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# Classical Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum

## (Theoretical Minimum)

by

**A**

*Wall Street Journal*Best Book of 2013A world-class physicist and a citizen scientist combine forces to teach Physics 101—the DIY way

*The Theoretical Minimum*is a book for anyone who has ever regretted not taking physics in college—or who simply wants to know how to think like a physicist. In this unconventional introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist ...more

## Get A Copy

Paperback, 238 pages

Published
February 25th 2014
by Penguin
(first published 2013)

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## Community Reviews

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Start your review of Classical Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum (Theoretical Minimum, #1)

Sep 04, 2014
Manny
rated it
it was amazing

Recommends it for:
Anyone who really wants to understand physics

**Of Mice and Men and Generalized Conjugate Momenta**

They had been walking down the road since daybreak, but now the sun was high enough in the sky that it was starting to get hot, and they were pleased to see the little creek. They stopped and drank some water and splashed some more on their faces. Suddenly, Lenny looked at his friend.

"George," he said, "there's somethin' I gotta ask you. Why-- why're we here?"

George smiled. "Well," he said. "You know I don't hold with all that church talk. It jest ...more

Action/dx = d/dt(dLagrangian/dv)-dLagrangian/dx = 0: “The Theoretical Minimum - What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics” by Leonard Susskind, George Hrabovsky

Math is just a skill, like any other and not everyone can do it. What gets my goat is the "anyone can do anything if only they try hard enough "attitude. No, they can't. Some people are good at certain skills and not other, and others have different skills. I happen to be goo ...more

In order to get the most out of it you need to bring with you: some exposure to calculus (even if you are very ...more

Sep 10, 2014
Roy Lotz
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
ignorance-of-experts,
education

I’ve heard people wonder aloud (insofar as writing comments on the internet can be considered “aloud”) whether a layperson could understand this book. Well, take it from me, a certified layman, that it can be done; it is difficult, but doable.

Before the review, some advice. This book pushes forward quickly; the reader, especially the struggling reader, will be left far behind if she isn’t careful and thorough. The beginning lectures, up until about the middle of the book, I found fairly easy; ...more

Before the review, some advice. This book pushes forward quickly; the reader, especially the struggling reader, will be left far behind if she isn’t careful and thorough. The beginning lectures, up until about the middle of the book, I found fairly easy; ...more

Are you one of those people who enjoyed science at school or college, but ended up with a different career, still wondering what makes the Universe tick? Maybe you subscribe to Scientific American, follow news stories about black holes, and read reviews of science books in WSJ without quite finding enough meat to satisfy you. If so, The Theoretical Minimum is the book for you. The subtitle “what you need to know to start doing physics” sets out the authors’ stall, and the “minimum” referred to i ...more

May 24, 2014
WarpDrive
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-and-maths

This is a great book.

- Perfect level of detail: the book provides an accurate and elegant quantitative description of advanced classical mechanics based on the actual mathematics, but without being bogged down into un-necessary detail.

- The authors provide a rigorous mathematical treatment of the subject, but they manage, always, to beautifully highlight the elegance of the main concepts: for example, they make the reader thoroughly appreciate the beauty of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian appro ...more

- Perfect level of detail: the book provides an accurate and elegant quantitative description of advanced classical mechanics based on the actual mathematics, but without being bogged down into un-necessary detail.

- The authors provide a rigorous mathematical treatment of the subject, but they manage, always, to beautifully highlight the elegance of the main concepts: for example, they make the reader thoroughly appreciate the beauty of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian appro ...more

Dec 03, 2018
Tomislav
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science,
mathematics

In physics, I have found the word “classical” to be relative. While the entire content of this book is classical mechanics, that would mean everything before quantum mechanics and relativity. What I previously thought of as classical mechanics was what I had learned in engineering school many years ago - as done with that sort of calculus devised by Leibniz and Newton. However, that is preparatory, and before quantum mechanics, there is a necessary recasting of physical principles into Lagrangia
...more

I would recommend this book to anybody who wishes to develop (or rediscover) an in-depth understanding of classical mechanics. I do think, however, that fl ...more

Ch 1 does Simple Dynamical Systems and the Space of States. (I think the word 'simple' simply appears too many times in this book). Ch 1 has a math Interlude to quickly review/teach Spaces, Trigonometry and Vectors (vector notation, add/sub, lengths in 3-d, dot product).

Ch 2 does moti ...more

*thought*I knew), I have been looking for a way to refresh my knowledge. This little book is that way.

It's intended for people who have some mathematical background, and it is definitely not easy going, despite the lighthearted style of the book. You really do need to do the exercises, and it helps to watch th ...more

This is one of the best books to learn the math behind classical physics. Written beautifully by Stanford University Professor Lenny Susskind, and George Hrabovsky, it provides strong introduction to classical dynamics/Newtonian physics for college-level students of physics, chemistry, engineering, philosophy, and others interested in understanding the physical reality.

This book begins at the simplest level. It develops the basics and reinforces fundame ...more

Begins by proving by a original discrete method the deduction of Lagrange equ ...more

That being said, this ...more

This is not a book to be read in 4 days (I read this book in 4 days).

In the Preface to the book, Professor Susskind talks about how he felt an itch to help people ge ...more

Dec 06, 2014
Angie Reisetter
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-related

An elegant, well-written book. In the first 50 pages or so, Susskind introduces integral and differential calculus, as well as multi-variable calculus, so that he can conduct his discussion of classical mechanics on a high level, so that its beauty and simplicity is clear. I really appreciate this approach.

What baffles me is that this was a NYT bestseller. Who's reading this? The introduction to calculus is cursory -- I imagine it serves best as a review for those who have seen it before. And th ...more

What baffles me is that this was a NYT bestseller. Who's reading this? The introduction to calculus is cursory -- I imagine it serves best as a review for those who have seen it before. And th ...more

If your field is not physics but you are relatively comfortable with calculus (my field is economics, for example, and I could skip most of the mathematical appendices), this book may give you some u ...more

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Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Phys
...more

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Theoretical Minimum
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“If a system is chaotic (most are), then it implies that however good the resolving power may be, the time over which the system is predictable is limited. Perfect predictability is not achievable, simply because we are limited in our resolving power.”
—
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“In most cases the tiniest differences in the initial conditions—the starting state—leads to large eventual differences in outcomes. This phenomenon is called chaos. If a system is chaotic (most are), then it implies that however good the resolving power may be, the time over which the system is predictable is limited.”
—
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