O'Reilly Book Reviewer

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review: The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra by Shin Takahashi (Trend-Pro Co Ltd)

To be honest I haven't touched Linear Algebra for 20+ years. I had a gruelling time in high school just trying to keep up with an insane syllabus that I didn't have the time to really understand the purpose of Linear Algebra in real life. To make it worse, my professors didn't bother to explain either as they had a lot of topics to cover in very little time. So it was all mechanical learning trying to solve problems and proofs without understanding why. I always had this feeling in me that my learning of linear algebra was incomplete in spite of scoring well in Math. So 20 years later I picked up this book out of sheer curiosity whether my learning could be completed.

I must say I am very impressed with the approach of this book. The author has made learning delightful using a comic format with two kids - one a math wiz trying to explain it to the other who is struggling. At a steady pace, the book covers a lot of the basic concepts of linear algebra like vectors, matrices, Gaussian elimination, subspaces, dimension, and linear span. The author makes it interesting by explain how they apply in computer graphics, cryptography, and engineering. I finished reading the entire book in 3 hours! It all just came back to me after 20+ years! Thanks to this book, I am glad that my kids will not be struggling to understand math when they go to high school.

Albert Einstein said, "You have really learned something if you can explain it to your grandmother". I can confidently say I have learned the concepts of Linear Algebra thanks to this book and I can teach it to my grandmother (if she is willing to learn!).

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