Calculus for the Common Man

It’s no secret that most kids today are scared to death of math and calculus. But they’re actually quite easy…as long as you don’t let modern school teachers “teach” you any of that “new math” nonsense. If you want to kick it old school, there’s no better way than to teach yourself calculus with Thompson’s Calculus for the Practical Man.

This book was catapulted to world renown when Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman, recounted using it to teach himself calculus when he was 13. Feynman credited his success in calculus to having taught himself and to some of the unorthodox methods presented in this book. Sometimes, when others couldn’t even approach a problem, a method he had learned here made the problem almost trivial.

If you are at all interested in Calculus, don’t let your first experience be in a classroom setting. You owe it to yourself to teach it to yourself. This book was “old” when Feynman read it, so it’s a bona fide classic today. Rest assured, there is no new math here.

(One word of warning: Calculus is a perishable skill. I passed the AP Calculus BC exam with a 5 and then taught myself multivariate calculus while at the Air Force Academy. Within a year of leaving the Academy, I had already forgotten many of the more advanced techniques, simply from not using them. I do remember the basics, but I would have to put in some serious study to replicate that 5 now.)

Conservative Reading Room

I participated in a debate at school on which political philosophy is more Christian, liberalism or conservatism.  I’ve included some books and articles for your reading pleasure as well as some websites.

Primers and Essential Reading

  • P.J. O’Rourke, Eat the Rich
  • P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores
  • P.J. O’Rourke, All the Trouble in the World
  • Tom Coburn, Breach of Trust
  • Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose
  • Humberto Fontova, Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him
  • Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
  • Thomas Stanley and William Danko, The Millionaire Next Door
  • Roy Spencer, Climate Confusion

Online Articles for Quick Access


Further Reading:

  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
  • Jim Powell, FDR’s Folly, How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression
  • Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
  • Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed
  • Thomas Sowell, Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
  • Thomas Sowell, Affirmative Action Around the World
  • Humberto Fontova, Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant
  • Llewellyn Rockwell, Speaking of Liberty (free at
  • Richard Viquerie, Conservatives Betrayed
  • Alan Gottlieb: Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense
  • Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers

If you want to Feel Really Smart

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
  • Clayton Cramer, Armed America
  • Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
  • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America