Posted on 2000-04-26
Last Modified: 2011-10-03
Dear all here.Thanks for reading below:

I find a BIG problem now and I need your comments and friendly advice!!!

When I want to study something/tech about computer,like language etc.

I find there are many books about them in bookstore.I'm totaly gotten dizzied.
My question is kinda theoretic/conceptional:

How to recognize a book is a good book?

I mean how to differnentiate in a quick way and efficient way? I cannot read all of them before I buy them:-)
Some friend tell me read the preface is important but I think I need more such advice and expertise.

How to discern/checkout a good book ?
Or how to choose book by just skim it? What's the skill and what's the most important thing?

I REALLY appreciate your ANY help,comments!!(plz don't answer soon,let it open and)  

I will give the points to the most insightful comment and I will share certian points to those people who deserve it for good comment!

Feel free to comment ,I need your  thoughts!I get pretty hot on this



Question by:sohu
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 2751669
if you visit a site like and browse their books section, you can usually find lots of testimonials and reviews from other people about a particular group.  this is a good way to get a lot of feedback quickly about a book that others have already looked at.  this is true for many other online bookstores so you should be able to gather a lot of information that way.

Expert Comment

ID: 2751704
AzraSound is right - reviews by others who have read the books are going to be your best guide, but there are other hints.

Its worth looking at the publisher - some publishers simply churn out rehashes of the Microsoft literature, others are genuinely independent and thoughtful.

In the past I have found all the Wrox Press books to be very good, likewise the O'Reilly guides are usually well respected.

Its also an idea to look at other titles in the same series - you will quite often find that "Wonder Programming in VB6" is exactly the same as "Wonder Programming in VB5" with an extra chapter thrown in. This is a sure sign of lazy writing.

Author Comment

ID: 2751709

My Problem is:

Yes,you can suggest/tell me some good book and tell me go to buy it.But what really I need is the way/capability to discern a book should be a good book ,like it tells me not only why ,but how ,something like that.

I think the way/wise to discern a book is very important than sb tell me what book is good.

Please tell me the way your way to choose/check a good book,I will be very very thankful!

Best Wishes  to you !!!
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Expert Comment

ID: 2751723
Very hard to say what makes a good book. I try and look at the layout of the chapters - plenty of good samples and clear diagrams are usually a good sign, whereas page after page of solid text descriptions tend to be a bit dry and hard to read.

Also... summary sections at the end of each chapter are very handy.

As for the content - the only real way is to look at the contents to see what's covered, and to skim through a couple of chapters.

I cant think of a failsafe method for ascertaining the quality without sitting down and reading properly though.

Author Comment

ID: 2751727
Very sorry about my English,I'm trying my best.

In short: I want to know how to discern/value/checkout a book by just skimming it?
Like I goto a bookstore and I want to find a good one out of a bunch in front of me:-)

Would you please tell me some advice/method/secrets?(i call it secret because now i'm very urgent/hot about it:-)

Good Luck!
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 2751729
to be honest i do exactly what i mentioned above.  lots of times very respectable professionals are the ones leaving the comments at those websites.  some professionals are paid to look at a book and review it.  when i went to buy books, i went online and just picked the books that seemed to get the best reviews.  other programmers, such as yourself, are looking for the same type of information.  thus, if they are saying that "this book reads easily and has every answer i'm looking for", chances are, its a good book.  

Author Comment

ID: 2751738
Btw 1:
paulstamp ,thank you sincerely.I appreciate your help!

Btw 2:The problem is not specific to a kind of language book but all books about programming(just programming,I want to be a good programmer ,I only read programming book :-)
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 2751739
thats almost like saying how can i find a good novel by skimming it.  youre missing large chunks of the puzzle.  one chapter you skim might be written well and the rest be completely incoherent to you.  solution:  take the time to do a little research and see what the best books available on the market are.  as with anything, a lot of it has to do with personal preferences, so there is a risk in any path you take. whether its by skimming or taking the word of testimonials from others.

Expert Comment

ID: 2751748
I dont know there is any secret.

I know you dont like to take other peoples reviews :-) , but try reading "Code Complete" by Steve McConnell (Microsoft Press) - if you read that you wont need much else as a reference for "good programming"

Author Comment

ID: 2751761
o,sorry ,I'm posting my comment while yours comes I overlook.
Thanks AzraSound!!

Best Bless.
I will think a while and free to help me,post your comments!


Author Comment

ID: 2751778
Regarding the programming,I mean choose a good book about it.Still the way to discern a book by looking throught it .Which factor I should pay attention that will mark it as (maybe) good book:-)



Expert Comment

ID: 2751783
Visit your local college library and look at the books they have there
check some out and if you like them, go out and buy them.
Basically, it all depends on the person reading the book.
Some authors are so smart they lose just about everyone in their explanations, and some try to simplify things so much that the concepts they are virtually useless for someone with a little more than a basic understanding already.
So you really have to just find one that works for you, and to hell with what anyone else thinks of the book  
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 2751796
if you want to base it on skimming, i'd have to say examples, examples, examples.  what better way to learn than to see the code actually in action.  if you see lots of examples, then thats step 1.  a good sign.  next thing to check is that the documentation and explanations of the examples is well written.  if you open a book and see lots of code followed by lots of well described comments regarding the code, chances are you will benefit from the book.

Accepted Solution

Wyn earned 50 total points
ID: 2751898
soju, your this problem is really a kind of Knowledge/art.
I still want to learn some here:-)

One thing for you:

Above all  , you should realize yourself,your level,your need, first take the right direction.i.e:the book level you need.Then follow skills mentioned above and following to choose a book by browsing it...



Author Comment

ID: 2785836
Thanks all!

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