Krishnan Namboodiri sets out to remedy the problem that "...social science majors and graduate students often fail to go far enough in mathematics to get a thorough grounding in [matrix algebra]." This little green book covers the ground in four chapters and 96 pages.
The author begins by introducing basic matrix concepts and terminology, moving quickly to matrix operations such as addition, multiplication, and inversion. The central concept of linear dependence of sets of matrix rows and matrix columns is then explored, including the implications of this concept for solving simultaneous linear equations. The final chapter introduces the concepts of determinants, eigenvectors and eigenvalues. Applications to principle components analysis are illustrated in the books closing sections.
I read this book as part of a three-week online review course in matrix algebra. Its strengths were the discussion of practical applications and its conciseness. These strengths are counterbalanced by disappointing weaknesses. The dense, formula-driven presentation style made the book hard to follow. A glossary and index would have greatly aided mastery of a large number of new terms and concepts. In the end, I was helped more in the class by free materials I found by searching the web than by this book. I was annoyed that I had purchased it.
After further searching, I became a grateful reader of Charles Cullen's Matrices and Linear Transformations, which is more clear, covers more material, includes numerous practice exercises--and requires less of a little green investment. Save yourself some pain and go directly to Cullen.
This is a great introduction to matrix algebra. It reads very easily and presents the basics in an intuitive way. While it lacks the dense details and proofs one might want in a more advanced book, it did give me a great framework in which to put those dense details into. I read this in a few days, and found my matrix algebra studies went much better afterward. This is a great investment for anyone preparing for an in depth study of matrix algebra, or anyone wanting to brush up on the basics.
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