Some friendly advice found in a math book. Applies equally well for reading computer science books
It’s up to you – Your actions are likely to be the greatest determiner of the outcome of your studies. Consider the ancient proverb: The teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
• Be active – Read the book. Do the exercises set. • Think for yourself –Always good advice.
• Question everything – Be sceptical of all results presented to you. Don’t accept them until you are sure you believe them.
• Observe – The power of Sherlock Holmes came not from his deductions but his observations. • Prepare to be wrong –You will often be told you are wrong when doing mathematics. •
Don’t memorize–seek to understand–It is easy to remember what you truly understand. • Develop your intuition – But don’t trust it completely. •
Collaborate – Work with others, if you can, to understand the mathematics. This isn’t a competition. Don’t merely copy from them though! •
Reﬂect – Look back and see what you have learned.Ask yourself how you could have done better.
Read with a purpose. Read actively. Have pen and paper with you. You do not have to read in sequence but read systematically. Ask questions. Read the deﬁnitions, theorems and examples ﬁrst. The proofs can come later. Check the text by applying formulas etc. Do exercises and problems. Move on if you are stuck. Write a summary. Reﬂect – What have you learned