- Series: Head First
- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 10, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781449340131
- ISBN-13: 978-1449340131
- ASIN: 144934013X
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From the Publisher
About 'Head First' Books
We think of a Head First Reader as a Learner
Learning isn't something that just happens to you. It's something you do. You can't learn without pumping some neurons. Learning means building more mental pathways, bridging connections between new and pre-existing knowledge, recognizing patterns, and turning facts and information into knowledge (and ultimately, wisdom). Based on the latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology, Head First books get your brain into learning mode.
Here's how we help you do that:
We tell stories using casual language, instead of lecturing. We don't take ourselves too seriously. Which would you pay more attention to: a stimulating dinner party companion, or a lecture?
We make it visual. Images are far more memorable than words alone, and make learning much more effective. They also make things more fun.
We use attention-grabbing tactics. Learning a new, tough, technical topic doesn't have to be boring. The graphics are often surprising, oversized, humorous, sarcastic, or edgy. The page layout is dynamic: no two pages are the same, and each one has a mix of text and images.
Metacognition: thinking about thinking
If you really want to learn, and you want to learn more quickly and more deeply, pay attention to how you pay attention. Think about how you think. The trick is to get your brain to see the new material you're learning as Really Important. Crucial to your well-being. Otherwise, you're in for a constant battle, with your brain doing its best to keep the new content from sticking.
Here's what we do:
We use pictures, because your brain is tuned for visuals, not text. As far as your brain's concerned, a picture really is worth a thousand words. And when text and pictures work together, we embedded the text in the pictures because your brain works more effectively when the text is within the thing the text refers to, as opposed to in a caption or buried in the text somewhere.
We use redundancy, saying the same thing in different ways and with different media types, and multiple senses, to increase the chance that the content gets coded into more than one area of your brain.
We use concepts and pictures in unexpected ways because your brain is tuned for novelty, and we use pictures and ideas with at least some emotional content, because your brain is more likely to remember when you feel something.
We use a personalized, conversational style, because your brain is tuned to pay more attention when it believes you're in a conversation than if it thinks you're passively listening to a presentation.
We include many activities, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember more when you do things than when you read about things. And we make the exercises challenging-yet-do-able, because that's what most people prefer.
We use multiple learning styles, because you might prefer step-by-step procedures, while someone else wants to understand the big picture first, and someone else just wants to see an example. But regardless of your own learning preference, everyone benefits from seeing the same content represented in multiple ways.
We include content for both sides of your brain, because the more of your brain you engage, the more likely you are to learn and remember, and the longer you can stay focused. Since working one side of the brain often means giving the other side a chance to rest, you can be more productive at learning for a longer period of time.
We include challenges by asking questions that don't always have a straight answer, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember when it has to work at something.
Finally, we use people in our stories, examples, and pictures, because, well, you're a person. Your brain pays more attention to people than to things.
From the Author
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My skill level:
About the Book:
The book itself is steady and clear with a variety of projects and written in a friendly tone. It starts from zero, so if you know nothing, you're in the right place. If, like me, you've been working in it and have wondered what some of the parts do at a fundamental level but haven't had a chance to get to the bottom of it, this book will probably cover it. Even though it covers the basic stuff, it also gets into advanced topics. In fact, the last three chapters are worth the cost of the book alone. The chapter on prototypal inheritance upped my game in one evening. No kidding.
My Experience with the Book:
My Full Assessment:
I had ignored this book for a while now despite seeing it recommended now and again. It seemed juvenile in its approach. Instead I attempted to jump straight into more advanced books, always having to stop reading them after a few chapters because concepts weren't sinking in. Finally, after putting down code for half a year and realizing I'd forgotten nearly everything, I decided to pick up this book.
I honestly wish I had purchased this two years ago. This book does a wonderful job at explaining concepts as simple as how to assign a variable and as advanced as closures and object prototypes. The conversational approach to this book means that when you're first starting out, you don't have to waste time attempting to interpret an extremely technical explanation of concepts, as I found with this book I understood almost straight away in most cases.
The book's difficulty level does ramp up around the time the Battleship game is built in chapter 8. (By the way, this chapter does a great job of introducing MVCs without actually having you use one that's pre-built.) Therefore I would even recommend this book to intermediate learners if they have had trouble truly understanding advanced object construction, closures, how to use prototypes - essentially everything chapter 8 onward.
The exercises in this book also give good practice to solidify what you're learning.
What this book doesn't cover, or only lightly touches upon:
(1) Writing complex algorithms. The book's focus is on getting a good understanding of concepts, not on working through challenges that require much algorithmic thinking. (Unless you want to build Battleship on your own in chapter 8.) A supplemental resource would be necessary for this.
(3) Making API calls.
(5) Anything else that is seen in chapter 14 ("Top 10 Topics We Didn't Cover").
Overall I strongly recommend this book. Like any resource, it should not be the only thing you use to teach yourself to code. However, it is a great starting resource for beginners as well as a supplemental resource for anyone who has the basics down but needs to clarify some of the more complex concepts later in the book.
Not ready for the professional bone yard, I went about retraining myself and took a class at a local community college where this was the required text. My first response to the book wasn't positive -- in fact it was resentful. I hated the way it seemed to pander to millennials -- this idea that the reader needs to be continuously entertained if you are to EARN and keep his/her attention. It seemed like a For-Dummies joke-tech-lit book turned up to 11. Truth is though, I was bitter, resentful, and perhaps even a bit curmudgeonly. As I worked through the book though, I became a convert. Technically the book is very sound, taking the reader a long way in a little time. The examples and exercises are quite good, and, once I relaxed a bit, I found that I enjoyed the playful tone of the book as well. In does make retaining the information easier. The comparison to a Dummies book was unfair.