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March 18, 2005

"Head First Java, Second Edition": A Jolt of Java to the Brain

Sebastopol, CA--Learning a complex new language is no easy task, especially when it's an object-oriented computer programming language like Java. Or, tougher yet, Java 5.0: the most significant version of Java in its ten-year history, with major changes to the language and important new APIs. There's a lot more to learn, but the problem is, your brain isn't getting any bigger. Or easier to train. In fact, it seems to have a mind of its own--a mind that doesn't always want to take in the dry, technical stuff you're forced to study.

The truth is that your brain craves novelty. It's constantly searching, scanning, waiting for something unusual to happen. After all, it was built that way to help you stay alive. It takes all the routine, ordinary, dull stuff and filters it to the background where it won't interfere with your brain's real work--recording things that matter. How does it know what matters? As Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, the authors of Head First Java, Second Edition (O'Reilly, US $44.95) say, "Suppose you're out for a hike and a tiger jumps in front of you, what happens inside your head? Neurons fire. Emotions crank up. Chemicals surge."

That's how your brain knows. And that's how your brain will learn Java.

Head First Java combines puzzles, strong visuals, mysteries, and soul-searching interviews with famous Java objects to engage readers in many different ways. It's fast, fun, and effective. And, despite its playful appearance, Head First Java is serious stuff: a complete introduction to object-oriented programming and Java. Readers learn everything from the fundamentals to advanced topics, including threads, network sockets, and distributed programming with RMI. This edition focuses on Java 5.0, the latest version of the Java language and development platform. Because Java 5.0 is a major update to the platform--with deep, code-level changes--even more careful study and implementation is required. So learning the Head First way is more important than ever.

The new edition covers these key topics and more:

  • The Java language
  • Object-oriented development
  • Writing, testing, and deploying applications
  • Using the Java API library
  • Exception handling
  • Multithreading
  • Swing GUI programming
  • Networking with RMI and sockets
  • Collections and generics
  • By exploiting the way your brain works, Head First Java compresses the time it takes to learn and retain complex information. Its unique approach doesn't just show you what you need to know about Java syntax, it teaches you to think like a Java programmer.

    If you've read a Head First book, you know what to expect--a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works. If you haven't, you're in for a treat. You'll see why people say it's unlike any other Java book you've ever read.

    Praise for the previous edition:

    "Head First Java transforms the printed page into the closest thing to a GUI you've ever seen. In a wry, hip manner, the authors make learning Java an engaging 'what're they gonna do next?' experience."
    --Warren Keuffel, "Software Development" magazine

    "When you get down to it, though, the only way to really decide on the worth of a tutorial is to decide how well it teaches. Head First Java excels at teaching."
    --Tony Williams, slashdot.org

    "This is, quite simply, the most unique learning guide to Java that is out on the market. And the fact it's from O'Reilly will shock some people who are used to just getting 'the facts' from their books. It's written in a very informal, humorous, conversational style with tons of offbeat graphics and examples. There's actually a method to the madness, too. They figure that if they can make the information interesting and 'different,' the brain will stay engaged in the learning process...If you are looking for a book to start your Java learning experience, I highly recommend this book."
    --Thomas Duff, twduff.com

    Other reviews of Head First Java can be found here.

    Additional Resources:

  • Chapter 2, "A Trip to Objectville," and Chapter 8, "Serious Polymorphism"
  • More information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and samples
  • A cover graphic in JPEG format
  • Head First Java, Second Edition
    Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates
    ISBN: 0-596-00920-8, 478 pages, $44.95 US, $62.95 CA
    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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