by Ron Larson

Larson Texts, $50.95, 576 pages

Remember in elementary school when math ‘books’ were colorful, relevant, and (mostly) fun to work in? Professor of Mathematics Ron Larson allows both young folks and grown-ups to go back a bit—before the algebra manuals and pages of figures dedicated to one trig problem—to once again explore the daily uses of basic math. The ‘elementary’ feel of the book is not a mistake, nor apologized for. Larson designed his “textbook” well, with modern images and nods to social networking, but above all, shone his focus on real-life application for the exercises, from figuring out how much tile to order for your bathroom remodel, to taking control of one’s grocery spending in a DIY fashion… no fancy budget software needed. Each chapter summary has a “How Does It Apply To You” section to help one analyze their own taxes, understand how muscle strength is effected by exercise, and even calculate the probability of your unborn child’s eyes being green. The exercises are varied and worded in an intriguing manner, clearly designed to pull the reader in to actually remember the examples presented.

If nothing else, this book proved ideal for renewing a student’s interest (regardless of age) in exploring the many faces of applicable mathematics. Find more information about the book at

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