I've recently been disappointed by a few books that have "using MATLAB" in their title, which makes me wonder why. I like MATLAB so it isn't MATLAB. There are other books that I will keep at considerable inconvenience to myself even if I haven't used them for years, and that also makes me wonder why? I'm curious if others have similar opinions and what they might be.


closed as primarily opinion-based by hotpaw2, Marcus Müller, lennon310, MBaz, Peter K. Jun 15 '17 at 22:09

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  • $\begingroup$ "using Matlab" is the buzzword of the last decade... $\endgroup$ – Fat32 Jun 15 '17 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ I'm of the last century. A decade is nothing $\endgroup$ – Stanley Pawlukiewicz Jun 15 '17 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ It's an observed trend that newer books are lacking the quality of the previous century in many aspects. More colorful figures, less philosophical discussions, more buzzwords, less mathematical skills more plug-in formulas less problem solving skills. Still good books exist though. And admittedly some old books are really boringly-obscure by the way! $\endgroup$ – Fat32 Jun 15 '17 at 2:04
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    $\begingroup$ So much the better if new books are identified but I don't think it's new vs old. Kailath isn't really that old and perhaps a bias towards the old might need some challenging. A cynical person might argue "using Matlab" is on average "better" than "using Python" and I also use Python but not nearly as much as Matlab. I also like The Feynman Lectures better than Haliday and Resnik. Feynman starts optics by introducing Fermats Principle of Least Time. Most other books slog through Snells law and boundary values $\endgroup$ – Stanley Pawlukiewicz Jun 15 '17 at 2:36

So I'll just name one good book and why.

LINEAR ESTIMATION T.Kailath, A. H. Sayed, and B. Hassibi

The subjects are explained in a clear and insightful way. One feels that they understand when you get to end of the chapter

Then we try the problems and stare at them in blank confusion. Very little is obvious. We now know we don't understand anything. There is little that a web search will clarify. The problems only yield after thinking and thinking hard.


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