David Mytton

Book Review (3/5) – The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics (Leonard Susskind, George Hrabovsky)

Published in Book Reviews.

Originally published on Goodreads.

It would be useful if these “introduction to…” style books came with a “assumed prerequisites” list because whilst this may be a minimum you need to understand key physics principles, it is certainly not the minimum needed to understand how they are formed and described. 

In this book, all the principles are described in mathematical terms. That is a pure approach to physics but doesn’t help much if you have limited mathematical background. The more complex concepts like integral calculus and partial differentiation are explained but in a “quick review” format which seems more appropriate as a refresher for someone who has already studied them previously.

If you have a solid understanding of maths then this is probably a good introduction to the maths of physics. If you want an actual introduction to physics then I recommend The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol 1 instead, which doesn’t get into maths until Lecture 4 and even then doesn’t start to use more complex maths until Lecture 6.