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Calculus Made Easy (Free book)

By Murray Bourne, 25 Apr 2009

OK, it looks old and dusty, but Calculus Made Easy [PDF] is an excellent book and I strongly recommend it to those of you who are struggling with calculus concepts. It's also great for teachers, to give you ideas on how to explain calculus so it doesn't confuse the hell out of everyone. He quite rightly points out that many math text book writers are more interested in impressing the reader with sophisticated calculus techniques than explaining the basic concepts.

One of the early pages has:


In other words, this was one of the first ever "Calculus for Dummies" books. Thompson puts great effort into explaining what is going on, rather than jumping straight into the calculations. He humbly calls himself a "fool", but doesn't treat the reader as one.

He quotes from an "ancient Simian proverb":

"What one fool can do another can."

To give you an idea of how the book is written, in Chapter 1, "To Deliver You From the Preliminary Terrors", we read:

∫ which is merely a long S, and may be called (if you like) "the sum of." Thus ∫dx means the sum of all the little bits of x; or ∫dt means the sum of all the little bits of t. Ordinary mathematicians call this symbol "the integral of".

Now any fool can see that if x is considered as made up of a lot of little bits, each of which is called dx, if you add them all up together you get the sum of all the dx's, (which is the same thing as the whole of x). The word "integral" simply means "the whole".

The book is now copyright free. Grab the PDF: Calculus Made Easy.

[Thanks to Denise at LetsPlayMath for the link.]

See the 44 Comments below.

44 Comments on “Calculus Made Easy (Free book)”

  1. solarhene says:

    thanks so much for sharing this excellent book!

    best regards,
    an old fool

  2. Murray says:

    You're welcome Solarhene. I'm glad that you find it useful.

  3. ayuk federick besong says:

    i believe it can work and it will work

  4. Noor says:

    I'm so interested in re-learning calculus that I watched many different video tutorials, but I found this book summarizing Integral Calculus in its first 2 pages!

    Thank you so much!

  5. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I'm so glad I clicked on your link while viewing my friend Dana's blog. My 9 year old read it and was very excited that it made so much sense. He's currently taking Physics and some of the math problems were made to be so confusing so this will help him so much.

  6. lawal says:

    Good DAY SIR,i want to know how i can get this text book,calculus made easy.i am mailing from Lagos Nigeria.thank u sir.

  7. Murray says:

    Hi Lawal

    This is an e-book in PDF form (not a physical book). The link is in the article above, in the first line.

    You could print it out from the PDF if you would rather hard copy.

  8. D. Pal, India. says:

    Its a brilliant book. Thanks for sharing the book

  9. B Atchley says:

    Thanks for sharing this book! It will be a great tool for my independent study students!

  10. Winstone Kapanje says:

    Thanks for great job well done. Do the same with other topics such as trigonometry and complex numbers

  11. Judith Kanyama Chikoti says:

    the way you have started culculus is very interesting but how could one get the whole PDF paper?

  12. Murray says:

    Hi Judith. The link to the PDF is in the article above! Do you mean that you want a hard copy? You would need to print it yourself.

  13. jared okoth says:

    if every mathematics topic could be introduced the way this has, then i sure no one will think of maths as the hardest of courses.

  14. eduardo says:

    make me realize the math is easy

  15. Kaset One says:

    one of the greatest books.. many thanks for sharing with us

  16. Rod says:

    I was contemplating purchasing a course on dvd called "Calculus Made Clear" selling for $60.00 US. Then I decided to google "Calculus Made Easy" and found your link to this great book. I read the intro and was amazed at how easy it was to follow. I will continue to read the whole text! by the way, I was searching for books on calculus for my son so now we can read it together. Thanks!

  17. Murray says:

    You're welcome, Rod. Glad you found it useful.

  18. fatemeh says:

    i from iran and i don't english.
    ineed a study book reference and i have n't book english and i request from you that a link book free download for laplas, integral ,...
    thank you very much

  19. Murray says:

    @Fatemeh: I'll look for such materials and post it if I find any good ones.

  20. Piracha, J. L. says:


  21. prasad says:

    thanks! and great work which nobody cannot be appreciated for your effort for sharing such good book.

  22. Dalcde says:

    It can be downloaded at
    which is typed in LaTeX and the file size is reduced tenfold.

  23. Murray says:

    @Dalcde: Thanks for the tip!

  24. Nayyir says:

    if u r one of those looking to understand calculas at an elementary level,then u've got it here.Calculas Made Easy is indeed very helpful a book for those struggling to understand it as a do go for it , it is certainly one of the best materials available. go for it.have a nice maths day.

