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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C# for Java Developers
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Allen Jones, Adam Freeman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
for the experienced java developer

This books hits the spot for java developers, the intended audience. A one page description on delegates, for example, has all the information you need to get started with delegates. The Oreilly book has a long winded chapter on it and the essence was lost in the obtuse example provided.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
<gasp!> I Don't like this book.....

I read Eckel's "Thinking in C++" carefully over a period of many months and loved it. Alas, when I began reading "Thinking in Java" I was both appalled and bored. Why, oh why, doesn't Eckel put lines numbers on the left of his Java source code listings. Laziness or arrogance, the end result is the same: source code that is made needlessly harder to read than necessary. Why on earth does Eckel use such boring, uninteresting fonts in this book? I can't think of a defensible reason for this other than that it's the exact same font scheme used in his "Thinking in C++". Why in G-d's name is "Thinking in Java" so long? I cannot imagine who has time to read such a long book. It is more than 50% longer then "Thinking in C++". So long that it is difficult to carry it in the train and read during rush hour! So long that it could take literally several months to read cover to cover. And yet for all its length, Eckel continues his (stupid) tradition of not including the answers or results of his source code examples. To actually type in every one of his examples would double the time required to read his book. What planet is that man from? What is he thinking? Furthermore, I found that by the time I was reading, say, page 500 of "Thinking in Java" I had long ago forgotten what he had said way, way back on page 100. Imagine, months later, reading page 950, trying to remember what he said on page 500! Eckel's thinking has not in my opinion changed between his writing "Thinking in Java" versus "Thinking in C++". I think he wrote the Java book with the same mindset he had when he wrote the C++ book. I personally feel that the time required to read Eckel's Java book can much more profitably be spent reading several other excellent books, including the excellent new book, "Java 2 Exam Cram" which I just finished reading and recommend.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dive into Python
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Mark Pilgrim
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best introduction to Python out there

If you are already a programmer by trade, but haven't yet started to learn Python, get this book either here or from the web site (just search to find it), and dive in. Each chapter starts with an small example program that actually does useful stuff, most of which is foreign to you when you start reading. A few pages later, you'll understand the whole program, and get a good feeling for what "Pythonic" programming is all about.
The author really understands the subject matter, and he really understands what is needed by readers who already have a strong programming background. Once you've worked your way through this book, you'll understand 1) Python, 2) Good programming practices in Python, and 3) Why Python has become such a success amongst professional programmers.
NOTE: If you don't already know programming, hold off on this book until later. If the whole topic of programming is brand new to you, go instead for Mark Lutz' book, "Learning Python (2nd edition)". Mark covers in great detail what could go wrong as you try things out. He insures you won't get lost. To do that, he has to be very explicit about everything. Experienced programmers don't need nearly so much detail, as they already know most of the stuff in the Lutz book, and will find themselves skipping trememdous amounts. These are the folks for whom this book is written.
I am finding this to be a great book for evangelization of others to the ranks of Python maniac.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C: A Reference Manual (5th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Samuel P. Harbison, Guy L. Steele
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good reference book on ANSI C; many examples

This is a good reference on ANSI standard C, although I wouldn't try to start learning the language from it. Either Harbison or Steele or both were on the committee that set the standard, and they often describe *why* a feature was included in the language. There are also examples of using and mis-using most parts of the language, and points about writing for clarity and letting the (modern) compiler optimize for speed.