Misteaks book cover


And How to Find Them Before the Teacher Does

To order this title, and for more information, click here

Undergraduate mathematics students and instructors.


Published: January 1989

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-174695-7


  • Contrary to what one would expect, he does not concentrate on common mistakes that students make but rather on contrived and sometimes farfetched errors...Written in a humorous vein that encourages one to realize that mathematics is very often enjoyable, even to the novice, the book contains sound advice that ithe student might heed in order to avoid unnecessary errors....This essay certainly helps to bring mathematics to its rightful place--the real world.

    Coping with mistakes attracts scant attention in textbooks. Misteaks classifies common faults and fault-detection methods in introductory calculus. Is the answer sensible? Check special and extreme cases, the geometry, dimensions, geometric and algebraic symmetry, etc.. All teachers must wish students would master the material in this entertaining yet serious book.
    This unusual, but very useful, how-not-to book is available in a second edition which eliminates most involuntary mistakes. Three well-known teachers have testified to its value: Barry Cipra has written one of the most entertaining pieces I have read in a long while. Whether you are in the process of learning calculus or teaching it, using calculus regularly or revisiting it, you will find this book a sheer delight. You will also find a lot of good advice about how to tell when your calculations have gone wrong.
    --Ross L. Finney, coauthor of Calculus and Analytic Geometry
    The title of this light-hearted and amusing book might well have been 'Going Grey in Elementary Calculus and How to Avoid It.' Changing the metaphor, Barry has hit the nail on the finger in hundreds of fine examples.
    --Philip J. Davis, coauthor of The Mathematical Experience
    How I wish that something like this had been available when I was a student!
    --Ralph P. Boas, former editor of THE AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL MONTHLY


  • Introduction. Note to Teachers. Note to Students. Integrals: The Power of Positive Thinking. Differentiating Right from Wrong. More Integrals (That's about the Size of It). Derivatives Again, and the Fine Art of Being Crude. Reducing to Special Cases. Dimensions. Symmetry (The Same Thing Over and Over). The "What Did You Expect?" Method. Some Common Errors. Suggested Reading.


advert image