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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2010
I wrote some programs for my boss over 25 years ago in Basic for a hand held Radio Shack Device. The program produced a Productivity Number that was completely proprietary to the company. The formula was so complex and esothat my boss had to compute half of it and then refer to a table of 1000 items to find a approximation of the result to compute the second half of the formula. Later I did some simple programs in Visual Basic for DOS that my office used. I consider myself a novice, but the little programming I did left me with a desire to learn more. My job was as an Operations Manager and had nothing todo with IT except as a user. I have read several books on programming and found them hard going because of my lack a formal educational background in computer science. I am retired now and still interested. I found this book in a Internet search. I have never read a book that explained programming as well (to me). This book is ideal for a novice like myself. The author does an amazing job of explaining complex terms and procedures that I find so accessible and easy to understand. I won't get into the debate about the inaccuracies that the gentleman in one review discusses. I do not have the expertise to discuss them. That said I want to thank the author. I plan on exploring any other book he writes. He has the traits of a great teacher, someone that can make the complex easy to understand and keep you interested.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
I've been programming in a high level language for years without having a CS background and have been looking for a "principle of programming & languages" type of book to round up the self-education. There are expensive textbooks around but this inexpensive and gentle alternative fills the bill nicely!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
It's a good introduction to introductions of a bunch of different things.

But I didn't feel like a lot of what the author said was exactly right and it was misleading plenty of times.
Explanations weren't clear or simple.. which says to me that the author didn't really understand the topics discussed.
Maybe spent a few hours Wikipedia-ing/Googling and then jammed it into a book.

Superficial introductions.. pointless language syntax coverage... went on too long on those. You wouldn't be able to do anything with how much it covers in each language anyways, so why cover it like that... shouldn't have been more than a few pages on each language showing a general overview instead of acting like you're going to be able to make something.
In the languages section, he basically covers the first 15 pages of the first chapter of an outdated 600+ page language book. I think introducing programming by mixing together BASIC, Pascal, and whatever else he does, while not actually having a format where the user actually does anything is ridiculous. Syntax/code in this book is often not correct and is not intended to actually run/work. You can't learn a skill without practice. This book is written to tell the reader about programming, but not to teach programming. The reader's functional understanding of things does not improve that much after reading this book.

You will learn about a few things about data structures. That's right, you'll learn a little about them, but you won't learn them. And I think he took too many pages to tell the reader about them. He acts like he's going to show you how to implement a data structure. But does it 1/30th of the way. Why get started at all if you're going to do that?

I'd recommend it to someone who's completely new, to see a lot of things... to get a rough picture of the programming field.
But to also to take what the author says with a grain of salt. This isn't authoritative and is not worth a careful read.
Explanations were unsatisfactory... but they do get you to ask questions and to do more research on all the topics in this book that were haphazardly and insufficiently introduced..

The author should explicitly tell the reader how much they really don't know in the conclusion of each section.
...Before they prance around acting like they understand assembly after seeing 10 lines of it and reading the author's comments stating that it's totally impossible to understand unless you're a Martian...

I did like the section on encryption.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2012
I read this cover to cover (all 7 books) in just under two weeks. That being said, it is pretty readable compared to most of its kind. I was on the fence between computer science and chemistry for my major, and after reading this i feel like i am a lot closer to computer science, and I also feel more prepared to take a Java Programming course this summer.

I would say that the only thing that kind of bugs me about the book is the constant "humorous" interjections.
While they are funny at the beginning, they get really old because a lot of the book (especially Book 1) is written in that way. After a while the interjections feel more like interruptions and I sigh as I just want to get on to what he is actually saying without having to bear the corny jokes during or after every informative statement. I also don't like the occasional little quips that say something to the effect of 'All computer programmers are lazy so the goal is to make a program with as little work required as possible'. I know that these jokes aren't supposed to be taken seriously but after reading multiple times the thought of computer programming as a possible future felt less exhilarating and more blah.

Now that I am done with that negative paragraph, I can say that the book is overall amazing. Despite my annoyance at some of the writing styles that the author utilizes, the book has everything I could ask for. It is clear, repetitive (in a good way),and exciting enough to increase my interest in computer science. It may seem contradictory for me to give 5 stars despite my last paragraph, but the ultimate purpose of the book is carried out so well that it would not feel right to tack off a star, (especially on something that others may actually find enhances the book).

Main Points: It absolutely worth buying; it will let you know if computer science/ programming is your thing, and it is an easy read.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2009
This book explains simple programming very clearly for someone who last worked with BASIC in the 1980's. After borrowing a library copy, we wanted a copy to keep.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2014
There are a tone of beginner programming books out there, most of them are focusing on one specific programming language and written by programming veterans. But most of them aren't really for true beginners who have absolute no idea how computer programming works. Since those books were written by veteran programmers who tend to forget to explain certain terms in plain English.

Wallace Wang solves that problem by explaining the principles of computer programming language (which apples to all modern programming language) and how programming works in plain English. He also explain and explore the differences between different programming languages, so one can make a informed decision on which programming language to learn first.

Beyond the explanations of programming principles, the references sections are less cleared. There are a few typos in a few programming examples and diagrams, which makes it really confusing for the beginners. Kindle version makes it impossible to read the example codes and table chart because the way Kindle handles text in ebook. So avoid Kindle ebook.

Overall, this is an excellent book for get to know the fundamentals of computer programming. Even though the other sections are bit confusing, they are still good as a references .
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
I have no programming background and picked up this book to see if I could learn a few things. In my opinion, the author does a good job of explaining concepts and is easy to follow. If you're looking for a high level overview of programming, this is a good read. Just don't buy this book with the expectation that you will be writing any programs by the time you're done reading it. It's an introductory book to programming, not a 300 level college course in any particular language.

My only beef is that this book was terribly proof read.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2009
I am not a big fan of the Dummies Books or any "how to " book in which the author injects so called "humor" This book-however-written by a part time comedian no less- is outstanding! Why??? Because he can tell you in a few short sentences of plain concise English just what object oriented programming is.

This is no small easy feat! And I am dead serious. 99% of programming books are total incomprehensible gibberish for the non-programmer, for they are never written through the eyes of the reader for whom they are intended. One so called reviewer gave this fine volume two stars! He would rather have you read a book on the "Psychology of Programming"!!! The Silver Edition I should mention.

Beginning Programming is a very fine book for anyone wanting an overview of programming written in a clear concise style. This one previous sentence is high praise indeed for it is a rare occurrence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
After reading this book, I knew that I had learned a lot, but I didn't realize how much I learned until I was ready to start learning a specific computer language. When I was done, I understood the basics of lists, sorting, and data structures. I understood what computer languages are out there, what development tools are, what factors to consider as I'm designing a computer program idea, and how encryption works. I could go on and on, but I will end this section by saying that I felt like I had completed a college level course in "Introductory to Programming."

This book gave me a solid foundation of all things computer related. There were several chapters that seemed to be redundant, but it may be because I was learning the information so well that I could easily recognize it again when I saw it. Because this is a reference book and not necessarily meant to be read cover-to-cover, I guess it had to have the repetitive information for those who pick it up and start reading in the middle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
This book is very informative and very well written. It's a great tool for anyone just starting out in programming who needs help understanding the basic concepts. It's easy to read and very thorough. The book ends with a crash course on quite a handful of today's relevant languages, so you can even use it to decide which language you want to learn first.
My only complaint is that the editing was pretty sloppy, but it wasn't enough to detract from the book as a whole.
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