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Mark Myers has a way of writing that holds your attention in a way that you would never expect from a textbook. Somehow he manages to minimize the amount of reading and maximize the amount of learning. It really is incredible, and you may not understand what I mean until you read it for yourself.
A Smarter Way uses a technique called "Programmed Learning". Do an internet search for it. You'll see that it is a way of learning that originated with the behaviorist B. F. Skinner. It IS effective. It is VERY effective.
A Smarter Way also uses the color cycle technique that is part of Test-Driven Development. The Exercises turn red when you get the answer wrong. They turn green when you get them right. You keep cycling through the ones you've missed until they are all green. It simply feels great when they all turn green.