Saturday, June 09, 2007

Head First Books: Hitting and Missing the Mark

Several months ago I bought the best book I've come across to do with Software Design Patterns: Head First Design Patterns. It's a great book for software developers who want to understand what design patterns are and how to use them effectively. The reason it is so good is that purely by accident it utilizes some of the basics of L. Ron Hubbard's Study Technology.

  • The first basic is study gradients. The book takes a "start simple and gradually get more complex" approach when introducing the different patterns, and the book itself starts with the simpler patterns and gradually gets into the more complex.
  • Next is supplying the mass or objects of the subject. Not an easy thing to do when talking about software, but the book gives tons of real-world examples. It demonstrates why a pattern would be better to use than another method by showing you realistic examples.
  • It's not bad on defining words, but could do a better job. For example it doesn't really get into a clear definition of "Design Pattern" until page 579.
  • Another basic of Study Technology is emphasis on underlying basics and fundamentals. The book does a good job of that.

Compared to other Design Pattern books I've had to painfully slog through, because they violated just about every principle of Study Technology, this one was not only easy to read but I got a much better understanding of the subject and found I could apply it much better, which is after all the end product of study.

So, when I was looking for a good book on project management I decided to check out the book Head First PMP (PMP means Project Management Professional). I browsed through it in the store and was majorly disappointed. Unfortunately, because the designers of the 'Head First" methodology think that they are basically stuffing a brain rather than communicating ideas to a living being, the book completely misses the mark. It just isn't useful. It has too many of the "Head First" gimmicks in it and the actual principles which made Head First Design Patterns work were (as far as I could see) missing.

For those of you interested in learning more about L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology here are some links:

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