# Online courses and textbooks I recommend

created:*;*modified:

IMO textbooks are pretty terrible for self-study, primarily because they’re written to complement lecture-notes at universities. They’re full of unnecessary detail because they’re effectively a back-up reference, and the problems are generally poorly thought out (compared to say questions you’d get when studying, where the prof needs to make sure the questions are doable and cover the most important parts of the course).

## Biology

- MITx Introduction to Biology
- MITx
*Molecular Biology*. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. - MIT OCW Systems Biology

And William W. Cohen’s *A Computer Scientist’s Guide to Cell Biology*.

## CS

## Math

### Calculus

*Calculus* by Michael Spivak. Note: you absolutely need somebody to guide you/help with the problems from the book. The Correct™ way to self-study books like this is to email a professor at a local college and ask them if they could help you with stuff you don’t understand and problems (hint: they will be happy to help).

### Linear algebra

- MIT OCW Linear Algebra by Gilbert Strang as main course and things below as support
- Essense of linear algebra by 3Blue1Brown
- MathTheBeautiful on YouTube

### Topology

*Topology Without Tears*by Sidney A. Morris.

## History

- University of Virginia
*The Modern World (1760-)*. Part 1. Part 2. - Emory University The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

## Economics

- Marginal Revolution University Principles of Micro
- Marginal Revolution University Principles of Macro
- Columbia University Economics of Money and Banking
- University of Michigan Model Thinking

### Econometrics

*Introduction to Econometrics*by Christopher Dougherty. Note: lmk if you need solutions for it.

## Probability Theory and Statistics

- Lectures from MIT OCW Introduction to Probability (lectures are easiest to watch from the official YouTube playlist) + Problem sets and Quizzes from MIT OCW Probabilistic Systems Analysis and Applied Probability

Interesting resources I haven’t looked at closely: intro to stats for neuroscientists

## How to study with online courses?

Online courses are not a panacea. When you take a university course, you have:

- 2-3 hours a week of lectures
- 1-2 hours a week of seminars
- 1-2 hours a week of office hours
- exercises
- homework

Note that online courses don’t provide seminars and office hours, which are frequently even more important than the lectures themselves! When I try to self-study anything I get stuck on material *all the time* and when I took Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistics, etc. in the university I visited office hours almost religiously.

What is the alternative to office hours and seminars? It seems that the only viable alternatives are

- a private tutor
- a friendly professor at a local university
- a friend whom it would not be too awkward to pester with questions

None of these are perfect.

## Tricks

- to be able to quickly adjust the video speed I
*strongly*recommend Video Speed Controller