Culture & Criticism Since 2003
As we have written many times, Wiley’s catalog shines among the stars of the academic publishing world. In light of this, the following books (rich and vital and varied) must be mentioned on our pages, since they serve to set the bar in their respective disciplines:
Linear Algebra introduces the study of advanced mathematics to a new generation of students. This volume is ground-breaking in terms of mathematical texts in that it does not teach from a detached perspective, but instead, looks to show students that competent mathematicians bring an intuitive understanding to the subject rather than just a mastery of applications. Topics of coverage include systems of linear equation; applications to graph theory; Gaussian Elimination; linear independence and dimension; applications to calculus; applications to differential equations; linear transformations; applications to control theory; inverses; determinants; application to statistics; and numerical techniques (to name random high-points). For each concept, Penney first provides an abstract foundation and then links it to its computational output (presenting a parallel structure that isolates the relationship between a theory and its application). In essence, the idea of this text is to foster a deep understanding of how different principles build on each other to create the study of mathematics – the ultimate idea of Penney’s treatise to move beyond mere formula and technique in order to immerse students in the reasons behind the process.
Highly recommended as a course text in undergraduate linear algebra classes.
This volume is the mathematician’s dream – an inventive and comprehensive manual that integrates formal methods of logic with the study of math. Here, Tourlakis (York University, Canada) proves himself to be a skilled writer able to convey complex theories in sharp and vibrant tones. Basically, the goal of this book is to teach students the governing concepts and methods for “formulating valid mathematical arguments that can be used to uncover truths across diverse areas of study.” Obviously, this is a lofty mission that requires the practitioner to apply myriad approaches in order to reach his goal. Accordingly, Mathematical Logic helps the reader to develop sharp tools of deductive reasoning (which can later be applied to mathematical principles and used to “uncover truths” across a broad spectrum of disciplines). Topics of coverage include Boolean Formulae; proofs and theorems; Hilbert-style proofs; equational-style proofs; the interplay between syntax and semantics; and the Leibniz Rules (to touch on random high-points). In this complicated labyrinth of inter-connected disciplines, it takes a special writer to be able to transfer their expert understanding of mathematics and logic to the uneven edges of the classroom. And that’s just where Tourlakis excels: The tone of this book is complimentary to the diverse needs of the student (who will be able to gain entry into the vast kingdom of mathematics as they learn to employ logic to certify truths and build arguments that can help uncover deeper truths in a multiplicity of disciplines).
Recommended as an upper-level text in any class in mathematics, computer science or philosophy that strives to teach students to use elements of logic as a means to evidence theories and certify positions. Although aimed at the student reader, this book also could prove useful to the practicing researcher looking to effectively use logic in the laboratory setting. Finally, recommended to all Health Science libraries as a general reference with lasting value.
With tax season once upon us again, everyone’s thoughts have turned to the Federal Government and paying off Uncle Sam. However, in this tenuous economy, the specter of taxation has become ever-more-worrisome to the small business owner whose profit margin is hovering at slim-cut margins.
This text by veteran tax-law expert Stephen Fishman attempts to provide some relief for owners of small businesses who may not be taking full advantage of allowable deductions. Fishman has set off on his mission by simplifying aspects of the tax code so that it becomes understandable to a lay audience. As the author points out, the quickest way to make more money is to keep more of your gross income (read: pay less tax). The key to this equation, however, is that this must be accomplished legally, with all deductions substantiated in the event that your return is chosen for audit by the IRS.
Accordingly, Fishman provides insight into key areas that impact the garden-variety small-business owner. Topics of coverage include meaningful commentary on start up expenses; operation expenses; health-related deductions; vehicle-related deductions/mileage; calculating and accounting for inventory; and valuation of equipment. Moreover, Fishman covers known trouble points on many a tax return, with exploration of travel, entertainment and meals deductions that are often misunderstood by taxpayers (in turn triggering increased scrutiny by IRS audit staff). Fishman’s analysis of these areas is especially pertinent since these topics comprise common ‘red flag’ areas on the majority of small business and Schedule C returns.
In addition to its readability and expert discussion, Deduct It! attempts to strip away some of the mystery of small business tax requirements by promoting a general understanding of the United States taxation system. Ultimately, Mr. Fishman’s premise is to impress upon the small business owner that they should take all deductions that they have coming to them in order to increase the profitability of their work. However, as Mr. Fishman notes, the flip side to this is that in order to avoid trouble down the road, it is necessary to be able to corroborate all deductions with receipts, logs and records. If you can do this, then you will be able to move forward through preparation of your return with much less anxiety and much more confidence.
This volume, also written by Mr. Fishman, continues the outline of Deduct It! by synthesizing its focus: In Home Business the author delineates how the proprietor of a home-based business should approach taking tax deductions. Home-based businesses are carefully scrutinized by the IRS because the individual is charged with drawing a line from the point where his personal life ends and his work life begins. The question for the government becomes: “How much of this is work and how much of this is recreation?” When you are working from home and you have no conventional office, certain formulas must be followed in order to paint the Internal Revenue Service an accurate picture of what you are doing. Fishman covers myriad subject areas here, including the creation of the home office; how to account for start-up and operation expenses, vehicles/travel costs; entertainment/meals; health costs; equipment; and inventory. Like in the previous selection, the key is to take all legitimate deductions in order to lower the tax you owe. However, to accomplish this without falling victim to an audit and penalty-assessed tax down the road, one must follow the strict guidelines of the U.S. Tax Code. To this end, Home Business provides an indispensable road map.