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Customer Review

on March 19, 2004
I had been seeking a book on differential geometry for self-study, as a preface to learning general relativity. A seasoned mathematics friend recommended Kreyszig.
So, I waded in, and patiently made my way through every page of the first six chapters, working the problems along the way, at a pace of a few pages per day. Now that the journey is behind me, I can say that I appreciated this book. It compares favorably to some other texts I had tried reading, with less success.
I realize that the author's approach is an old-style classical one, with a reliance on specific coordinate systems and transformations between coordinate systems. To work the problems requires a fair amount of paper and pencil work. Nonetheless, this approach worked well for me. On those occasions when my reading bogged down, inevitably there was a good reason. If I went back carefully, re-read and pondered, doodled on paper, and tried to visualize what Kreyszig was describing, it always worked! The light would soon go on, usually with a pleasurable sense of discovery.
I went back to re-read certain sections of the book to refresh my memory, and realized how elegant the writing is. Crystal clear, right to the heart, and always trustworthy. Everything follows in a gentle persuasive way; there are no jarring leaps or gaps.
Additionally, I had a nice sense of the different flavor brought to the field by the French geometers who made many of the key advances around the turn of the 19th-20th century.
Finally, the summary of key results and equations at the end is very smart and helpful.
Since finishing Kreysig, I did find it helpful to push on and try to grasp these same ideas from the standpoint of one-forms and the coordinate-free approach to tensors. But I'm not sorry I came at the subject this way first.
I do recommend this book, and think that a beginner needs only a moderate amount of stamina and patience here.
A postscript -- the book is also beautiful. I like that in a math book.
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