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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Accelerated C++: Practical Programming by Example
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Koenig, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very effective alternative to other C++ books.

I'll start by saying that I probably would not have understood this book as well as I have, if I had not already been teaching myself C++ through other forums (primers and online). The thing that most of these other forums have in common is that they start with the basics and build up slowly to the more abstract concepts. The problems come during the switchovers (char* to string, procedural programming to object oriented, pointers to iterators, linked lists to containers, etc). In almost all cases you learn the more basic, and paradoxically more difficult concepts first. Then you have to 'unlearn what you have learned' in order to use the more advanced concepts.
So what's different about this book? It teaches a mix of syntax and 'advanced' concepts right from the beginning. You learn the basics of loops and choice statements while using the Standard Library. You also use them in specific examples that have real world uses (the grading program in the first few chapters for example). The Standard Library is _easy_ compared to arrays, char*, rolling your own linked list, using pointers, etc. Since it takes far less time to learn, you can be writing useful programs very quickly. _Then_ the authors go on to describe some of the more 'basic' concepts, usually in terms of how they implement some of the ideas behind the Standard Library. Since you have that understanding already, things like pointers become easier not only to learn, but to understand how they can be used.
I have one complaint about the book, and that's with the grading program, specifically how it appears in Chapter 4. As written, it's very confusing to actually enter data to get it to run correctly. A minor complaint though, considering how many times I thought to myself 'Aha! This is what I could use to solve this problem I've been having.' Or 'Aha! So this is what those other books were trying to say.'
In a nutshell, it's a refreshing look at C++ and if not able to stand on its own, is a must have supplement for anyone learning or using the language. At the very least, it's made me question the seeming SOP of giving the Standard Library one or two chapters and calling fundamentally harder concepts 'basic' and the concepts that make programming in C++ easier being considered 'advanced'.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Application Frameworks in .NET
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Xin Chen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book really sheds light on many of the Classic Gang of Four Design Patterns and provides real world, meaningful examples to demonstrate them.

If you have ever wanted to know how to use proper object oriented techniques in .NET, this book is for you.

The book provides some very interesting approaches on extensible, practicle, and reusable code, and the samples are right on par with the typical functionality that an application framework should provide.

It is also a very clean and easy to read book, and is organized very well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Hunter, Andrew Watt, Jeff Rafter, Kurt Cagle, Jon Duckett, Bill Patterson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Friendliy XML book that's also quite meaty

I've seen 4 or 5 XML books and own two including this one. The other one I have is XML: A Primer 2nd Ed by Simon St. Laurent...I've seen other books as thick as or thicker than 'Beginning XML' and from a quick glance, I've found to contain little more than fluff.
'Beginning XML' does a good job of covering all the important topics related to XML like Namespaces, DTDs, Schemas, XPath, DOM, SAX, XSLT, CSS etc... much so that the title is not really accurate in this sense. The other introductory XML books out there do not even touch on these topics to any practical degree.
I would also not recommend a Microsoft Press XML book as, typical with anything from Microsoft, I suspect it will teach you XML in a style that forces you to be dependent on Microsoft tools. However, as MS is one of the most important purveyors of quality XML tools it would also be a mistake to ignore their offerings. 'Beginning XML' does a very good job of acquainting you with both the MS tools as well as some of the more important third party ones.
The author's style is very friendly and easy to read and succeeds in making very complex and often boring topics like XSLT almost tolerable and sometimes even entertaining. Even more importantly, he touches on all the important issues in depth so that after finishing this book you can consider yourself at least an intermediate level expert in the myriad XML-related technologies out there.
The only reason I'm not giving five stars is because there just might be something better out there. But then, I wouldn't hang around waiting for one, 'coz Beginning XML, unlike the other books out there, is going to educate you on the topic in a sufficiently comprehensive and useful way. XML and its related technologies is a huge and difficult field, and any book that looks like it makes for light reading will, in my opinion, fail to teach the subject properly.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network Marketing for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Zig Ziglar, John P. Hayes
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A lot of good information!

Zig Ziglar has out done himself once again in coming out with this great book on Network Marketing. I am a great fan of Zig's sales and motivational tools and this book is no exception. The book covers an in-depth look at compensation plans, handling customers, being a leader, etc. The only true flaw is that this book lacks the insight on informing new recruits of the MLM pitfalls they are bound to encounter. It also skips over the exact "how-to"'s of handling objections and doing presentations. Plus this book is not "simple" enough or easy to "duplicate" for the new recruit. It's just too long!. If you're looking for a book that covers the essentials of "how" to succeed in MLM, may I suggest: "Your First Year in Network Markting" by Mark and Rene Reid Yarnell, instead.
Bottom Line: Don't get me wrong, this is a great book for people who want to know about Network Marketing, and with just a little fine tuning, would be the best book ever!.
I hope this was helpful to you.