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
"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
--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
Head First Java
Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates
ISBN 0-596-00465-6, 619 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN), 28.50 (UK)
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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