Back Head First!

Quite a while back now, I mentioned O'Reilly's Head First Java book. Well, I still haven't finished it. I like to take my time with geek books, playing with all the code, and generally letting stuff sink in. As I'm sure other dads can appreciate, I also find my spare time taken up with myriad other activities, so Java books often have to wait! But this book really merits a review of sorts, even if I haven't finished it.

Loads of people have reviewed this book in detail. So I will simply give a summary for other busy dads out there: if you're interested in moving out of the Domino world, and learning something else, this is for you. If you're the kind of person who needs some kind of direction when teaching yourself stuff, this is for you. Dabbled in Java but want to go further? Oh yes, this book is for you. It's a thoroughly entertaining read, and it's that rarest of rare things: a geek book you can just sit down and read. Yes, it's right up there with The Pragmatic Programmer!

I love the chatty style of this book — it really gets stuff across without being condescending or too "basic". Everything you need to know gets covered, and I'd even venture to say that using this book would help significantly if you're going for the Sun Java Programmer certification: I'm pretty certain everything in the syllabus is covered. If you're still a little shaky about that, then the Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide should alleviate any lasting issues you might have (also written by the authors of Head First Java). The style of learning promulgated by the Head First series is well worth investigating, and makes a lot of sense: I only wish I'd heard of this stuff when I was at school! It would appear that the first instalment of the Head First series has been successful, because O'Reilly have just released a new book, Head First EJB Certification.

Further reading

Word for the day after all this: "metacognition": thinking about the way you learn.


  1. Glad you're liking the book, and I thought it was cool that Marsee is hooking you up with the new HF book coming out!Thomas Duff#
  2. Certainly is! And who do I have to thank for that eh…? ;-) Ben Poole#
  3. You can thank me for the first book, but the second one was all Marsee. I was as surprised (and pleased) as you were to see that she sent the new book to the original five bloggers on the list.Thomas Duff#

Comments on this post are now closed.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.