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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: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Confusing for beginners, and not much better for others

I'd only recommend Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days if nothing else is available.
First, let me say that a few have eluded to the "cutesy" writing style the authors intersperse throughout this book. It's not as sickening as they claim; in fact, it's actually one of the saving graces of the book, adding enough humor and "down-to-earthness" to keep the reader somewhat interested in it.
My beef is the confusing teaching style Lemay and Cadenhead present. It often leaves the reader frustrated and perplexed by jumping around back and forth in the book searching for a clear explanation on how to do anything within Java. Here's what I mean: frequently, new terminology is only briefly touched upon within a chapter (and it usually doesn't tie in directly with the chapter's subject matter), only to abruptly conclude with "We'll get into this topic more tomorrow" or "we'll cover this more next week". When the topic is reconvened later, you're automatically expected to have a thorough knowledge of it. This leaves you thumbing through previous pages trying to look for any explanation on it. I found that the first seven chapters are especially good (or should I say bad) at this. I can realistically say that at the end of the first week, some beginners still won't know the differences between variables, statements, and methods -- all basic elements taught "in detail".
The examples sometimes include elements that aren't even mentioned until several chapters later. As you're going through lines of code, there's the odd syntax with no details on what it actually does within the example. You're just excepted to accept it. If you're new to Java, and like to know what's going on at all times, this would prove to be quite mind-boggling. While this is admittedly unavoidable, there are so many times the authors could've started out with simple concepts (and examples to match them) and "build up" gradually.
Speaking of the examples -- I feel there should have been more in each chapter. Unless you're the type who remembers everything after being told only once, you'd need more examples and sample applications and applets to help the material "sink in".

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Excel Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Raina Hawley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
saving me time and frustration

This is a very useful guide to overcoming and avoiding irritations. Using Excel can be infuriating, but it's often the most convenient software to use. This book certainly increases my confidence and reduces my dread. For example, there are lots of tips on how to streamline your work and avoid repetetive tasks.
It goes far beyond that, though, and advises you how to personalize your workspace and use what I would call "magic" to make my work go more smoothly. Although it isn't the most exciting writing style, the information works and improves my Excel experience. I'm so much less frustrated when working with my data sets!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Database Systems: A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation, and Management, Third Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley Publishing Company
Authors: Thomas Connolly, Carolyn Begg
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Informative & Easy to understand

This book is also one of my reference in database systems. Why? Because this book was written in a very informative way, it covers most of modern databases topic, e.g. RDBMS SQL3 ORDBMS OODBMS etc. Also it is easy to understand, lot of examples, etc. It is worth buying this book. I think it is suitable for any beginner or student or experienced guys who need a clearer understandable way.
Although this book is not enough, but it is a great starting point.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Embedded Systems in C and C ++
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Michael Barr
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good book, a little sponsored

This book is rather concise and clear. You could take a board and put it to work in minutes. This book also make clear distinction about locators, compiler and other stuffs that could (for the beginner) cause a bit of confusion. I give 4 stars because the book is too tied to a particular board , about the examples. So, if you have something other hardware, you are out of luck.