2012. július 17.

Book review: The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra

In a nutshell, the Manga Guide to Linear Algebra is a terrific learning aid for those who are looking for a refresher or a starting point. It does an excellent job at motivating the basic concepts, and working trough the accompanying workbook gives a solid foundation for further studies. It doesn't promise more than helping you to get started, so it is not a substitute for classics like Janich's Linear Algebra, or Linear Algebra Done Right. But it surely helps you to get a high level view of the field, yet it is packed into an entertaining story.

  • Shin Takahashi, Iroha Inoue: The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra
  • No Starch Press, 2012
  • 264 pages
  • product page (do download the appendixes that contains the workbook and other supplementary materials)

Although the book is relatively short, and you can read a comic on a rainy day from cover to cover, don't forget this is a maths book. Digesting new mathematical concepts takes time and requires solving those exercises. Linear algebra is getting a "hot topic" since it is a very useful tool in computing, but don't forget, this book only provides you a stepping stone into the field.

I was very sceptical about the comic book format at first. I have to admit that it works pretty well in this book as the non-mathematical side of the books gives some time to take a break between the more technical parts. Also, the story supports classroom like situation in which a helpless student wants to understand the material so even stupid questions are allowed. The material covers the basic of linear algebra, just enough to get started with a bit more advanced book. This format makes the book ideal for self-learning.

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