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on 27 June 2013
It's difficult to see who this book is aimed at. I really enjoyed it and learnt a great deal, but then I've completed 3 years of undergraduate education in physics. Perhaps it would be best for a 1st year university level physicist, one who's completed a couple of courses in calculus, or perhaps a brave A-Level student.
I've deducted a star though, because the book is rife with errors. Just have a look at the errata at madscitech.org, it's huge. Spelling mistakes are fine but errors in equations can really lead you astray.
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on 10 July 2013
The material covered in this book is just right for those with a desire to re-acquaint themselves with the fundamentals. The reason I have marked it down is that it is poorly produced in terms of the printing. In this day and age it is simply not good enough not to be able to produce formulas in perfect form especially as this is of prime importance in a book containing quite a lot of mathematical expressions. I have also picked up a few mistakes which should have been detected in proof reading. My guess is that the book was produced cheaply and in a hurry.
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on 16 January 2014
If you've tried to watch Leonard Susskind's on-line lectures you will know its really difficult to follow along without his notes. Of course it all makes sense as he says it. But he writes on a succession of boards and then refers back. At that point, without the notes you can become lost.

I thought this book would be a proxy for the notes but one that can be read independently. And it is, and it has the material. The problem to watch out for is that an issue is laid out and the foundations prepared then an equation will appear which is supposed to explain everything but it doesn't. It's a step too far. It's like there's a missing link. So in this sense it is frustrating because then its necessary to go to another book or web site to find the connection.

It also presents problems but the solutions are not in the book. They are on-line in a PDF which you have to download and print out separately. Why?

This could be a great book. After some revisions it may well be but not at the moment. It's written by someone who is good at Physics, for whom this all makes sense. I think George is not able to see when the leaps he makes, which are just common sense to him, are a challenge for the person trying to gain that sense.
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on 22 March 2016
As a non-physicist, non-mathematician with a strong interest in both disciplines, I have tried to get to grips with quantum mechanics for years. I can get my head around the subject qualitatively, but have come to the realization that I am lacking the math to understand it quantitatively, so at the ripe old age of 69 I decided to try to get into the required math. This book is a godsend - it starts at a level I am familiar with from my college years, and goes on to explain the fundamentals of classical mechanics in a way that I was never taught, at a level within my capabilities. The videos of Susskind's accompanying lectures on YouTube are great. I am looking forward to reading the Quantum Mechanics version of the book with great eagerness.
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on 17 November 2015
This is a book that will appeal to anyone who has never studied physics beyond GCSE. The text is refreshingly clear and takes the reader on trip through the basics of classical mechanics in a very readable style. Susskind tackles the mathematics of calculus in a practical way cutting out the rigour and unecessary
baggage found in more formal texts. Having covered Newtonian mechanics he very quickly introduces the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian view, with just enough math to grasp the essentials. The overall aim is to provide the reader with insight to his other book, Quantum Mechanics a Theoretical Minimum. If you have a passing interest in the subject and do not want to plough through a two year math course then this book fulfills the purpose. Examples and exercises are provided throughout which can be tackled by anyone with basic high school math skills.
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on 2 July 2015
Susskind is a master at teaching complex physics theory in an easy to understand way - he's even better than Feynman
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on 17 March 2013
Having an undergraduate background in maths from 45 years ago I was very pleased with the way the book reminded me and updated my understanding of the subject but, and it's a big but, the formulae have been reproduced at such a small size that for example the dot representing a time derivative is a single pixel. This and all the formulae cannot be easily read except in a very good light or by using the back light at maximum. (To forestall some obvious remarks, my eyesight is quite a lot better than standard and has been recently tested.) Some of the material requires concentration and puzzling over exactly which symbol has been used is a considerable distraction. Enlarging the font makes no difference, presumably because the formulae have been reproduced as images. I have not found any which could not have been reproduced at twice the size without upsetting the page layout. This is such a problem that I was tempted to assign two stars.
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on 23 September 2014
What a rip-off. I ordered this Basic Books version at the same time as I ordered "The Theoretical Minimum: Classical Mechanics" (Penguin). After browsing through the physics book, I thought that it was more a mechanics book than a physics book. I then had a look at the Classical Mechanics book and it looked very similar to the physics book. They are the same books, but retitled and issued by different publishers. The preface of the physics book even contains the line "Welcome, then, to The Theoretical Minimum - Classical Mechanics".

The books themselves, including the Quantum Mechanics book, look quite good at first glance, but it's a one start rating for the re-naming of the book.
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on 4 June 2015
Friendly and yet thorough and rigorous i.e. a pure challenge.

It's advisable to study the book in parallel to the excellent video series (same title), as both are nicely interconnected.

An interesting route in Susskind's on-line courses would be :

1. Classical Mechanics
2. Quantum Mechanics
3. Special Relativity
4 General Relativity
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on 10 May 2014
A PhD in Applied mathematics and a distinction in my chemistry degree for my quantum mechanics paper did not enable me to follow clearly the derivation of the least action principle, why it was relevant (other than an assertion that it was) and how Lagrange's equation was derived. Even knowing how to do it myself did not enable me to follow the reasoning employed on pages 112 and 113. A simple series of steps, explaining the underlying mathematics aids reasoning and insight like nothing else. Give it a try guys, your book sales will go stellar.

This last aspect (of Lagrangian mechanics) is crucial for understanding how Newtonian mechanics works and the derivation of the equation jumps in first and starts. I would not recommend this book for the novice to Lagrangian mechanics (which really is quite simple if well explained).
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