s works. I dug up some old storage stuff and found the 6th edition used by my mother back in her university days as a chemical engineering student. I have spoken to Marty, and according to him, the edition number isn’t that important.

            The only annoying bit is the 6th edition is in poor condition throughout the years!

            1. Tsui,

              Your right the edition number is of little importance. He writes well with plenty of examples to reinformance the ideas

              Steve R

              BTW I still have Kreyszig’s Introductory Mathematical Statistics Principles and Methods from my university days and most of the statistical principles described have not changed …just the possible methods to be used on the data.

  2. Hi, Julie. Alas, there are no old school-level texts there. Unfortunately, good old school texts (i.e. texts that are old enough to be good) are very difficult to find: they are considered worthless by most people, including used book stores, and are just thrown away. There are some decent, but not great, calculus texts in the collection. No Spivak, etc.

  3. Marti,

    What a treasure trove …

    If you don’t get a better offer I would have an interest in the Speigel texts (Schaum outline series)
    and one of the undergrad texts on either numerical analysis ,ODE , PDE or engineering mechanics

    Steve R

      1. Marty,

        Engineering mechanics ( last photo in the Schaum outline series )

        Open to recommendations by email on numerical analysis,PDE and/or ODE texts

        Steve R

  4. Hi Marty
    Happy 2021 and all that …

    Could I make a bid for the Erdelyi tomes. (I spent some time working with him which put me off mathematics for some years.) They are the 3 vols “Higher Transcendental Functions” and the 2 “Tables of Integral Transforms”. I’m also interested in the Dieudonne book and the nearby “Spectral Theory”.

    PS: Did any of our readers witness the confrontation in Melbourne between Dieudonne and Russell Love. Dieudonne was the self-proclaimed greatest mathematician in the world. I wasn’t there and don’t know what the point in issue was, but Simon Rosenblat reported that Love had the better of the argument. Traditional analysis 1, functional analysis 0.

    1. Wow. I would love to know more about the Love-Dieudonne fight. I’m no fan of the hyper-general French approach, but I think Love may have won the battle and lost the war.

      Bah, humbug to you too, Tom. Your requests have been noted.

  5. I too have been clearing out my bookshelves in recent years. I start by getting rid of those I definitely don’t want to keep; then I move onto those that I probably don’t want to keep; eventually I start to cut to the bone.

  6. Seeing these books en masse in Marty’s photos, I’m reminded of how libraries have taken a hit over the last few years. The library in my own research institution was closed some time ago. (I won’t name my institution, to spare us all the prospect of a 6 a.m. door-knock by four henchmen wearing sunglasses.) My institution’s Supreme Leader decreed that books are no longer necessary, because–don’t you know–everything is available on-line these days. This closure correlates well with a big decline in our research output, with many good researchers quietly rolling their eyes and retiring, taking their knowledge with them forever.

    I suspect that this closure, and other weird practices in academic institutions these days, are the result of how-it-should-be-done talks given by business schools. These talks are attended by senior managers of all manner of institutions, who want only to show that they are implementing “world’s best practice”–whatever that stupid phrase is supposed to mean–as they hunt for their next higher-paying job, leaving only smoking ruins behind them. For some strange reason, business schools now get to tell us scientists how to practise our craft. I think that in decades to come, people will look back at the first years of this century as a time when science declined heavily as libraries were killed off, with generations of books flowing outward, never to return, in a one-way increase of entropy. The famous burning down of the library in Alexandria two millennia ago will be nothing, in comparison to this modern spectacle of businessmen who casually take their cigars and use them to set fire to our libraries.

    1. Don, your comment makes me very sad. Because everything you’ve said is true. The photo affected me the same way. Once upon a time a library would welcome the donation of such a collection.

      I’d love to shove some books where they don’t fit up your Supreme Leader and his/her accomplices. Without libraries, we will lose a mark of our civilisation.

      1. Library stories

        When I was an undergraduate I used to love working in various libraries; sometimes they were in older buildings and pleasant to work in, and I would almost never meet anyone I knew in e.g. Agriculture Library.

        I gather that most libraries – even municipal libraries – no longer accept donations.

        When I am in a school, I check out the library. In one school, the library had no mathematics books at all. So I bought some for them to get them started. In other schools, I find only a small number of mathematics books and no particularly exciting ones.

        Another story … well, it’s too upsetting for me to recall let alone repeat.

        1. The current anti-book culture is insane. There were God knows how many people/institutions/shops who were offered the books above before they came to me. They only came to me because the person, who I don’t know that well, was desperate to get rid of them. Utter madness.

    2. Thanks, Don. Obviously closing a library entirely requires an extra level of fuckwitting, but pretty much all “libraries” are being converted into book-free, computerised hellholes. It’s insane and disgusting and, the moron VC-CEOs will be First Against the Wall. But, it’s not just them. Students, and way too many “academics”, see nothing wrong with this.

  7. hello Marty!
    I don’t really know what im looking for in mathematic books but I plan to do Actuarial Science and Applied mathematics, any books relating to those that you could reccomend?

    1. Hi, Elvin. Are you just entering first year? There’s not really anything in the actuarial-probability category, but some of the applied-modelling books look good. I’ll look to put something aside for you. Can you please email me, so I can contact you once the dust settles?

  8. Hi Marty – if the Knuth books are still available (e.g. Metafont), I would be very interested. You can give them to Tom tomorrow and he will pass them on to me.

    1. Hi Martin. Tom seems to have gone AWOL. Maybe email me if you want to arrange pickup. I’ll be aiming to clear the books out very soon.

  9. Spivak counts; why wouldn’t he? Once I taught a course on differential equations from the book by Simmons; beautiful.

  10. HI everyone ,
    I am looking forward to request for mathematics books for Ghanaian students.
    Access to books is a problem in Ghana. I would be please if anyone here can direct me to where I can get free mathematics books for Ghanaian students.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi, muumin. Alas, I can’t be of much help. I just had the one pile of books come to me, and am not generally in the business of re-homing books.

      I will see what I can do, although the cost of shipping may be prohibitive, even if I could locate the books and organisation. Are you looking for school textbooks, or university textbooks?

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