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What books are you reading?

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Just started "Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality":

"Kumar describes the clash of titans that took place in the world of physics in the early 20th century, between physicists who did and those who did not believe in the quantum—the strange concept that we now know to be the underpinning of reality. The titans in Kumar's account of the conflict are Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr."


Powershell 2.0 for the absolute beginner

After putting it off for as long as possible, I've finally started to get more formally acquainted with C++.

I'll usually opt for an O'Reilly :-* "animal cover" title when I'm looking to learn a new language. But a friend suggested I take a look at C++ Without Fear by Brian Overland. (ISBN: 978-0-321-24695-0)

Excellent excellent book. Very readable style. The material is presented in an orderly and logical fashion such that just about anybody should be able to follow along. Three days into it and I'm already writing small but useful C++ console apps - and wondering why I put it off for so long.

The book comes comes with the obligatory CD of examples and includes a C++ compiler. I can't comment on how good the compiler is since I'm using MinGW in conjunction with the Code::Blocks IDE instead.

It lists for $29.99 USD. Amazon sells it for $23 and throws in free shipping if your order totals $25 or more. Get yourself an inexpensive scfi paperback to go with it (breaktime!) and you're set to roll.

40hz -- thank you for posting about that book!
i'm often asked to recommend a first c++ book to someone and this may be the new book i will start suggesting.  :up:

40hz -- thank you for posting about that book!
i'm often asked to recommend a first c++ book to someone and this may be the new book i will start suggesting.  :up:
-mouser (May 29, 2010, 07:23 AM)
--- End quote ---

Glad it looks good to somebody who actually knows something about coding.  ;D

IMHO, the best feature of the book is what it leaves out. Overland doesn't get into GUI programming, templates, or the STL. His feeling is those topics add a layer of complexity that goes beyond the scope of a basic introduction to C++ and deserve their own separate books and treatments.

I'd have  to say I'd agree, because the thing that turned me off to most C++ books I looked at were all the side trips into templates and frameworks. It was almost like somebody trying to explain the basic rules of tennis while at the same time giving expert pointers on finessing your backhand. To me, it just felt too haphazard.

I like logical, incremental presentations where each topic directly builds on and extends what went before it. Either give me the big picture and then start focusing in - or give me a set of building blocks and show me how to stack them into bigger and bigger castles. I can live and learn something with either approach. It's when you shotgun a presentation (like most Wrox titles do) that I start to get frustrated.

Pacing is also important. Most C++ books either start off uber-slow, but then take off like a bat out of hell after the second chapter - or hit you right between the eyes in the first five pages and leave you struggling to keep up for the rest of the book.

Overand hits a happy balance on both pace and topic complexity.

What can I say? It's a fine book.  :)


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