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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Word 2000 Step by Step (Step By Step)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Catapult Inc.
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Lacking in details....bigtime!

This book (being returned to Amazon) has less information on the fine points of creating personal preferences than does the application's built in help menu. It assumes that every user had just come from the previous version of Word. Coming from Word 5.1a (Macintosh) I might as well have been arriving from Mars. The book lacks essential detail of each operation in which I was interested. A new user would do best to stay away from both this book and Word and opt for a simpler program.
I purchased the book hoping for detailed information of things like how to create stylized envelope return addresses in default, kerning, and other features. Kerning is not listed in the index or anywhere else in the book. This is one reason why I upgraded from an older Word and this book doesn't even mention that feature at all? It was so lacking that I needed a $7.00 phone call to Miscrosoft support just to learn how to save a styled envelope.
I'd pass on this one.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent introduction and a good reference for Java

While I attempted to learn Java from other books, only after I read this, could I say I really understood the language. I still refer to this frequently when I need to clarify concepts not adequately explained elsewhere. All important concepts are clearly explained with more depth than I've seen elsewhere.
It has some of the best coding examples I've seen, that can be used for the beginnings of working Java programs.
I wouldn't design/code in Java without it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop® 7 Bible (Bible)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Deke McClelland
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Definitely NOT the bible

First of all it's very disappointing that the publisher has stopped adding a cd with 'the bible' (which used to be the case in previous editions). As 'the bible' aims for beginner and intermediate users it's always nice you've got the pictures in the book on cd, so you can compare your results with the result you should aim at.
Secondly there is not nearly a word about 'Image Ready' in this book. When you bought this book expecting to learn how to make animated gifs or weboriented design you will be very disappointed because knowing Image Ready is necessary to complete this task. The title 'the bible' is there for misleading, as Image Ready comes standard with Photoshop for weboriented tasks.
Thirdly, Deke has a chapter by chapter approach which although he throrougly explains all the functions of a certain item, this does not lead to exercises in combination of all the parts. Combining the parts is exactly where Photoshop is at it's best.
Motivating new users of Photoshop is best done by project approach, as you learn more and will be more motivated to experiment when you understand the interaction between different techniques, but this is where the book fails miserabely. Deke has certainly an enormous knowledge about Photoshop, but the approach he takes for leading new users into the graphic domain will only lead to boredom. Definitely not recommended for new users, as you will very easily get bored by the academic approach.
Go for a basis project oriented approach and you will gave fun learning Photoshop, go for this book and you will get overwhelmed and demotivated.
It's not a holy book, except if you only use it as a reference point (and in this case I would go for the professional edition).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Design (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

I have a lot of books in my library and this book I was suprised when it arrived to be kinda thin! I cracked it open and started reading and was immediately drawn in to read the first 10-15 Items he describes right away.... I for one hate reading endless pages only to realize that the topic explained COULD have been explained tot he reader in a matter of a few paragraphs and not chapters! Effective C++ cuts to the chase, gets to the points and yet is still wordy enough so you get the point and is not mondane bring technical nerd ro-ha-ha :) I highly recommend this book as it will help you better understand C++ and is just a joy to read... Especially if you love to code...