on July 25, 2003
I have just finished a class with the book as its main textbook. The book is well written, but you honestly have to work through each page with pen and paper in hand filling in the omitted steps. Nothing is spoon-fed to you. The exercises are very challenging while the problems develop small theories. If you work through the pain and sweat through the exercises, you will at the end of the book greatly improve your skills and intuition.
The author Stein is a leader in his field and has provided plenty of depth and breadth. This also means that he is on a different level and an argument that he calls "simple" has quite often taken me two pages to justify. However, if you put in the effort it will pay off tenfold.