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Lesson for tech book authors

Bear Bibeault
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From Abstruse Goose:


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Flyover text: "I have also intentionally included fatal mistakes in the equations to make it more realistic. Please see the errata page on our website."
Aniruddh Joshi
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Posts: 275

That's why books like head first sell better than those written by creators of the technology :-D


Anrd
"One of the best things you could do is to simplify a larger application into a smaller one by reducing its process and complexity - Fowler"
Arnold Strong
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Joined: Jun 24, 2012
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Aniruddh Joshi wrote:That's why books like head first sell better than those written by creators of the technology :-D



Yes, they may be geniuses, but they are usually crappy teachers. What's worse is authors who write in the style bear mentioned
and top it up by creating broken and messed up work. Look at the google analytics API help for example. See images.
The guys who wrote these docs deserved to be given the pink slip.

Thankfully, for some topics, there are books like HF to save us from crappy authors.



[Thumbnail for bad link.jpg]

[Thumbnail for flop.jpg]

Anayonkar Shivalkar
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That depends. Personally, I've never found a bad book by creators of technology. Of course, my experience is limited to books by Ritchie(C), Stroustrup(C++) and Gosling(Java). And all are amazing books.

On the other hand, I've read 2-3 head first books and I always found that there are better alternatives to those. No offense meant to head first's authors - its just my opinion.


Regards,
Anayonkar Shivalkar (SCJP, SCWCD, OCMJD, OCEEJBD)
Arnold Strong
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Anayonkar Shivalkar wrote:That depends. Personally, I've never found a bad book by creators of technology. Of course, my experience is limited to books by Ritchie(C), Stroustrup(C++) and Gosling(Java). And all are amazing books.

On the other hand, I've read 2-3 head first books and I always found that there are better alternatives to those. No offense meant to head first's authors - its just my opinion.


You must be a genius then.
Anayonkar Shivalkar
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I don't think so. But yes, I do have a descent level of patience.
Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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We never assumed that everyone would like Head First books. I'd say that most everyone who buys computer books is trying to learn something, so everyone should find the style of book that makes their own learning as efficient as possible.

The one piece of advice that I would give is this: In the long run, your time is more valuable than the price of a couple of books. I have found very few books that work well during the learning stage AND during the reference stage. I would advise everyone to get two books on a topic: one to learn with, and another as a reference.


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Anayonkar Shivalkar
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Bert Bates wrote:We never assumed that everyone would like Head First books. I'd say that most everyone who buys computer books is trying to learn something, so everyone should find the style of book that makes their own learning as efficient as possible.

The one piece of advice that I would give is this: In the long run, your time is more valuable than the price of a couple of books. I have found very few books that work well during the learning stage AND during the reference stage. I would advise everyone to get two books on a topic: one to learn with, and another as a reference.

Perhaps I didn't put it in correct words.
I didn't mean to say that those books are 'not good'. Its just that I started learning with Gosling and Horstmann & Cornell books and after that, it is but natural to feel that head first books are quite 'missing' something.

However, its just my approach. I am comfortable reading books by technology creators.
But when someone asks about the best 'first' Java book, I always suggest either Head First, or Thinking in Java, and later on I recommend Core Java volumes, or Java Programming Language (I still remember the 'compliments' I got when I suggested one of my 'I-wanna-learn-C++' friend to thoroughly go through Stroustrup book )

So, yes, Head First books 'are good', its just that I read those at wrong time

And yes, generally I follow Bert Bates' 'two (or at least one) book per topic' approach - which is extremely helpful in long run.
Arnold Strong
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Anayonkar Shivalkar wrote:I don't think so. But yes, I do have a descent level of patience.

Good for you. But my patience has limits. I don't want to take forever to learn something I know will take much less time only if taught "properly".
Arnold Strong
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Anayonkar Shivalkar wrote:
Its just that I started learning with Gosling and Horstmann & Cornell books and after that, it is but natural to feel that head first books are quite 'missing' something.

Agree about the "missing" part. Bert's book may not cover everything, but i feel its a pretty good intro. Once one has some idea of the subject, one can start going deeper by reading books like the ones you mention.
Thats what I tend to do.
Rameshwar Soni
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Joined: Feb 03, 2011
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Bert Bates wrote:In the long run, your time is more valuable than the price of a couple of books. I would advise everyone to get two books on a topic: one to learn with, and another as a reference.


Its really a nice advice.
Bert Bates
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Thanks for the kind words guys!
 
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