Last week I picked up a copy of Head First Java. This is quite possibly the BEST technical book ever written. I’m trying to learn Java as an extra language to play with on the side. I probably won’t use it at work (I use VB, VB.Net and C# at work), but I want to know it for some projects I’m working on at home. I’m about half way through the book, and I’m amazed at how easy and (dare I say it?) fun this book has made the process of learning a new programming language. There are humorous picture, drawings, puzzles, mock interviews and a host of other items throughout the book that really reinforce the learning and help you commit the material to memory.
I’ve been so impressed with this book that I’ve begun reading some other materials from Kathy Sierra. Along with Bert Bates and the other authors of the Head First series, Kathy writes the impressive Creating Passionate Users blog. This blog has been added to my daily reading list, and I really recommend it for the variety of detailed entries on how the mind works and how we learn. Kathy also founded the JavaRanch, which is a good forum website for Java learners (and experts, I suppose).
On a different but somewhat related note, I’ve stopped reading Dianetics. I read close to half of the book, but I stopped in the section on Dianetic therapy. Hubbard has some interesting theories, but I really had a lot of trouble getting past his penchant for calling them “scientific facts” without a shred of evidence to back his claims. I learned some things from this book and I’m sure that a lot of Hubbard’s insights are correct, but I’m finished with this book for now.
How is Dianetics related to the topic of this post? Glad you asked. It so happens that Kathy Sierra recommends a number of books on how the mind works and how to think and learn better. Since that was the original reason that I started reading Dianetics, I think I’ll pick up one or two of the books that she recommends and try them out. I’ll let you know how it goes.