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Head First PMP: A Brain-Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam Second Edition Edition

125 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596801915
ISBN-10: 0596801912
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer Greene, has spent the past 15 years or so building software for many different kinds of companies. She's worked for small start-ups and some huge companies along the way. She's built software test teams and helped lots of companies diagnose and deal with habitual process problems so that they could build better software. Since her start in software test and process definition, she's branched out into development management and project management. She's currently managing a big development team for a global media company and she's managed just about every aspect of software development through her career.

Jennifer founded Stellman & Greene Consulting with Andrew Stellman in 2003, initially to serve the scientific and academic community. They have worked in a wide range of industries including finance, telecommunications, media, non-profit, entertainment, natural language processing, science and academia. They do speaking engagements, provide training on development practices, manage teams, and build software. Together, they've written two highly acclaimed books on project management (Head First PMP and Applied Software Project Management), Head First C#, and most recently just finished up Beautiful Teams.

For more information about Jennifer, Andrew Stellman, and their books, visit

Andrew Stellman, despite being raised a New Yorker, has lived in Pittsburgh twice. The first time was when he graduated from Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, and then again when he and Jenny were starting their consulting business and writing their first project management book for O'Reilly. When he moved back to his hometown, his first job after college was as a programmer at EMI-Capitol Records--which actually made sense, since he went to LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts to study cello and jazz bass guitar. He and Jenny first worked together at that same financial software company, where he was managing a team of programmers. He's since managed various teams of software engineers, requirements analysts, and led process improvement efforts. Andrew keeps himself busy eating an enormous amount of string cheese and Middle Eastern desserts, playing music (but video games even more), studying taiji and aikido, having a girlfriend named Lisa, and owing a pomeranian. For more information about Andrew, Jennifer Greene, and their books, visit


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Product Details

  • Series: Head First
  • Paperback: 834 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (August 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596801912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596801915
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Wesley F. Vasey on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a baby boomer who just passed the PMP exam on the first try. I couldn't see spending $2,500 for one of those boot camp courses, so I bought three books from Amazon, printed my copy of the PMBOK, and started my self-study program.

For exam prep purposes, Head First Pmp: A Brain-Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam was by far the best. The approach is a little unusual, but the combination of pictures, humor and active exercises really works to help you learn the material. The practice exercises and the full 200 question test were challenging enough to make the real exam seem relatively easy. You can also take the practice test online if you want.

For the purpose of self-studying for the exam, I'd have to give this book top ratings. It definitely helped me.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By L. C Glover VINE VOICE on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just passed the PMP exam -- 4th edition of the PMBOK based. The test does require quite a bit of preparation. I have many years of project management experience, so I have a strong practical background. The PMBOK covers a very large body of material which is summarized at a high level in the PMBOK. You must have a combination of practical experience and extensive book knowledge of the PMBOK to pass the exam.

I would start with this book before reading the PMBOK material. The approach in the book is very effective and gives you a very solid overview of the key PMBOK items. After studying this book and doing the practice test in the back, I would then suggest that you go over the PMBOK 4th edition several times followed by doing a lot of practice tests. Practice tests are critical so you can figure out how to properly interpret what the question is asking.

The book uses a series of techniques -- stories, use cases, crossword puzzles, flash card type quizzes (a range of memonic tricks). It may seem a bit odd but it does really work. The reason why I say start with this book is that you need to have solid overview of all the subject areas and processes before you try to connect lots of detailed information that makes up the PMBOK knowledge space.

There are many other books out there to study for the PMP exam. But, if the book does not take a top-down approach, you can very quickly get confused with the PMBOK terminology and processes.

There is a large amount of information available on the internet. When you are taking the practice tests, you should make a list of any terms you are not familiar with and then look them up later. This is a very helpful way to get a feel for the scope and level of detail that you need to know about items defined in the PMBOK and project management world.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alex Pronove on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
[...]. Before you look at it, I'd like to mention that this title being reviewed, Head First PMP, helped me.

I went through four books: Rita Mulcahy's, Kim Heldman's, Andy Crowe's, and Head First PMP.

Mulchay's book just turned me off. I did not appreciate being talked down to by the self-proclaimed *itch goddess. Sure it contains some good content but: (1) her book is cluttered, (2) her tone is dismissive, and (3) the title was not edited professionally. You can pass the PMP without having to put up with her *rap.

Heldman's isn't bad. Both authors are women but while Mulcahy is the kind you'll wish you never met, Heldman is sweet and kindly in her tone. Both women know their stuff but Kim knows how to present it in an inoffensive manner.

Crowe was highly recommended and as I discovered, rightfully so. It has a companion website that was useful.

And then there's Head First PMP! It employs an unorthodox style but it works. It is an effective learning book. The magnet exercises are useful. The "there are no dumb questions" columns contain insightful questions. And so forth. To be sure, I found that some parts of it were "corny." In my opinion, those parts did not contribute enough to justify their presence. Generally speaking however, the title was well-written and well-edited.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Diwan on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been PMP certified recently. PMP certification really needs a lot of work. I first took my official training hours. However i felt as if "lost in space" after that training. It included lots of definitions and processes but no real business matter know how. Studying for PMP seemed to me like a lot of work to do. Then i got "Head First PMP" book. This was really a turning point for me. Reading this book was a real joy. It taught me the underlying concepts in such an interesting way and helped me gain a lot of knowledge. It has a special way of getting information to stick in your mind "just as promised by the authors". I got several books later just to make sure i got everything right. I got the Andy Crew book which was a good one too. I got the PMBOK guide and Rita's book. However though they were good none of them was as good and as interesting to read as the Head First PMP.
I really recommend this should be the first book to read. It's just WONDERFUL.
I want to thank the Head First team for there wonderful effort. I fell in love with this series of books that i bought 4 other Head First books.
Thank you
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brian on July 3, 2010
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This is the only PMP-related book that you need to pass the certification exam. It taught me EVERYTHING that I needed to pass. I got my official training hours via [...] and did NOT take one of those 4-5 day training classes.

After reading Head First PMP, I was a little scared, so I bought Andy Crowe's "The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try". That book was a good review, and it boosted my confidence, but I didn't need it. Andy Crowe's book was well-written and easy-to-read, but it didn't "teach" me the subject matter. Head First PMP "taught" me the subject matter. I was an experience PM at the time, but knew NOTHING (literally) about the PMBOK before reading the book.

I didn't buy "Rita's Book", perhaps because of the hype. I can't say if her book is good.

I've since bought 3 Head First books and my co-workers have bought dozens of them. I'm currently studying Head First Design Patterns with 5 colleagues. I'm using Head First SQL to teach a class to 2 colleagues. I am reviewing Head First PMP with a Project Manager at work to help her pursue the PMP certification. I'm periodically reading Head First Excel, because I was tired of being embarrased that I'm a software developer / PM and didn't know how to use Excel. They are GREAT books. I recommend them all.
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