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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rogers Cadenhead, Laura Lemay
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Recommended by a friend

I read the comments on this page prior to purchasing the book. My friend, an accomplished programmer, recommended this book highly. I purchased it and guess what. It's awesome! I can't wait to use it as part of my reference library once I start using Java on my Web page.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Donald E. Knuth
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

This book is really quite useless for those of us who have to program for a living.
I mean his definition of an "Algorithm" in chaper one couldn't be more obstuse and unhelpful. Why ? Why ? Why did he do this.
Why did he write everything in a hypothtical machine language.
I really admire Knuth - especially for producing TeX, and then giving it away for free - We all love him for that.
But this book is unreadable!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Love it & Hate it

If you are wondering what design patterns are.. well this book isn't for you, for now. Design patterns are cool, indispensable, useful ways to combine objects to build better OO programs. (Here better means basically more clear, extendable, maintanable, and elegant). Now, this is the book that started the design patterns "frenzy" and this is of course both good and bad, since in this frenzy some folks start to forget that good OOP ins't only about design and that design patterns are simple ways to combine object and not rocket science.
Anyhow... this book is not very good as an introduction to the subject, due to its dry and sometimes obscure style.
It is a very good read though for someone who has already read a more tutorial-like book (like "Design Patterns Explained" or the excellent "Thinking in Patterns" that you can download for free at Bruce Eckels's site) and wants to see them explained again from the "masters". This book
is extraordinarily useful and important, you cannot go without reading it if you are an OO programmer.. but still I wish that the style was simple and down to earth.
Most of the sample code is given in C++ but you don't need to be a C++ pro to read it. Some is in Smalltalk.. mmmm and that was definitely a bad idea .. but you can just skip it without losing anything.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
very good book

The Final Fantasy VIII Strategy Guide is a very good guide to a very good game. However, it does have a bit of problems. The book reveals the plot a little, and a lot of the stuff you need in the beginning is in the back. I think that David Cassady did a good job.