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Re: Mathematica GuideBooks

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  • Subject: [mg61942] Re: [mg61916] Mathematica GuideBooks
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 01:52:36 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On 4 Nov 2005, at 19:11, Steven T. Hatton wrote:

> Are there any special discounts if we purchase the Mathematica  
> GuideBooks
> together?  Have any of you used these?  Care to comment on them?

I have already commented on this here more than once, so this time I  
will be very brief. I use them all the time and I think they are  
great. But whether you or anyone else will like them depends a lot  
how you use Mathematica and for what purpose.

I read the complete Guidebooks just once, in a pre-release version.  
Since then I have returned to them on numerous occasions, but in  
about 90% of cases I return to study solved problems or look at hints  
and suggestions for exercises. I think these are the most valuable  
thing about the book. You can find there a treasury of interesting  
ideas, some of which must have taken Michael many hours of thinking  
and experimenting.  Of course this will be true only for persons  
whose principal interest lies in applying Mathematica to solving  
problems in mathematics or mathematical physics. In this respect the  
Guidebooks are in a class of their own. In fact, as far as I know  
there is nothing that remotely compares with them in respect of the  
width of the range of serious problems tackled with the help of  
Mathematica. The Guidebooks are also great on graphics, particularly  
those related to more advanced mathematical topics.
But if you are interested primarily in the programming language  
itself or in issues related to the FrontEnd, typesetting, MathLink  
etc, then you had better look elsewhere. (Actually the GuideBooks are  
pretty good on Kernel programming, but the well known book of David  
Wagner goes deeper).

Andrzej Kozlowski

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