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Math Encyclopedia – Great Reference Book

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Forty years ago, I bought a math encyclopedia. It’s been a great reference and a good investment in lifelong learning.

Not sure what got into me, but back in 1979 I bought the VNR Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics. Now, this was before I did my MBA and got really interested in math. Perhaps I had an inkling of what was to come.

Or, perhaps it was just the great discount I obtained through my book club. Remember them?

Van Nostrand Reinhold Company was a huge international publisher. This book was a translation of the original East German publication, which sold nearly a million copies itself.

The authors and editors understood that all aspects of life and learning benefit from a solid math foundation. Their encyclopedia was divided into three sections: elementary mathematics, steps towards higher mathematics, and brief reports on selected advanced material.

You can find used copies of VNR Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics at reasonable prices. Everyone who wants to expand their understanding of important math foundations should have a book like this one.

Math Encyclopedia Written for Intermediate Level Learners

You will find two very appealing aspects to this math encyclopedia. First, it is written for keen high school and undergraduate students who want to expand their understanding of all sorts of mathematics. Second, it does a great job of balancing theory and practice. You won’t get lost in the proofs and esoteric minutia. In fact, you can skip right over these.

VNR used color to separate content. Important definitions and formula are highlighted in yellow. Proofs are shown in red. And many examples stand out in blue. As with all math, you should be able to understand concepts both algebraically and geometrically. Words and pictures are two side of the coin.

In the word of the editors: “Our task was to describe mathematical interrelations as briefly and precisely as possible. In view of the overwhelming amount of material it goes without saying that we did not just compile details from the numerous text-books for individual branches: what we were aiming at is to smooth out the access to the specialist literature for as many readers as possible.”

Math is great once you get over your fears.

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