Authors: Knut Sydsaeter and Peter Hammond
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Mathematics is an essential skill for many disciplines at university and is ingrained in modules in economics and business. Students commonly have an enormous range of mathematical background and aptitudes and many will have difficulty with these elements of the course. Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis is designed to train economics students in the vital mathematical tools used in the study of economics and could serve as a useful reference aid after the basics have been mastered throughout your university career.
The book covers a wide variety of topics but focuses on the key areas that tend to crop up time and again in economics courses. It starts by covering the foundations, which will serve either as a useful reminder for those with a mathematical background or as a means to learn the basics for those who haven't.
Once the fundamentals have been mastered, you are left to study chapters that are relevant to the modules you may be studying in economics. Other areas covered include single variable calculus, optimisation theory with and without constraints, matrices and techniques in mathematical programming.
The way the material is presented is particularly impressive and will help students absorb it simply by reading through a chapter. If you are in need of motivation to study the maths, each section starts with an introduction highlighting the areas of economics where the skills are put to use. Key ideas are surrounded by a blue box that allows students to scan the pages to remember the concepts. The pages are filled with diagrams, tables and graphs to illustrate the techniques and avoid you getting too bogged down in mathematical formulae.
The text includes problems at the end of each section and a mixture of review questions at the end of each chapter. Students struggling to attempt the questions can check back to the many examples provided or request the Student's Manual, which provides more detailed answers, a facility often lacking in other textbooks. This may be very useful if you are using the book for self study as the model answers will be explained in more depth.
I would recommend this book to any economics students with a phobia of mathematics. It provides the means to train yourself effectively and will add a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts of economics, which can only translate to a better chance of exam success.
Who is it for? Primarily economics students but could be equally useful for a business studies undergraduate.
Would I recommend it? Certainly, if you struggle with the mathematics behind the particular economics you are studying.
Presentation: Clear, concise and built for quick reference.