Friday, September 30, 2011

Coming soon to your university's bookstore...

Life lurches forward in fits and starts, and all things go in cycles.

My first book (defined as something with an ISBN) was a collaborative effort with several of my fellow graduate students. From here to infinity (A foundation for calculus) (Thompson Learning, 2001) was a slender in-house volume on algebra, trig, and other precalc concepts meant for use in Vanderbilt's Calc I classes to get the students there up to speed on algebra essentials before Calc came along and kicked their butts. We worked together wonderfully well on this project, each writing a chapter, swapping chapters to review and revise during the editing stage, and sewing it together seamlessly before sending it off to the publisher. I wrote the chapter on rules for logs and exponents, a topic I feel very strongly should be taught in a certain way (it all makes total sense if you teach it this way).

I was very happy with that project.

My second book, The Isomorphism Problem in Coxeter groups (Imperial College Press/World Scientific Publishing, 2005) was a one-off, a graduate-level survey of a particular area in combinatorial and geometric group theory. I was approached by the publisher (in, admittedly, a very generic dear-author,-we-invite-you-to-publish-a-volume-in-our-new-lecture-note-series kind of way), and, having nothing better to do with a year of my time, said yes. On and off for almost a year I compiled all of my notes on rigidity problems in Coxeter groups, on automorphism structure in same, on presentation invariants, and on standard combinatorial techniques applicable to Coxeter groups, braid groups, Artin groups, and all other fellow travelers...the result was the text named above. It was something to do. It was a lot of work, and it was reviewed well. In the past six years it's sold maybe 600 or 700 copies, which honestly is more than it deserves to have sold; it's got a very niche audience. I'm proud of the book, but not excited by it; there was little passion in it.

In February 2012, my third book will appear through Jossey-Bass:

This book is a labor of love. It represents true passion, true excitement and ardor. It combines my love of teaching and my love of writing, and the sense of duty I feel toward folks in my chosen discipline. I had a blast writing it, and I'm very proud of the outcome. I hope you'll consider taking a look once it comes out!

1 comment:

dangoldner said...

I've written this into my official evaluation and development plan.