An introductory algebra textbook also serves as a refresher for those who last studied the subject many years ago.
In this math book, Thatte (SAT/PSAT Math: A Systematic Approach, 2011, etc.) addresses the fundamentals of algebra, from solving for x to working with complex numbers. The volume opens with a review of the arithmetic basics that underpin all algebraic equations, then proceeds through the standard elements of algebra, with step-by-step equations demonstrating the principles involved in each process. Although the individual chapters can be studied in any order, within them Thatte presents concepts in sequence, moving from simple applications to more complex ones over the course of each section, and an author’s note encourages readers to follow the progression of the text. Topics addressed include polynomial equations, graphing, inequalities, and sequences. Each subsection includes several sample problems and solutions, with each step of the process illustrated and explained. In addition to the examples solved in detail for demonstration purposes, each chapter also features dozens of practice problems, with complete solutions provided at the end of the book. The work’s subject matter is necessarily dry, but Thatte demonstrates a genuine interest in teaching math to nonspecialists and brings an animated voice to the narrative portions: “Notice that the x2 term has no other term to pair up with. It stands alone. There’s no need to get emotional about it. Trust me, x2 will be just fine!” While the book is clearly not intended for recreational reading, it does effectively communicate with its target audience. The work provides an accurate and straightforward approach to fundamental elements of math, with clear explanations, examples that provide sufficient practice without becoming repetitive, and the scaffolding necessary to allow the reader to supplement classwork or engage in self-directed learning. The content is comprehensive, including all the elements generally taught in an introductory algebra class, and sufficient to help readers understand the aspects of higher math they are most likely to encounter.
A thorough and easy-to-follow textbook suitable for both beginning algebra students and those looking to recall old lessons.