# First Course in Linear algebra books that start with basic algebra?

I'm 30 years old, and the only math I can remember from college is basic algebra and some probabilities. Next month, I have a machine learning project I'd like to work on, but I'll need a solid footing in linear algebra first. Are there any books or tutorials that can take me from the spotty math knowledge I have now to linear algebra?

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Don't read Hoffman to start. – Samuel Reid Jan 18 '12 at 0:36
Linear Algebra by Friedberg, Insel, Spence is an excellent book. The best available at the undergraduate level, in my opinion. – user12014 Jan 18 '12 at 0:39
Friedberg, et al is good but it helps to know some abstract algebra before getting into it. – Matt Gregory Jan 18 '12 at 0:46

Gilbert Strang's excellent book "Introduction to Linear Algebra" and video lectures are all you need to teach yourself basic linear algebra from first principles.

If you can't get the book, the video lectures and other material available at MIT OCW is sufficient, but I would recommend the book.

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Thanks! I'll check out the videos now. – Subtle Array Jan 19 '12 at 6:31

In terms of textbooks, the book Introductory Linear Algebra: An Applied First Course by Bernard Kolman and David Hill is a place to start. It has many examples and starts at the very beginning. If my memory serves me correctly, the text works up to jordan canonical form. It should be noted that is book focuses heavily on calculation. Abstract vector spaces are not introduced until more than halfway through the book. Despite this, this book has many examples and problems directly related to computer science.

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Thank you for the reply. I'll check it out. – Subtle Array Jan 19 '12 at 6:32

Use Kolman/Hill. The math is really easier than calculus. If you remember systems of 2 or 3 equations and unknowns and a little bit of vectors, that is sort of the mindset you need. Anyhow, it starts from the very basics and is gentle. Is perfect for what you need, will support the machine learning class.

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