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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Re: Re: Re: simple set operations


On Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 04:17:45AM -0400, Murray Eisenberg wrote:
> Let's see: 300 to 600 pages constitutes a substantial chunk of Wolfram's 
> "The Mathematica Book".  Are you prepared to read that much of his book? 
>   If so, you would surely have found out what you needed to answer your 
> original question:

well of course, but that's not the point of a 'nutshell' book - the point
is to get people up to speed really quickly on a technical subject by 
skipping the exposition and cramming the book with the most important, core
concepts.  Its ratio of ideas to text is very, very dense. 

I've looked at the mathematica book before. Its comprehensive, yes,
but it is very wordy, and it has 'featuritis' - since it has to concentrate on 
everything, it can't focus on *anything* so there is no idea of what's the most
basic ideas at the core of the system, and what is more advanced.

And it weighs in at 5.2 pounds(!), with 1500 pages, so it isn't really a book
that you can use as a readily accessible table reference.

> ToExpression appears on page 428; MemberQ appears on page 124.  (I refer 
> to printed version of the edition for Mathematica Version 5.)

yes, and like I said, its a simple matter of actually finding these 
needles in this particular haystack.

> Of course whatever you read in a "Nutshell" or other such condensed 
> treatment, the chances are great that later, if not sooner, you'll have 
>   a problem that cannot directly be solved by what's there and that will 
> require putting together a bunch of stuff, or using sophisticated 
> techniques, etc.

well, of course, but your argument seems to suggest that there is only
one type of book that's worth writing - the comprehensive book. I'd say that
to reach everybody you should have at least a 'learning mathematica' book,
a 'mathematica reference' book, a 'mathematica tips and tricks' book, etc. etc. etc. 


Trying to shove all that stuff into one volume isn't doing Mathematica, or the
users of mathematica, any good..

Ed


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