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Please, recommend high-level and modern books on linear algebra (not for first reading). Like Kostrikin, Manin "Linear algebra and geometry" or respective chapters of Lang "Algebra".

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    $\begingroup$ See math.stackexchange.com/questions/89003/… and math.stackexchange.com/questions/160056/… and the links there. $\endgroup$
    – lhf
    Jul 1, 2013 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you need more books than the two you mentioned? Do you have Винберг? $\endgroup$
    – KCd
    Jul 1, 2013 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ See prasolov's book. $\endgroup$
    – R Salimi
    Jul 1, 2013 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ @user14284 see Roman's Advanced Linear Algebra. It's really nice for abstract linear algebra. If matrix theory is what you're after, perhaps Carl Meyer's text is a nice choice, I don't have a copy personally, but the folks who use it know better than I on these matters. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2013 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ I recommend Lax's linear algebra book. Very elegant and insightful treatment of core topics, as well as an interesting and unique selection of more advanced topics. $\endgroup$
    – littleO
    Mar 18, 2017 at 7:57

6 Answers 6

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What follows is a substantially edited version of a 25 August 2001 k12.ed.math post of mine.

There are typically 3 different levels of linear algebra that can be found at American colleges and universities. [I'm restricting myself to America because I don't know much about the situation in other countries.]

1. The first level is what is often called elementary linear algebra. This is usually taken by 2nd year undergraduates after they have completed the second or third semester of the standard elementary calculus sequence. However, depending on the college, quite a few 1st year and/or 3rd-4th year students might also be in the class. [In each of the two linear algebra classes I taught during the Spring 2000 semester, over 50% of the students were 1st year students.] I assume this is not the level you're interested in and I'm only including it for completeness.

2. The second level is a course typically taken by upper level math, physics, and (sometimes) engineering students. At some colleges and universities, students may elect to skip the first level linear algebra course and begin with this level. [This was the case where I did most of my undergraduate work. We used Hoffman/Kunze and, when I took the course, there were 5 2nd year undergraduate students (including me) in the course and none of us had taken the lower level linear algebra class.] Texts that would be appropriate for this level are:

Paul R. Halmos, Finite-dimensional vector spaces

Kenneth Hoffman and Ray Kunze, Linear Algebra

Gilbert Strang, Linear Algebra and its Applications

Sheldon Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right

3. The third level is graduate level linear algebra. In many universities the Hoffman/Kunze text above is used (or at least it used to be used), but in these cases the first three chapters are usually covered very quickly (if at all) in order to devote more time to the 2nd half of the text. It is also common for graduate level linear algebra to be incorporated into the 2-3 semester graduate algebra sequence. For example, when I was a student two of the more widely used algebra texts were Lang's Algebra and Hungerford's Algebra, and each contains a substantial amount of linear algebra. Listed below are a couple of "stand-alone" texts for this level. I've had Jacobson since the early to mid 1980s and Brown's book since 1989 or 1990. Brown's book is definitely more modern, but if you're serious about the material, you should at least look at a copy of Jacobson's book (in most U.S. college and university libraries) from time to time. Without knowing anything more about you than what you wrote in your question, I would guess that Brown's book is the best for what you're looking for.

William C. Brown, A Second Course in Linear Algebra

Nathan Jacobson, Lectures in Abstract Algebra. Volume 2. Linear Algebra [See also Dieudonne's Bulletin of the AMS review of Jacobson's book.]

(TWO MORE "THIRD LEVEL" TEXTS, ADDED A YEAR LATER)

Werner Hildbert Greub, Linear Algebra

Steven Roman, **Advanced Linear Algebra**

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  • $\begingroup$ @DaveLRenfro Personally what do you think are some good level one texts? $\endgroup$
    – seeker
    Jan 29, 2015 at 9:05
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    $\begingroup$ Most widely used elementary linear algebra texts (published within the same 10 to 20 year period) are really not all that different in my eyes. What I would suggest is to browse the library shelves of a nearby college/university library and see what seems to fit your specific likes and dislikes. That said, I read through Bernard Kolman's linear algebra book on my own in high school (this was the 1970 first edition, which is quite a bit shorter than the later editions) and didn't later regret that I should have used another book, and in 1999-2000 I taught some courses using (continued) $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2015 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ (continuation) David Lay's linear algebra book, and I thought it was fine too (but it was wordier and filled with more applications from outside of mathematics than the 1970 Kolman book I read around 1975). This 11 January 2009 sci.math post archived at Math Forum might also be helpful. $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2015 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ Also, for freely available texts, try this google search: online math texts "linear algebra" $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2015 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ @harry: google archive of my 11 January 2009 sci.math post. As for the 25 August 2001 k12.ed.math post, the google archive only seems to go back to 2006, and I have not been able to find it at the internet archive. The closest I've gotten is this by using an older URL for the post that by chance I was able to find. (continued) $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2021 at 17:37
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Having read almost every book mentioned here, I can tell you that "linear algebra done right" by Axler is hit or miss. Over half the problems in ch.3,6,7,8 are impossible to answer the others are quite simple. The material covered is ideal, but has no worked examples and offers no computational method. Finite dimensional vector spaces by Halmos is a short read with mediocre problems and the book is from the 40's and mostly outdated.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi, Just working through Axler's book myself - spending several hours per problem I am getting very frustrated. Since I am a self-learner, it has created a lot of doubt in my own mathematics aptitude. A little re-assuring to read your comment that others have felt the same way. $\endgroup$
    – Maelstorm
    Aug 9, 2018 at 13:38
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S. Winitzki, Linear Algebra via Exterior Products (free book, coordinate-free approach).

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  • $\begingroup$ Typography is bad in the free version of the book. $\endgroup$
    – user312097
    Nov 2, 2017 at 19:55
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Bourbaki's first two books on algebra are, for me, the best existing books on the elements of algebra (including linear algebra). The exposition is very clear and the problems are great. One learns from here the right outlook on algebra.

The books are not difficult to read, but here's one word of advice: skip the first 3 sections of Chapter 1 of Algebra I, and refer back to them only as needed. This will save you some headaches.

P.S. Please don't listen to all the people complaining about Bourbaki. Most of those people haven't read more than a few pages of Bourbaki themselves. If you plan to be a mathematician, pick up Bourbaki's algebra books and don't look back. You'll thank me later. Despite these books being written a long time ago, in my view, a better book on algebra has not yet been written.

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My favorites are the Kostrikin-Manin book you've already mentioned and the linear algebra chapters (VI and VIII) of Aluffi's "Algebra. Chapter 0".

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Sergei Treil Linear Algebra Done Wrong is used in a first course for honors linear algebra at Brown. Also it is free.

https://sites.google.com/a/brown.edu/sergei-treil-homepage/linear-algebra-done-wrong?authuser=0

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    $\begingroup$ The OP is asking for "not first reading" book. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2020 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @linear_combinatori_probabi Ok, I agree - looking at Treil's book again it is too elementary compared to what the OP is looking for. $\endgroup$
    – usr0192
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't read the book, I just saw you used the word "first course", so just feel free to correct me if this is indeed a advanced book. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2020 at 15:37

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