# Can “How to Prove It” replace Baby Rudin for me?

I am an engineer with tons of math courses behind me. However, all of them were applied wherein instead of giving us intuition, they gave us a toolbox. (If you encounter this then use that to solve.)

For my research (and as a requirement for grad school), I am required to be able to write and read proofs. These can range from elementary to SIAM journal level.

My research is fairly computational (Optimization and Linear Algebra) and I need proofs only to be able to understand which algorithms work, their convergence and to write proofs for my algorithms if I ever construct one.

I have 2 options now:

1. Read a book like How to Prove it or How to read and do proofs.

2. Read Baby Rudin and end it all forever. (Since, I believe that should be enough of proof doing for the rest of my career)

I don't see Baby Rudin's (with all its topology & calculus) helping me in my objectives. Am I missing something?

Which way should I go?

Owing to severe time constraints, I can do only one.

• In the words of the El Paso commercial, porque no los dos? – Gerry Myerson Mar 10 '12 at 5:24
• Huh? Google translate converts is to Because both. If you intend to say that "do both", refer edit. – Inquest Mar 10 '12 at 5:26
• Do both. Option 1 will give you some basics of doing proofs, but you'll still need some practice with problems which are more advanced, which is where something like Baby Rudin (option 2) comes in. – KReiser Mar 10 '12 at 5:30
• As a hispanic I will translate Gerry Myerson's comment: Why not both? – Daniel Montealegre Mar 10 '12 at 5:32
• Why not read a book about optimization and linear algebra? You seem to have the impression that Baby Rudin is by far the most rigorous undergrad math book. If so, you're wrong. Also, Rudin puts a lot of effort in making his proofs short and elegant, which means you can read them and verify them without really understanding what is going on. For your purpose you want your proofs to be detailed and straightforward. – Stefan Mar 10 '12 at 6:25