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Linear Algebra Textbook like George Simmons

  1. Jun 24, 2012 #1
    I know there are suggestions in previous threads and I've searched and read them.

    I'm currently working through "Calculus with Analytic Geometry" by George Simmons and I love it. I worked though Simmons' pre-calculus book before that. I learnt more from Simmons' books in a few months than I ever did from years of school. I plan to read his topology and differential equations texts as well.

    Unfortunately Simmons never wrote a linear algebra textbook. So can anyone recommend a text of similar exposition quality to Simmons'. If you're not familiar with the texts, they cut back on the formalism, have nice historical context meanderings throughout the book and are good for self-study. A general intuitive approach to the subject.

    I'll hopefully be going off to university after the summer to get a mathematics degree and I'll get to all the formalism then, but for now I just want to get a good feel for the subject.

    I hope some knowledgeable member of the community can shed some light on my problem,

    Thank you for any time spent doing so.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2012 #2
    Elementary Linear Algebra by Anton is for you.

    There are two versions.

    The ordinary version and the 'applications version' which has lots of useful well ... applications to make it all real.

    go well
  4. Jun 24, 2012 #3
    Thank you sir, the reviews look good.
  5. Jun 24, 2012 #4


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  6. Jun 24, 2012 #5
    All right this is good. Thank you for your input.

    Anyone else agree or disagree with the previous recommendations or have one of their own?

    Hopefully I can get some kind of consensus. Textbooks are so expensive, I need to be really sure before I buy.
  7. Jun 24, 2012 #6
    But often much cheaper second hand or even sometimes discounted new. You don't need the latest and (not always) greatest edition for an introduction.
  8. Jun 24, 2012 #7
    Some books are so nice, you just have to get the hardback though. But then again if it's just an intro, I know what you mean.

    Are you familiar with the Simmons texts? Just wondering is your recommendation based on that knowledge or are you naming a nice, easy, introductory book that you have worked through yourself.

    Once again, I appreciate your time.
  9. Jun 24, 2012 #8
    Sorry I don't know Simmons.

    There are many good books about Linear Algebra - it is a much written about subject. However I thought Anton was particularly suited to your needs. It provides lots of backup information. I used an early edition (of the basic) when I learned LA to explain all the serious stuff in Nehring, which is the LA Bible, but very formal.
  10. Jun 24, 2012 #9
    What do you think of "Linear Algebra Done Right" Sheldon Axler? Would that be a bit too much for my first look at the subject?
  11. Jun 24, 2012 #10
  12. Jun 24, 2012 #11
    Axler is probably better for a second course unless you have some mathematically maturity already (proofs & abstraction).

    I am not familiar with Simmons but, if cost is an issue, there are some very good free textbooks available:



    Try them and see what you think.
  13. Jun 24, 2012 #12


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    the's why i linked you to a copy costing less than $10 with shipping.
  14. Jun 24, 2012 #13
    No money's not an issue. I just want to be sure before I buy because textbooks are often but not always dearer then the average book.

    I don't mind paying a lot of money for a great book that I'll keep coming back to over the years.
  15. Jun 24, 2012 #14


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    I don't like Anton, mainly because one of the most important topics, linear operators, isn't introduced until about 300 pages into the book. If you're OK with that, it's certainly easy enough to read and all that.

    There are probably more of these threads then there are linear algebra books. You can search for them and see what people said there. I like Axler. Micromass doesn't like it, but likes Friedberg, Insel & Spence. (I'm not familiar with it). Hoffman & Kunze is often mentioned as a good book with a more complete coverage of linear algebra than any of the others. There are lots of choices, and most of them are at least OK.
  16. Jun 24, 2012 #15


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    perhaps you could visit a university library and compare them yourself. n the one i recommended is an introduction for students who now nothing of the topic and is restricted to 2 and 3 dimensions to keep the ideas clear in the simplest cases.

    books such as axler and halmos and hoffman and kunze are advanced abstract general treatments. hefferon is quite easy as well.

    i also am not a fan at least of anton's calculus, but i have not seen his linear algebra book.
  17. Jun 24, 2012 #16
    You asked about Axler. It's a great linear algebra text (for a first or second treatment) but based on your first post not at all what you're looking for. The same, I think, is true of Hoffman & Kunze as well as Friedberg; they all emphasize rigor and do not go out of the way to offer motivation or historical context.
  18. Jun 25, 2012 #17
    All right, thank you to everyone who replied. I think I have enough different opinions to go on to make an informed decision.

    It really is a great community here, everyone is very helpful and generous with their time.
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