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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Shadow Hearts: Covenant Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Rick Barba
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Almost no content

In short, this is the worst game "guide" that I have ever purchased. This is why:
* No maps!
* Directions reverse left/right and east/west in several areas.
* Incorrect information about many of Yuri's Fusion levels.
* The Item Descriptions are often vague. Furthermore, information about the Items and Equipment are scattered randomly through the book. Ultimate Armors and the like are in an odd place near the front of the book instead of with the Equipment list. And if you see an item mentioned in the walkthrough, good luck finding it in the lists.
* Directions often neglect to mention the existence of valuable items in treasure chests in an area.
* Very thin spell data. Why aren't there lists of the extra spells you get when Solomon's Map sections are completed?

Overall, this book gives you as much content as would a text-only guide that you can find free all over the net -- an error-riddled guide at that. Don't waste your money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Authors: James Paul Gee
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

I read through the entire book today, enthralled that an academic of the same generation as my parents finally "got" what made videogames (focusing on action, adventure, and rpg games) a fascinating medium both for players and creators. Furthermore, the author was then able to apply this knowledge to his area of expertise, educational theory. I knew videogames could be art, I knew that as simulations they could be political, but I never quite saw what seems to me perfectly obvious now, that good videogames of almost every variety teach us how to think and learn, and that they do this much better than our school system.
This book should be loved by anyone with a strong interest in videogame theory or educational theory, as it impressively doesn't simplify either area to fit the demands of the other.
I also applaud the organization of the book, as each section centers around a few key concepts of educational theory which are repeated in the appendix giving everyone who has read the book an easy way to recall the '36 learning principles'.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Barry Boehm, Richard Turner
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Knowledge you should have before starting a project

Agility and discipline are not absolutes, but should be dosed out appropriately based on your project. The risk-management approach explained in this book is familiar to most business management folks, and provides a framework for making the right decision. This is a great way to cater a methodology to your project.
There were some "day in the life of" sections in this book that felt like fake stories -- it was almost like reading a DeMarco novel. Entertaining, but not entirely convincing. Also, contrary to Lean approaches, this risk management framework doesn't seem to lend itself to self-tuning as the project moves along (unless I missed something). There's a lot to be said for measuring how effective you're being and reacting to changes in your environment and product. The idea of doing all of your risk assessment up-front and choosing your methodology for the life of the project sounds exactly like the kind of thing that any "Agilist" would claim is not going to work!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must read for any web designer. Realistic, barebones advic

Steve Krug is a likeable guy. In this book, he doesn't waste any time and cuts right to the chase. You already know usability is the main key to a successful website... read a lot of "no brainer" advice. You'll walk away from this book with a handful of ideas to improve your website.
Unlike Jacob Neilson, Krug isn't such an extremest when it comes to usability. Krug is more practical and more in touch with reality.