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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Graphic Java 2, Volume 2: Swing (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: David Geary
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
approachable and thorough

I found this book to be a thorough start-to-finish explanation of Swing, with detailed coverage of each component. There is a wealth of online information about Java and Swing, and there are also other Swing books, but I never saw the big picture until I bought this book. A MUST READ for any Java GUI developer. Other reviewers have stated that this book was too complex for beginner and intermediate developers. I strongly disagree. Swing itself is complex and powerful, and to leverage its full potential requires advanced programming skill. However I do not believe it, or this book, could be made any simpler and remain as useful and powerful. If you want simplicity, get a book on VB!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: VBA Developer's Handbook, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Ken Getz, Mike Gilbert
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A dissenting opinion

On p. 418 of this book occurs the following statement: "One of VBA's greatest strengths is its ability to control other applications using Automation. Undoubtedly, developers will use VBA most often for this purpose."
Despite the above remark, there is NOT ONE MORE WORD about this in the entire 922 pages.!.!
The term "handbook" as used, for example, in "The Electrical Engineer's Handbook" and tomes of that sort means a rather complete, though brief, coverage of an entire subject. In contrast, this book is a hodge-podge of program scraps that can be cut and pasted here and there in a real program. I can understand the enthusiasm of the reviewers that found exactly the tidbit they needed, but a better title would be "Miscellaneous Program Excerpts using VBA".
An exception to this generalization is Chapter 7 on error handling and debugging, which actually provides some understanding of these items. In fairness, there are myriad little details that can be useful to know. My main gripes are the omission of big areas, and the lack of a cohesive presentation.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Concentrated, well-written, with lots of expert advice

The best thing about this book is that it doesn't follow the example of most of the other SQL Server books out there -- it doesn't settle for merely repeating the Books Online. Instead, it fills in the details the BOL leaves out and provides expert advice that only a guru could.
I've been a certified SQL Server DBA since Microsoft first offered the certification, and I can say that this book is hands down the best T-SQL book around, as Joe Celko says in the book's Foreword. Beyond that, it's the best book I've seen on _any_ SQL dialect - Microsoft or otherwise.
The best parts of the book are the early chapters. The Data Types chapter, for example, provides an expansive tour through the many nuances of the SQL Server data types, including the new ones introduced by SQL Server 7.0. The new GUID type, for example, is covered in detail, and expert comparisons with other similar types are offered.
The Nulls chapter is also a gem. Most database writers avoid getting drawn into the sometimes philosophical debate over missing values. Henderson handles the subject adroitly and succinctly -- recommending a course of action without sounding religious.
The DDL Insights and DML Insights chapters are also quite good. The book could have stooped to merely regurgitating the BOL, but this book doesn't do that. So, instead of a 100 pages each on DML and DDL, with have two chapters of about ten pages a piece that focus on the things not mentioned by the BOL -- things only a guru would know.
The chapter titled The Mighty SELECT Statement is the crown jewel of the book. I was well aware of most of the things SELECT could do before I ever read this book, however, this book takes the subject to a new level. It exposes features and power even veterans like myself would normally miss. It showed me ways of making SELECT work for me that I'd never even dreamed of. I used one of the techniques it illustrates just yesterday and blew my coworkers away. Like many of the techniques in this book, that one tip alone was worth the price of the book.
All around, I'd say this is the best investment you can make with your SQL Server $$. If you want to know Transact-SQL like the gurus do, read this book and learn it inside out.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Quickbooks 2003 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Stephen L. Nelson, Stephen L. Nelson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Dog-eared and coffee-stained, for good reason!

I have 4 different books on using QB, including this one. Know what? The book I always finding myself reaching for first is this one! The chapters 17 thru 21 are an especially nice treat; they are not really QB-specific, (so some might argue that these chapters are "filler"), but they are incredibly interesting ways of looking at your business! Like a said, a nice treat. This is the first book I've found that gave a CLEAR and interesting explanation of double-entry bookkeeping. (It doesn't make sense to learn QB if you don't pick up at least a **little** accounting rules along the way!)
The "style" of this book is very friendly, and you'll find it is a very fast read; maybe it's because the explanations about WHY QB does things the way it does MAKES SENSE!
Keep up the good work, Mr. Nelson, this book is a gem!