cliff's notes for college?
April 17, 2008 12:31 PM   Subscribe

i want something sort of like this, only more to my liking. recommendations, please.

for the last few years i have been slowly collecting a few textbooks here and there. i have been wanting to beef up (review) my knowledge of subjects such as algebra, calculus, world history, american history, physics, biology, chemistry, and some others. with many of these subjects, i have basically had high school classes and some lower-level college classes. and, except for a few calc and music courses i took a couple years ago, its been 6 or 7 years since any of my college courses.

anyway, i have maybe 8 or 10 good texts amassed, but in the few years ive been doing this, i have yet to sit down with any of the texts and study. i eventually get to most of the other books i buy, but the texts seem kinda overwhelming.

so what im looking for is a really good series that would basically be like a cliffs notes for each of these subjects, a sort of summary. for example, i have a calc text that i like. i was imagining what if someone took out each chapter summary, and then beefed it up with some of the chapter content. it wouldnt be quite as concise as a textbook chapter summary, but would be much more concise than a chapter.

obviously, as with cliffs notes, i think not much value would come from this summary being your only source of information on the subjects (except perhaps as an introductory stepping stone - as in the OUP series).

so anyway i did find this series of books mentioned in this thread, and it actually looks awesome, but i was really hoping there was something out there that might be better suited to my needs.

for example, that series has only one book on math. sounds like a great book, but i would also want a few more specific ones.

i realize wikipedia is a decent source for some of this knowledge, but man, i get lost in all those links.

some subjects i would love to read up on:

advanced calculus
electrical theory
basic electronic theory
basic mechanical engineering
environmental science
information science
cognitive science

and, as mentioned above:

world history
american history

any recommendations on a great series of books will be much appreciated. Thanks!
posted by gcat to Education (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
SparkNotes produces little laminated print guides called "SparkCharts" for pretty much every subject imaginable: Accounting, Programming Languages, Shakespeare, German Grammar, Music Theory, Physics, etc. You can buy them at Barnes & Noble, or view, download, and print the entire lineup (in PDF form) on their website.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2008

(Not as beefy as a booklet, no, but it packs a surprising amount of the fundamental info on each subject into a compact, easy-to-digest form. Also, if you want to get a deeper treatment of any one topic, there's a directory of study guides in the top navigation bar of the site.)
posted by Rhaomi at 1:37 PM on April 17, 2008

The "Introducing" series might be what you're looking for. They're written in a graphic-heavy format, though, like graphic novels, but about nonfiction stuff. Still, They're surprisingly informative, as the authors are experts in their fields.

I know there's Logic and Philosophy editions, and I think there's a calc one
posted by Kronoss at 1:55 PM on April 17, 2008

Response by poster: thanks, rhaomi and kronoss.

im thinking the sparknotes are a little less info than i wanted, but i will certainly be checking them out. and the Introducing series seems very interesting. i wonder how it stacks up against the Very Short Intro series.
posted by gcat at 4:30 PM on April 18, 2008

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