If you are new to Java, the Java Demystified is one of the places to be - I mentioned "one of" because realistically you'll probably find yourself purchasing a number of books on the topic - at least I do when learning a new language. However, if you are knowledgeable about Java but are not too sure of GUI or JDBC, then you'll find this book worthwhile because both of these topics are covered. As for the examples, I keep example simple. By that I mean I don't give one example that covers multiple topics because that becomes confusing. Examples are practical in the sense that you can easily use them in your own application with slight modification (i.e. point to the correct database and use the correct fields). However, don't expect to find complete applications in this book (i.e. an order entry system) because you'll be disappointed. You'll find enough examples to make your own order entry application.