Head First Algebra

Head First Algebra

Having trouble understanding algebra? Do algebraic concepts, equations, and logic just make your head spin? We have great news: Head First Algebra is designed for you. Full of engaging stories and practical, real-world explanations, this book will help you learn everything from natural numbers and exponents to solving systems of equations and graphing polynomials.

Along the way, you'll go beyond solving hundreds of repetitive problems, and actually use what you learn to make real-life decisions. Does it make sense to buy two years of insurance on a car that depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot? Can you really afford an XBox 360 and a new iPhone? Learn how to put algebra to work for you, and nail your class exams along the way.

Your time is way too valuable to waste struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Algebra uses a visually rich format specifically designed to take advantage of the way your brain really works.

A collection of images from inside the book.

Table of Contents

1. Solving for unknowns: What is Algebra?
2. Taking Algebra on the Road: (More) Complicated Equations
3. Follow the Rules: Rules for Numeric Operations
4. Podcasts That Spread Like the Plague: Exponent Operations
5. A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words: Graphing
6. Can't Quite Get Enough: Inequalities
7. Know What You Don't Know: Systems of Equations
8. Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Expanding Binomials & Factoring
9. Getting Out of Line: Quadratic Equations
10. Everyone Has Limits: Functions
11. Solve the World's Problems: Real-World Algebra
i. The Top Four Things (We Didn't Cover): Leftovers
ii. Build on a Solid Foundations: Pre-Algebra Review

Read Me:
What you should know before reading this book

This is a learning experience, not a reference book. We deliberately stripped out everything that might get in the way of learning whatever it is we're working on at that point in the book. And the first time through, you need to begin at the beginning because the book makes assumptions about what you've already seen and learned.

We start off by teaching how to solve algebraic equations.

Believe it or not, even if you've never taken Algebra, you can jump right in and start solving for unknowns. You'll also learn about the deeper motivations for the study of Algebra, and why you should learn it in the first place.

Calculators are only for arithmetic you can't solve easily, NOT for solving equations.

There are lots of calculators out there that can do lots of things, including solving equations and plotting graphs. Since the entire purpose of working through this book is to learn how to solve and graph equations yourself, using a calculator to do it would just cheat you out of your learning experience!

If you're rusty on some pre-Algebra topics, we can help.

You need to be able to work with fractions, decimals, integers, and exponents to get into Algebra and solve for unknowns. The good news is that if you have a decent understanding of these concepts, but you can't quite remember how to get a common denominator, there is a big appendix at the back to help you. It's quick and dirty, but it can bring you back up to speed on how to work with those tricky pre-Algebra topics.

Advance Reviews

"Head First Algebra is a clear, easy-to-understand method to learn a subject that many people find intimidating. Because of its somewhat irreverent attitude in presenting mathematical topics for beginners, this book inspires students to learn Algebra at a depth they might have otherwise thought unachievable."
— Ariana Anderson

"The way this book presents information is so conversational and intriguing it helps in the learning process. It truly feels like you're having a conversation with the author."
— Amanda Borcky

"This has got to be the best book out there for learning basic Algebra. It's genuinely entertaining."
— Dawn Griffiths, author of Head First Statistics

"Head First Algebra is an engaging read. The book does a fantastic job of explaining concepts and taking the reader step-by-step through solving problems. The problems were challenging and applicable to everyday life."
— Shannon Stewart, Math Teacher

"The book is driven by excellent examples from the world in which students live. No trains leaving from the same station at the same time moving in opposite directions. The authors anticipate well the questions that arise in students' minds and answer them in a timely manner. A very readable look at the topics encountered in Algebra 1."
— Herbert Tracey, Instructor of Mathematical Sciences, Loyola University
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Buy 2 books, get 1 free!

Buy 2 books and get the third free! Use the coupon code OPC10 when you check out.

Who is this book for?

If you can answer "yes" to all of these, this book is for you:

  • Are you comfortable with numbers and pre-algebra?

  • Do you want to learn Algebra by learning the concepts and not just looking for practice problems?
  • Are you familiar with integers and fractions and ready to move onto solving for unknowns?

You should probably back away from this book if you can answer "yes" to any of these:

  • Are you someone who is really uncomfortable with fractions and decimals?
  • Are you looking for Algebra 2 or Statistics information? (In this case, pick up Head First Statistics)
  • Are you someone who is obsessed with plugging things into a calculator?


Ask the authors questions and chat with fellow readers in the Head First Algebra Forum.