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May 30, 2003

Leaping from an Airplane? No, It's Learning Java--The Easy Way: O'Reilly Releases "Head First Java"

Sebastopol, CA--Whether you're freefalling from twelve thousand feet in the air, falling head over heels in love, or plunging into the unknown depths of a cool mountain lake, going head first into anything involves a certain amount of daring--there's the lack of control, the sudden rush of exhilaration as you leave the safe and familiar behind. The result? Well, it varies. But be assured your mind is totally engaged throughout the experience.

Head First Java by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates (O'Reilly, US $39.95) treats your brain to the same rush as you leave behind the safe, familiar, and too-often dull methods of learning that you've tried and perhaps been frustrated with in the past. Combining humor, puzzles, strong visuals, and a friendly conversational style, this book is designed to accelerate learning by engaging the reader's entire mind in an active learning process. It's fast, it's fun, and it's effective.

According to the authors, the latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology shows that learning at the deeper levels takes a lot more than text on a page. Actively combining words and pictures not only helps in understanding the subject, but in remembering it. The entertaining, image-rich, conversational approach used in "Head First Java" actually teaches the subject better by taking into account the way the human brain learns.

"Head First Java" isn't for everyone. It's written for readers with some scripting or programming experience who want to learn Java and who prefer stimulating dinner party conversation to dry, technical lectures. People who believe that a technical book can't be serious if there's a picture of a duck in the memory management section should probably back away from it.

Despite its playful appearance, "Head First Java" is serious stuff--a complete introduction to object-oriented (OO) programming and Java. Readers will learn everything from fundamentals to advanced topics, including threads, network sockets, and distributed programming with RMI. More importantly, they'll learn how to think like object-oriented developers. They won't just be reading and solving puzzles--they'll be writing real Java, and plenty of it.

Kathy Sierra has been a master trainer for Sun Microsystems, teaching Sun's own instructors how to teach the latest Java technologies. Coauthor Bert Bates is a member of the development team for several of Sun's Java Certification exams. Together, Sierra and Bates have used the concepts in "Head First Java" to teach hundreds of trainers and developers.

"Bert and I both come from a work background in artificial intelligence," says Sierra. "We both spent years studying cognitive science, where we learned a great deal about how people think. But we saw a huge gap between the way the brain works and traditional approaches to learning. Here we were trying to get computers to work just a little more like humans, while teachers and textbooks were trying to get humans to work like computers--information processing machines you could just pour data into and get a result. Human brains don't work that way."

Here's what people are saying about "Head First Java":

"It's fast, irreverent, fun, and engaging. Be careful--you might actually learn something!"
--Ken Arnold, former Senior Engineer at sun Microsystems and coauthor (with James Gosling, creator of Java) of "The Java Programming Language"

"Beyond the engaging style that drags you forward from know-nothing into exalted Java warrior status, 'Head First Java' covers a huge amount of practical matters that other texts leave as the dreaded 'exercise for the reader'...It's clever, wry, hip, and practical--there aren't a lot of textbooks that can make that claim and live up to it while also teaching you about object serialization and network launch protocols."
--Dr. Dan Russell, Director of User Sciences and Experience Research, IBM Almaden Research Center

"This stuff is so fricking good it makes me wanna WEEP! Unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it"
--Floyd Jones, Senior Technical Writer, BEA (Former Sun Microsystems Java Course Developer)

"If you want to learn Java, look no further: welcome to the first GUI-based technical book! Prepare yourself for a truly remarkable ride through Java land."
--Neil R. Bauman, Captain and CEO, Geek Cruises

Additional Resources:

Head First Java
Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates
ISBN 0-596-00465-6, 619 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN), 28.50 (UK)
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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