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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 44 reviews
on May 30, 2014
As a keen programmer, I've read more than hundred books about all aspects of software development. This one is in my Top-10, together with Llama Book, Design and Evolution of C++, The Deadline and few others.

It is a kind of book that you simply can't stop reading. For anyone familiar with Java it will be full of amazing discoveries, regardless of how well you know the language. The book is only about 250 pages, and it is full of intelligent humor, which is ironic and friendly at the same time, making it very easy to read. I appreciate the way it is spiced with some optical illusions (you'll find a reference in the end). There's a complete summary of all "lessons learned", which fits in about 10 pages of very condensed programming wisdom -- I would've bought this book for this chapter alone.

All in all -- amazing book, one of the true gems. Don't think twice -- buy it now :)
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on November 22, 2005
My wife popped this book open after dinner. Big mistake -- we had planned to spend the night watching Firefly on DVD. She read the first puzzle. We went to the blackboard (yes, we're so geeky and our NY apartment's so small that there's a blackboard in the dining nook). Between us, we had half a dozen possible answers about what a three-line program was going to do. We found at least four boundary conditions and were pretty sure about two of them. For the record, the first puzzle she opened to involved the compound XOR assignment statement x^=y^=x^=y. They're not all that bit-fiddly; some of the other puzzles include class and method mazes, integer or double arithmetic oddities, unexpected exception/initialization interactions, string/charset twistiness, etc.

I thought I'd be good at this kind of puzzle. As an academic, I wrote about programming languages. I read Bloch's "Effective Java" book. Twice. I follow its advice religously and make my coworkers read it. I've read most of the source code for String, StringBuffer and the collections framework and I/O streams. I just came off a week-long coding project where I did exclusively bit-level I/O with all the shifts and masks you could ask for. I was wrong. I got about 1/5 of the puzzles right if I give myself partial credit for diagnosing the boundary condition in the question and having the right answer be in my top two or three guesses.

Unless you've written the bit fiddling parts of a JVM implementation, or are the kind of person who can remember minute details of the specification, you'll most likely suffer. And love it. Then you can relate the puzzles at gatherings of geeks and look on with a smug grin as they twist in the wind. These would be perfect interview questions for a sadistic HR person.

Overall, this book's a jaw-dropping, eye-opening, brain-melting overview of the kind of boundary conditions you can run into with very simple constructions. Most of the puzzles seem to involve implicit conversions done by the JVM, some involve 1.5 features, some involve class inheritance, others exceptions. Almost all of the puzzles contain links to the boundary-condition definition in the Java language spec.

I'll do better next time. Really.
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on October 22, 2014
If you want to be a Java guru, you need this. Goes well with "Effective Java" by same author.
The segments are short enough for reading in odd moments.
I don't always retain what I learn from this, so I go back to it frequently when I get over-confident of my geek cred.
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on June 12, 2010
As the title suggests it is a puzzlers book. Reading this book opens your perspective wrt the language and its implementation. All in all a good (recreational) book.
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on March 22, 2015
Most problems won't appear in practice if you are following best practices and keep code clean and concise. Book is fun but will be mostly useless for experienced Java programmer.
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on August 14, 2014
Great book for checking your Java skills for certification, good way to make sure you really understand the concepts as well as the minutae of Java.
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on March 10, 2015
Amazing book for anyone interested in the Java programming language, it might blow your mind.
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on December 21, 2014
Great collection of tricks, most of which are valid for the languages other than Java too.
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on June 6, 2006
This is really another excellent book I've seen on Java. Authors try to model/abstract real-world senarios into some "silly trivia" puzzles. You may say they are "Not puzzles, just silly trivia", but if you are experienced Java developer, you will figure out what they really mean and then smile on them. I have to say I was lost in some of those puzzles before in my real-world programming history...

It's not easy to address real-world problems in such a generic way. This book really makes the complication simple. Great job!
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on June 29, 2006
Disclaimer: the fact that I have known and worked with Josh on and off for around 10 years now has little bearing on my review of this book.

Anyone who believes they are a Java master should read this book, it is well written, captivating, informative and full of useful information!

In short it's a must have (along with Effective Java) for your Java bookshelf
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