J2EE Design Patterns Applied is based in large part on the Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies. The Core J2EE book is what is known as a Pattern Catalog. It focuses on describing Patterns and the problems that they solve but does not go into great detail on how to implement them (don't get me wrong, there is some code). The important part of a Pattern is not the implementation, but the concept behind it, and this is where Core J2EE shines. Personally, I like formulating my own thoughts on possible implementations and not have things handfed. I really like to read Pattern Catalogs and the quality of Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies is unsurpassed in the J2EE realm. The J2EE Design Patterns Applied book is not focused on teaching Patterns per se, though if it does then that is a nice side-effect. The book is instead focused on showing actual implementations of the Core J2EE Patterns. Furthermore, Applied Pattern books also take things one step further to show the relationship between the various Patterns. This is something not typically addressed in Pattern Catalogs. J2EE Design Patterns Applied is an excellent book in this regard, but make no mistake, the book is about code. Another way to look at it is like this: Pattern Catalogs books are typically 90% theory and 10% code. Applied Pattern books are typically 10% theory and 90% code. Both types of books have their place, though to get the most out of any Applied Pattern book you should really read the Pattern Catalog that it is based on. This is no exception for J2EE Design Patterns Applied. BTW, we had one of the authors of J2EE Design Patterns Applied here for a book promo last year, to get a feel for what John Carnell thinks check out this post.