Where does one go on the Stack Exchange network to ask for opinions on math related topics? Does such an outlet even exist? This question comes to mind because I have been using the same book on ODEs for a year now, both in school and prepping for job interviews and I realize I hate my book for a host of reasons (ask me if you are really curious), but have nobody to ask what a better option is.

It would be swell if there was a way to obtain the opinions of experienced mathematicians.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Asking "opinions" on textbooks and looking for a "better option" are different things. $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Oct 10, 2019 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – mrf
    Oct 12, 2019 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


"I realize I hate my book for a host of reasons ..." This is not the sort of content that Math.SE seeks to collect and curate. Compare this previous Meta Q on asking for opinions about math journals.

Of course anyone is entitled to an opinion about books etc., but we want content that is tied to reasoned mathematical argument. For example, one might ask for a recommendation on a book about ODEs suitable for self-study or which presents numerical methods, and Readers experienced with instruction or self-study could point to specifics in that vein. But StackExchange doesn't try to provide "rate my textbook" opinions.

Have you looked at Questions that solicit recommendations for various kinds of books? Specifically there is this fairly old Question on ODE book recommendations. The more specific one can make the desirable criteria the more apt one is to get satisfactory responses.

Asking for a comparison of two or three textbooks might be appropriate, if one gives the context (e.g. "I'm an upperclass math major interested in background for a summer research project..."). But asking for opinions about one specific book will probably not meet site standards.

That said, the usual dictum is just to ask your Question, not to ask here for "permission" to ask a Question. Readers may ask for clarification or suggest improvements, but in any case it will be more expeditious to go through the feedback process (possibly including having a post placed on-hold) than to try and get the Community to agree to your Question in advance on Meta.


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