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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows with C# (Core Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just what I expected...

I had forgotten how good it is to read text written by a really good writer. He starts with the basics, covering enough to get you going, and moves into more advanced topics for developing Windows Forms applications, including things like drawing and all of the standard widget control you would expect in a book from Charles Petzold. Quibbles? Some lax editing (for instance, on Page 12, it says date when I am pretty sure he meant data) but as a writer myself, I know how difficult it is to get a "perfect" book out the door. That said, I am thrilled to have this book, and have read a good bit of it, and will continue to read it to the end (though given the length, it may take a while!).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
#2 on my list

Start wih Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think, then once the principles you've learned there are ingrained, move on here for more detail.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
There are books, and there's The Code Book

Reading a book about cryptography over a weekend that was relegated to the recycle bin thanks to an annoying bout of flu was not something I expect to dream about, leave alone end up actually doing. Well, read that book I did. And how. Friday night through Tuesday morning I looked like a law student cramming for a bar exam, except I was enjoying every moment of it.
Rhetoric apart, The Code Book, a well-written chronology of cryptology, is one more of those excellent near-fiction but non-fiction reads on the market today. Simon Singh's alternative profession as a PBS documentarian is betrayed as the book unfolds almost like a televised series on the evolution of cryptography and cryptanalysis. Singh unearths some intriguing stories involving the Queen of Scots, World War II, Hitler, Navajo Indians, and asymmetric key cryptography. The intriguing but heavy social aspect of cryptography is clearly surfaced and is something that is bound to keep the reader thinking about.
In summary, this is a reasonably easy read aimed at the average inquisitive reader but there are enough technical details to keep the "power readers" satisfied.
In one line: a highly recommended read for anyone who can hold up a book and turn pages.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Financial Modeling - 2nd Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Simon Benninga
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book due to its simple practicality

I highly recommend this book to any aspiring financial analyst. It is definitely worth it, even at the list price.
Want to master the fundamentals of basic finance using Excel? then this is one of the few books on the market that really meet this need. Want to set up more advanced mathmatics modeling? well as the introduction of this explains, this book is more like a cookbook: it lists the required basic ingredients and the culinary process but if you want to spice the dish (financial model) up, it is up to the individuals to dig out those advanced formulas from the financial trade journals and apply them to the models.
I first saw the first edition of this book in my college library. took it home and was EXCITED. I was looking for a practical book that would show me the intricacies of Excel for setting up financial models and this was like a god-sent. Like one of the other reviewers said, this book combined basic finance, Excel functions, and VBA programming. To add practicality to this book, Professor Benninga even showed how to download financial data from the internet. Granted it is rather basic, but it adds to the usability of his book, making it a well-round book.
The best parts are end-of-the chapter exercises. Solutions are provided in the accompanying CD-ROM. See how many ways can you solve the same problem.
Professor Benninga always outlines the assumptions and explains the parameters of each model. We should remember that in many instances, unrealistic assumptions lead to way-of-the mark numbers, rendering the whole modeling process and its calculations useless.
Want to become a advanced-level financial modeler? then master the fundamentals first! this book gets you started.
P.S. I also highly recommend to anyone just starting with Excel modeling to read William J. Orvis's Excel for Scientists and Engineers. It is a bit outdated but still highly useful for its chapters on curve fitting, VBA programming and raw data manipulation.