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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Visual Introduction to SQL
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: David Chappell, J. Harvey Trimble
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Simply Great!


Are you brand new to SQL? Do you need to Understand, Learn, and Apply SQL to your job or personal use? I would highly recommend this book! I am only half way through the book and I have learned so much, in so little time. Now I can apply what I have learned in the book to my job. =)



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages, Vol. 1: Core Technologies, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not a good way to learn the basics


Marty Hall's _Core_Servlets_&_Java_Server_pages_ is the best book I've seen so far on the subject (I've also read Java2 T.C.Ref., Thinking in Java, Java_Gently, Java & XML and Developing Java Web Services).Using Apache Tomcat and his sample code as templates, I had a JSP/Servlet combination running delivering a Java/XML solution to my client in a short time.My only critism so far is that I was able to filter a server directory using a servlet, but not in a JSP which I had to work around in the JSP indirectly. Still, Marty's book got me and my project up & running and for that I am thankful. Previous to this the only Java training I've received is a core Java class.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Confidence : How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End
Publisher: Crown Business
Authors: ROSABETH MOSS KANTER
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
An over hyped book with very little of value


REVIEW SUMMARY: The author of CONFIDENCE informs the reader "I wrote this book not only to show teams, companies, communities, and countries how to cultivate better leadership. I also had a grander goal: to help people in many walks of life to find the confidence to win whatever game they are playing..." (page 350) Unfortunately, the product of these laudable goals falls woefully short both as a source of wisdom and as an interesting read. Those seeking insight into to how to best lead change, how to increase their own confidence, or strategies for effective leadership in general, should select other sources. Several excellent books are recommended at the end of this review.

REVIEW: CONFIDENCE fails the reader for 3 reasons: 1) the few insights provided are so basic as to be best described as trite; 2) the surplus verbiage and detail embedded in the text and examples causes the reader's mind to wander; and 3) the author's excessive reference to herself is in conflict with the leadership advice she is offering and seems to border on narcissism.

In the book's final chapter Ms. Kanter boils down the breadth of her wisdom to the following hackneyed bit of advice: "By now the secret of winning should be clear: Try not to lose twice in a row." (page 350) The author believes this sentence to be so valuable, indeed, so profound, that she makes it a separate paragraph.

The author indulges herself with superfluous detail that can drive the reader to distraction. For example, in describing the Philadelphia Eagles' need to prioritize their resources and efforts, Ms. Kanter included the following sentence: "Andy Reid's request for software for his Avid computer system had to take a backseat to the technology needs of the stadium." (page 157). This excess verbiage, and countless other examples, is testament to the author's lack of consideration for the fact that the reader's time is valuable, and we struggle with information overload.

Ms. Kanter's frequent references to herself reminds one of a tabloid gossip columnist seeking to convey his/her own self importance. We learn the names of her son and husband, the breed of dog she has, that she lives in Cambridge and walks to work at Harvard Business School along the Charles River in Boston and that she vacations in Martha's Vineyard and Miami. That she was one of the few to be invited to the Economic Summits of both Presidents Bush (senior) and Clinton. And that she plays tennis. It seems to this reviewer that the author includes this insipid text to hide the fact that she does not have much to say of value to the reader.

The excessive use of first person pronouns is perhaps unequaled in managerial professional literature. In the 3.5 paragraphs found on the first page of the Preface, a reader will find the words "my" or "I" 20 times - that's not a typo, twenty uses of first person pronouns in 3.5 paragraphs. I compared the first Preface page of several of the highly regarded management guru Peter Drucker's books and found a complete lack of first person pronouns. Ms. Kanter's extreme reference to herself is consistent throughout the book. It's as if she had no help researching and writing the book. Her assistants and collaborators should be forever thankful of the oversight.

If this book was written by "John Doe" of "No-Name Business School," it would have never been accepted for publication because it is poorly written and contains very little of value.

Recommendations:

Wonderful books on leadership available from Amazon:

1) "John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do" by John P. Kotter. The entire book is great, though a little dry, chapters 1 and 4 are brilliant and are worth rereading every year.

2) "Leading At The Edge" by Dennis N. T. Perkins. Perkins' book draws on the incredible story of Shackleton's 1914 - 1916 Antarctic Expedition to reveal the power of effective organizational leadership under conditions of uncertainty, ambiguity, and rapid change. The book uncovers 10 lessons complete with inspiring examples from the Shackleton expedition, as well as contemporary business case studies of the strategies in action on what it takes to be a great leader. A wonderfully written book with very valuable ideas.

Books on "confidence" from Amazon:

1) "Learned Optimism" by Martin E. P. Seligman. Optimism and confidence are inextricably linked. The book is a very interesting to read and provides a self-test to help the reader determine if they look at the world with pessimistic lenses or optimistic lenses. He then goes on to offer techniques for enhancing one's optimism and, therefore, one's confidence. A well researched and written book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Unleashed, Second Edition
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Walther
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
THE LITMUS TEST


The acid test of any textbook has to be how far it takes you up the learning curve. After a certain point, any further learning may be asymptotic, but if you can at least get to that stage the book has done its job. All I can say is that the Second Edition of ASP.NET Unleashed did it for me.
First of all, I prefer C#. The fact that the book's examples were in Vb.Net presented no problem as all the examples are also in C# on the accompanying CD. All of these can be opened in WebMatrix with ease.
Every example in the book serves as a complete microproject, with very clear and precise concomitant explanations. One thing that became obvious since purchasing this book was that it became the number one reference for a number of tricky little problems encountered. The book abounds with examples that cover many I could point out, but space precludes. However, an article appeared this morning on the problem of filling in large forms and the associated difficulties of paging back and forth or long scrolling. The book illustrates a sophisticated solution using panel controls - very neat indeed.
The main criticism seems to be on 'codebehind'. One review that I read previously on the First Edition put me off. I gritted my teeth when I bought this edition and I am so glad that I did.
This book teaches you what you need to get to the part before the learning curve becomes asymptotic. Codebehind? You can take the examples and split the code into various .cs files ( in my case)and compile them. It's an excellent learning experience: once you have done a few it becomes standard practice. Codebehind isn't an issue.