# Is this question appropriate? Comments on specific books.

Something bothers me a bit about this question, which asks the answerer to directly compare four books by two different authors. Perhaps it is the questions

Can someone comment on these books?

and

Which one is better? My criterion are well-organized and comprehensive.

which strike me as subjective and argumentative. (The other question about whether one book is outdated by another can be a statement of fact, and I think is reasonable.)

While I welcome questions of the nature of reference requests and general book recommendations, this one strikes me as extremely close to "comparison shopping" and would have very limited interest (Too Localized). Parts of the questions can also be answered by doing a Google search for book reviews (meaning that the OP hasn't done his homework before asking) and without providing more objective criteria, I don't think the "well-organized" and "comprehensive" part is answerable, beyond pointing the OP to the Table of Contents of the four respective books and ask him to check whether all the topics he is interested in are present.

What are people's thoughts on this question?

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–  Ｊ. Ｍ. Apr 28 '11 at 9:16
I share Willie's reluctance as it is expanded above. –  Did Apr 28 '11 at 12:43

## 1 Answer

Some suggested changes:

• Instead of "well-organized, comprehensive, and sufficient depth", which really strongly depends upon the OP's inclination and abilities, the question would become at the same time applicable to a wider audience and be rid of subjective criteria if the OP were to ask (MadLib style below with some suggested inputs)

Which of the books is most suitable for a (beginning/intermediate student) of (mathematics/econometrics/operations research) who has backgrounds in (basic real analysis/measure theory/differential equations) who wants to learn a bit more about (financial engineering/applications of mathematics/the theory behind what one already learned) with focus on (______)

• I think the question "can someone comment" is probably quite meaningless on a Q&A website.
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+1 for reference to MadLibs! –  Gerry Myerson Apr 29 '11 at 9:58
even if it became far more specific, it's still off topic IMHO; there is no problem to be solved –  Jeff Atwood Apr 30 '11 at 7:25