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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Unleashed, Second Edition
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Walther
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great book!

I really enjoyed this book. It is on the bulky side, but it's a good read. It is definitely exhaustive, too. I recommend it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

Having read several positive reviews and recommendations of the book, I picked up a copy. Only a quarter of the way into the book, a growing sense of dread came over me as I realized that in finishing the book, I would put it down unsatisfied and disappointed. Having just completed the book, I can report that my initial feelings held true.
The book provides little insight and repeatedly makes the same points: 1) the quality of one's security is only as good as the weakest link. 2) you must analyze your security, determine the weakest link, and take appropriate measures to correct for the weakness. 3) there are numerous individuals who for innumerable motives wish to compromise your security in order to achieve some gain. 4) if it just doesn't look right (jdlr), it probably isn't. 5) be wary.
The book prosaically presents various forms of social engineering attacks to demonstrate how a given attack may achieve its purpose. None of the examples were very artful, enlightening, or innovative. Many center around the art of conning others and bootstrapping bits of information for maximum effect.
Very little insight was provided within. The book seems a rehashing of existing warnings and knowledge, but a rehash provided by an infamous author (and, therefore, saleable).
This is not a how-to book either for executing an attack or preventing one. There are far better volumes to understand both of these. It will tell you no more than what you already knew or should know from other security resources which can provide much more helpful information much more succinctly. At best, it can depict potential compromises for those who haven't the time to put their imagination to work.
This is certainly not a book for information security professionals. I think it would prove a dull read even for those unfamiliar with the topic.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Too much information...becoming very sleepy...

The philosophy of the book is to give you what you need to pass the exam, as well as a Whole Lot More about becoming a Java programmer. Which is fine if that's what you're looking for, but when I want a study guide for a particular exam, that's what I expect. Not an avalanche of additional information that distracts me from what I absolutely need to know--how to pass the test. Anyone who thinks the test is easy enough so that you can fill your head with other stuff that isn't on it, at the same time, is either mentally ill or about to produce and market safe affordable cold-fusion washing machines.
Now, I did pass with an OK score, and I did find the information accurate. Fine. But holy cow, I hope the next edition is cut down.
It's also one of the most serious, dry books I've ever read. Not that I need dancing bears to explain to me about polymorphism (though I guess I wouldn't object to it if they could do it well), but I felt like I was back at university, trying desperately to stay awake through my macroeconomics or organic chemistry texts.
So, an OK book but I really wish there were something else I could have used that was accurate and clear and everything else you need, but that would also have kept me awake.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
My only problem with this book is...

My only problem with this book is that all the pages are dogeared, most are heavily marked up, the binding is broken and the cover bent back. But that's just my copy, in use every day for 13 years now. Enough detail to implement algorithms; enough theory to understand them; enough breadth to compare them to other algorithms. (this review obviously refers to the first edition).