File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
The moose likes Bunkhouse Porch and the fly likes Harsh reviews... Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Books » Bunkhouse Porch
Bookmark "Harsh reviews..." Watch "Harsh reviews..." New topic

Harsh reviews...

Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
Anybody know of any particularly harsh or pithy book reviews?
My favorite, from decades ago...
"This book fills a much needed gap" (wait for it... )

Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Some of reviews for "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" are very entertaining:
"However, I really bought it to see how the masters teach introductory programming. They don't, unless maybe you have a SAT score of 1500+, an IQ of 170++, and are an MIT student being taught by someone who knows and loves this book. Otherwise, don't touch it! There are better things to do with the money: burn it, give it to the rich, or buy drugs from a narc. "
"From what I've read, I get the impression this book was written in a rush, and with the purpose of cramming tons of nonsense and filler in just to have an excuse to present Scheme (a pathetic language)."
"Besides the heavy and dull material (which may not be that bad at all) this book has an unfriendly style, as if the authors are trying to elevate themselves above the crowd, instead of teach something. I won't recommend this text even to my enemies."
"Try my SICP simulator. Close your eyes and have someone kick you in the teeth. This will be a good approximation to how you'll feel when readint this book."
"This book is good to read when you have trouble falling asleep."
"After taking my class, i burnt this book."

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
For the Miriam-Webster Dictionary:
More like Kindergardenate Dictionary, March 20, 2002
Reviewer: Jon Dansby from Ft. Worth, TX USA
Who let this guy write a dikshunary!! This is one of the dummest books I ever read!! I could have rightten a better one in 1/2 the book!!

Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Business Specifications: The Key to Successful Software Engineering by Haim Kilov
Through the looking glass darkly (understanding this book) June 18, 2001
A colleague gave this book and challenged me to understand it, and if I truly understood it he further challenged me to write a review. Since I'm posting a review I obviously understood it.
My first pass through the book was frustrating. I could not get a sense of what the author was trying to say, even though it sounded important. Each time I was tempted to admit defeat and toss the book back in my colleague's face some unseen force make me keep reading. By the time I reached the end I knew less about business specifications than I knew when I first started reading.
I'm not a quitter by nature, so I went back through the book looking for clues that would point me to the elusive methods of business specifications. About mid way through I had a Zen-like flash of understanding and enlightenment. I'd figured it out! The author has skillfully blended the timeless work of the Grimm Brothers, Hansel and Gretle, with the surrealistic writings of Lewis Caroll. Here are the clues: like the Grimm Brothers' masterpiece the author drops little facts and ideas like bread crumbs throughout the labyrinth writing to subtly lead you to that supreme moment of Epiphany - understanding how business specifications can be married to object-oriented techniques. In case the reader is too dense to get it, he also draws maps in the form of diagrams. He fails, however, to explain the symbology in clear terms, and is equally obtuse when it comes to explaining the rules of his notational masterpiece. This is where Lewis Caroll comes in, and how I discovered the key to understanding this book in the first place. He litters the book with passages from Lewis Caroll's books. Not a subtle message, but one that certainly tells you how to read the book. Think surreal and pretend you are chasing a white rabbit and the quest for gleaning useful information from this book will suddenly have a purpose.
As I said, I had a brief moment when the entire book made perfect sense, then, poof, it evaporated and I returned to the real world where I was utterly confused by the author's writing style and intent. The way I see it you have some options. (1) Avoid the book. Frankly you will not miss anything. (2) Buy the book and when or if your moment of clarity comes and you achieve enlightenment write it down before you forget it - and please share it with the rest of us. (3) Buy the book, attempt to understand it and, failing that, go ask Alice.
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Reviews of Cary Jardin's books are usually a lot of fun.
His SCJP 1.1 Cert Guide in particular generated quite a bit of excitement.
Here's another set of reviews to remind you why carelessness is bloody and painful for technical books.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

Here's a five-star review for the above-mentioned book:

fdfffd, September 14, 1999
Reviewer: frfsrf@efef.efef from ddsdd


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Jason Menard

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
His SCJP 1.1 Cert Guide in particular generated quite a bit of excitement.

An excerpt from a five-star review of that book:
Unfortunately Mr. Jardin's books contains many mistakes. As many other books. As Java itself. As any software application. As software applications written by Mr. Jardin's critics. But if you are really Java programmer - it is not a problem to you. If you are not Java programmer - you can find of course mistakes-free book, read it then FAIL the test
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Harsh reviews...
jQuery in Action, 3rd edition