Initial Public Offering: Differential Calculus

[Update in January 2013: in addition to an updated version of the differential portion of the text, I’m pleased to publicly share four additional chapters for integral calculus.  See the download page at my GVSU site and/or this post here on the blog.]

After working in seclusion throughout my sabbatical and sharing early drafts with a small and select group of colleagues, the past couple of weeks have marked a big change for me.  With this blog, a new Twitter account, an email to a major listserv I’m on, and a talk at Mathfest, I’ve been fortunate to have news of this project to reach a much greater number of people.  My sincere thanks to everyone who has shown interest so far, as well as to everyone who has helped spread the word.

Initially, I intended to make the materials available at this point in time by request only.  That is, rather than post the full .pdf, I’d just post a sample.  Folks could request the full version by direct email to me.  I suppose I wanted to maintain some semblance of control over who had access to the text, plus my curiosity pressed me to have some way to know who wanted to look at it and possibly use it.

In one of my conversations with Rob Beezer about his own free and open linear algebra text, he urged me: “Put it out there.  Even if it’s only half-baked.  Post the .pdf online.”  Even only a quarter-baked?  Sure.

So, here it is:  [Update in January 2013:  as noted above, the links below are not to the most up-to-date files, and they obviously don’t include integral calculus.]

Chapters 1-4 (full text)
Activities workbook for Chapters 1-4

The links are to shared Google docs and should open in your browser.  From there, you should be able to choose “download” from the File menu if you wish to download the actual .pdf to your own machine.  Anyone who has the link can access.

So, a very different sort of initial public offering.  But one I’m excited to have out there and for the conversation that hopefully follows.  If you choose to download the text or activities workbook and use one of them in any substantial way, I’d very much appreciate hearing from you in either a comment on this post or by direct email at boelkinm at gvsu dot edu.

Again, thanks for your interest.  May it be a great fall semester ahead.



  1. Hey, this is super cool! (I was a math major and now I do ebooks and open licensing and libraries and stuff, so, hooray.) I’m especially happy to see a nice clear Creative Commons license applied to it 🙂

  2. I’ve been doing something similar (although for completely different purposes!) on my blog. Personally, I’ve been attracted to Euler’s treatment of calculus (you can find a modernish rendition if you google “uppsala lectures calculus”).

    I like your approach using in-depth problems and motivating questions.

    I would like to add that some problems, fallen into obscurity, really explain many calculus topics that are, well, lacking…for example, Debeaune’s problem BEAUTIFULLY motivates the exponential function for calculus.

  3. […] semester sabbatical project — and he’s about to begin work on the integral calculus portion. You can download the differential calculus parts here. This is at his blog, where he is promoting the book and soliciting feedback. Matt’s also on […]

  4. […] Open Calculus by Matt Boelkins (reviewed by Robert Talbert) So far only single-variable differential calculus has been written. […]

  5. Alex Camden · · Reply

    I read your blog on your calculus book that your going to post on line for download, it truly sounds like a great textbook. I’m a math neard, so I love to read. And study math books. I always look online for freely avialble downloadable E-textbooks, I look forward to readng and studing your great textbook. I will bookmark your site and see the progress of the E-Textbook, I think its great to have a very well written Calculus E-Textbook online for download. I look faward to the complete book. I totaly argee with you about the sky high prices on hard cover textbooks, I have a small library of math books that I payed a lot of money for. And the prices are just a rip off, it would be great to see the arthors put their text books freely avilable online for down load. That would really save so many students a lot of money, I hope many other arthors follow in your path and post freely avilable downloadable E-Textbooks.

  6. François · · Reply

    Dear Matt,
    Thank you so much for sharing openly the fruit of your labor. I’ve only started the book and really love it so far. I’m a math teacher in Zambia.

  7. […] at, and download the .pdf of the differential calculus text at  Comments, questions, and other feedback can be shared directly with me at boelkinm at gvsu dot […]

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