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Eric Weinstein (Managing Director/Thiel Capital)Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Differential Topology provides an elementary and intuitive introduction to the study of smooth manifolds. In the years since its first publication, Guillemin and Pollack's book has become a standard text on the subject. It is a jewel of mathematical exposition, judiciously picking exactly the right mixture of detail and generality to display the richness within. The text is mostly self-contained, requiring only undergraduate analysis and linear algebra. By relying on a unifying idea--transversality--the authors are able to avoid the use of big machinery or ad hoc techniques to establish the main results. In this way, they present intelligent treatments of important theorems, such as the Lefschetz fixed-point theorem, the Poincarø-Hopf index theorem, and Stokes theorem. The book has a wealth of exercises of various types. Some are routine explorations of the main material. In others, the students are guided step-by-step through proofs of fundamental results, such as the Jordan-Br.