Teach Yourself to Read Advanced Math and Science Like a Foreign Language
This post is from an Amazon.com list here.
I’ve basically taught myself to ‘read’ math as a ‘foreign language,’ from calculus on forward. That’s to say, I never took a calculus course (though I did tutor HS math for years, so I had a pretty solid foundation), but now I can read almost the most advanced math books and understand what they’re saying. That’s not to say I could solve problems and get the right answers, but I can follow when others do it (and in a pinch, I could find the way to get the right answers).
This has opened up whole new fields of math and science texts that would otherwise be off-limits as ‘for specialists only.’ And it all came from the books yous see below. I’m convinced ANYONE can teach themselves to read math as a foreign language. But math is so often taught poorly. These books do it right.
I’m not saying it’s easy, learning a foreign language never is. But eventually you start to get a sense of why mathematicians and scientists make the basic moves they do, like one would get a sense of the grammar or idiomatic phrases in a foreign language, what the symbols mean, what is generally assumed as already known, and it turns out that the basics are much easier than they seem. If only someone had written ‘advanced math for the rest of us.’ Till then, these books are the best things I’ve found yet, and they’re actually pretty great.