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Working Review: Linear Algebra Done Right, Sheldon Axler

During my undergrad, I took a linear algebra class that I struggled with enough to switch sections to another professor early in the semester. A big reason I switched classes was the text, Linear Algebra Done Right by Sheldon Axler.

I despised the presentation of the book; I found its tone and title arrogant, and a lack of worked examples stunted my learning. I had extensive experience with matrix algebra in the past, but this class presented the material abstractly. I wasn’t prepared for that.

At that point, I hadn’t learned how to prove things properly. I hadn’t learned the meaning of abstraction and I had struggled with non-computational mathematics. This book didn’t present itself well to me, and I still find it’s writing to be a bit non-obvious at times. But I wanted to revisit this book so many years later, now that I am intellectually more mature and with a better understanding of the text under my belt.

So I’m going to work through it again, to see how I’m doing. I’m working through the Second Edition. The book is now in its third edition; I don’t know what changes have been made, but I think the second edition is perfectly suitable for refreshing my undergraduate knowledge of the topic.

I’ll go through the book chapterwise; direct links to worked exercises will be updated here.



Emily is a data scientist and activist. The opinions shared herein are her own.