Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review of Elementary Linear Algebra by Larson and Edwards

This book has an attractive layout, with its theorems and definitions clearly and repetitively presented in highlighted boxes. It is easy to follow and could certainly prove useful to a weak student.
However, many results are stated without providing proof, leaving the student to produce the proof as part of the exercise. Underpinning this type of mathematics with proof is certainly a fundamental part of the education process, but in my experience many students find this an intimidating step. I believe it is vital that students have proofs demonstrated repeatedly, until they become confident enough to formulate their own. This book could undoubtedly benefit from the inclusion of more examples.
In addition, there is a noticeable lack of illustrations, giving the book a very dense feel.
Generally speaking, while this book might provide a valuable handbook for some students, I don’t believe its style engages the attention of the reader and it doesn’t attempt to provide a thorough explanation of linear algebra.

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