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Introduction to Linear Algebra, Fourth Edition 4th Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0980232714
ISBN-10: 0980232716
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A leading textbook for first courses in linear algebra. Instead of teaching students by repetitive drill, Gilbert Strang encourages students to real mathematical thinking; an approach that has been successful over many years at MIT. The book is supported by online lectures and learning material via http://web.mit.edu/18.06/www/.

About the Author

Gilbert Strang is a Professor of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, of the University of Oxford, UK. His current research interests include linear algebra, wavelets and filter banks, applied mathematics, and engineering mathematics. He is the author or co-author of six textbooks and has published a monograph with George Fix titled “An Analysis of the Finite Element Method.” Professor Strang served as SIAM’s president from 1999-2000, chaired the U.S. National Committee on Mathematics from 2003–2004, and won the Neumann Medal of the US Association of Computational Mechanics in 2005. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 584 pages
  • Publisher: Wellesley Cambridge Press; 4 edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980232716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980232714
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George W. Cobb on April 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I write as a 35-year veteran teacher of mathematics and statistics, at Mount Holyoke College. This semester I am teaching two sections of linear algebra, from Gilbert Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra, 4th edition. I understand that I'm one of the first, perhaps the very first, to teach from this edition, scooping even the author himself, whose spring semester at MIT began a week after Mount Holyoke's.

In choosing a book for my course, I reviewed more than a dozen choices. In what follows, I'll try to set out why, looking back on the first two-thirds of the semester, I'm firmly convinced that I chose the right book to teach from. But first, here's an excerpt from an e-mail I sent the author a few weeks ago:

I've admired your book ever since the first edition came out, but
in our department we have to wait in line to teach linear algebra,
and this is my first chance to teach from your book. It's hard to
put into words how much I'm enjoying it.

In 35 years, I've nearly always ended up feeling deeply disappointed
with almost any textbook I've tried to teach from. However I've
had the good fortune to find two books I really admire. Yours is
one of those two inspiring books. Thanks to you, I'm having a blast!

Enthusiasm aside, I'll start the substance of my review with four questions, aimed both at students and at teachers. These questions highlight the features I find inspiring - but they are not merely rhetorical: I've tried to formulate questions that should be helpful to anyone trying to decide whether Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra is the right choice for them. In each instance, although my own answer is a resounding "Yes to choice one!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book (the 3rd edition of it) my sophomore year as an undergraduate engineer. I read a couple of sections and then got distracted and didn't pick the book up again until my first year as a graduate student. Before reading this book, my experience with linear algebra had been modest (much to the fault of my undergraduate curriculum), but I soon realized how important linear algebra is to an engineer.

This book was wonderful! I read nearly the entire thing over the course of a month (working a large number of the problems), and since then have referenced it often. The chapter on Eigenvalues, Linear Transformations, and Applications are extremely useful (in the 3rd edition 6,7, and 8). Strang's style is refreshing in the world of dry math books; he really gives you the intuition and excitement behind the math. I find this invaluable as an engineer.

There is a downside to this: the book is wordy for a math book and the key results scattered throughout the text. For this reason I would highly recommend this book for someone without much background in linear algebra, but probably would not recommend it to someone looking for a refresher--a more succinct book would probably be more appropriate. I would also not recommend this book for someone interested in formal mathematics: the book claims informality, and it certainly is informal. That being said, most of the essential proofs are there in spirt, just not set down formally like many other math texts I have used.

I gave the book 5 stars because, although it isn't for everybody (no book can be), it is exactly what it claims to be: an INTRODUCTION to linear algebra, and an excellent one at that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
as an earlier reviewer pointed out, the best part of this book is that it follows along perfectly with Strang's free lecture series [...]
with lecture notes, assignments and of course the video lectures. When I you look at all the "value added" textbooks with CD's full of unhelpful material that takes more time to use than the benefit it gives, compare it to the pairing of this book with the online material, which together make a great learning experience.
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I bought this book because im taking the online Linear Algebra course on OCW MIT and this book is the required textbook for the course. In my opinion you have to struggle a bit to get the idea of what the text is trying to say,it helps very much if you watch the videos, but even still I think sometimes explanations are very vague.

Most of the example problems are relatively easy, but most of the drill problems are very complicated and completely unrelated to the main idea of the chapter. I think many of the problems deviate you from the main idea, for example you may be trying to learn how to perfect gauss-jordan reduction, and instead you are encountered with problems like finding all the edges of a hypercube, now im not saying its not related to the topic at hand, but it deviates you from the main point you are trying to learn, so stick to the more familiar ones and the ones you think are more useful.

After a while of reading the book, watching the online lessons and recitations, solving problems, etc.. I think I have learned quite a lot, but its more a combination of all those things rather than the book itself, if I had to rely solely on the book I think I would've looked for something else, professor Strang's lectures are good but he jumps back and forth from idea to idea sometimes without finishing the previous idea, which is confusing, and that is also reflected on this book.

I find David Poole's Linear Algebra book a lot better, its easier to understand, its better written, almost the same topics are addressed but the problems are designed to futher enhance your habilities, plus it has a lot more real applications.

Bottomline get this book if and only if you are planning on taking the MIT online course, otherwise look for something else (in fact even if you take the MIT course it wouldnt hurt to get this book plus David Poole's book so you can read both)
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