  25. Ian Thomson says:

    Hi :
    Thanks for the pdf on Calculus Made Easy.
    I have always been curious and terrified at the same time of calculus.

    Chapter One says it all. Getting past the fancy notation, helps a huge amount.

    Kind Regards Ian Thomson

  26. percival says:

    Hi! Ian,My name is percy and I teach Maths in grade 12. Please foreward me the calculus doc as I also struggle on calculus section.

  27. Murray says:

    @Percival: The link to the PDF is at the top (and again at the bottom) of the article.

  28. Joe Kenyon says:

    Dear Murray
    I am surprised and delighted to see my old Dear Friend Sylvanus P. Thompson here. As a very discouraged high school dropout I found an original hardback version at the rubbish tip site where I used to spend my spare time. I picked it up and the proverb just grabbed me. I read the book it and loved it. I went back to school and excelled at the age of 25. Now after 40 years in senior positions in Telecommunications in Australia my copy is very much treasured and repaired and again being used as I transition into becoming a teacher myself! The bit that initially grabbed me was "What one fool can do another can" I ask that you put that wonderful saying up on this site. It was so powerfuly encouraging it got me off the bad path I was on and led to a wonderful career and a wonderful wife and family. Imagine, it hardly seems possible that an ancient seven word proverb, repeated in one book by a man long dead could do so much good.
    I love this guy and would have loved to have met him.

    Kind Regards
    Joe Kenyon

  29. Murray says:

    Thanks for your inspiring story, Joe!

    I have included the quote in the article.

  30. sachin sharma says:

    I have been searching such work for past couple of months and at last I got here in the form of "Calculus Made Easy" May GOD Bless all who have made such efforts in preparing such an excellent book.

    Thanks to all.....

    Sachin Sharma

  31. drcobol2000 says:


    Thanks for posting this...and for free! While I struggled with math from grade school to grad school, I'm now a bit of a math junkie and books with subjects like this really pique my interest. I wish I could get my hands on an actual copy of that book for myself.

    One question comes to mind, though. I noticed there are two different dates in the front of the book that confuse me (I'm a sucker for old books). There is a date of 1914 in the preface and another of 1943 by itself on another page. Do you know which date was the actual date of publication? There isn't an actual copyright year specified and as I read through the text, the absence of that date combined with the style and choice of words lead me to believe this was a work from the early 20th century. I rely on a barely mediocre literary acumen to make that assessment, so take it with an enormous grain of salt.

    Thanks and best wishes!

  32. Murray says:

    @drcobol2000 The publication date would be 1914, as that's when he wrote the Preface to this second edition. So your "early 20th century" language observation is right on the button.

    I don't believe the "6-14-43" on the separate page is a date, since in the US, the date order is normally day then month. I suspect it's there to trigger thought.

  33. kevin says:

    Thanks you so much sir for this ebook 🙂

    I am an engineering student, and i am struggling with calculus.

    This book helped me a lot even though this book is quite old.

  34. Pyae Phyo Aung says:

    Thank you really really much sir. You help me a lot.

  35. punith says:

    thank u so much its very helpful

  36. rahillah says:

    hi Murry, thanks for sharing the brilliant book,hope you have a lovley day!

  37. Murray says:

    Glad you found it useful, Rahillah.

  38. Nae says:

    I'm not sure if it'll work but I'll give it a try. I'll write back at the end of the semester to let you know how it worked for me.

    Thanks 🙂

  39. gururaj says:

    Extremely thankful for uploading this book. My father left this book when he expired and I learnt calculus from this book. But I donated this book to some and later when my son started studying calculus I remembered this book and started searching. Once again thanks

  40. Murray says:

    @gururaj: You are welcome!

  41. Chandra says:

    I had to download it yesterday after I saw it mentioned by Richard Dawkins (the author of The Selfish Gene - another great book for inquiring minds) in his memoir "An Appetite for Wonder". I am glad I found it so easily in the Google search. This very old fool is very pleased, too. Thanks a billion! I wish I had seen it 55 years ago; but no problem, I loved calculus then after I saw its utility and I still do explaining it to high school students in a non-traditional approach. THANKS for uploading it.

  42. BOL says:

    Calculus made easy is the simplest book to understand in self studies.

  43. Ajay mulewa says:

    Sir please make such a book like this on trigonometry i am very stucked on this topic.not only me but also most of the students are stucked on it,thnx.

  44. Murray says:

    @Ajay: These chapters may help you:

    Trigonometric Functions

    Graphs of Trigonometric Functions

    Analytic Trigonometry

    Good luck with your studies.

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