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    1. Cooking for Geeks: Real Science,
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    1. Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
    by Jeff Potter
    Paperback
    list price: $34.99 -- our price: $20.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0596805888
    Publisher: O'Reilly Media
    Sales Rank: 118
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer -- used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it's cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?

    More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350 F/175 C and others at 375 F/190 C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000 F/540 C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes -- from the sweet (a "mean" chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

    This book is an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don't consider yourself a geek.

    • Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
    • Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
    • Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
    • Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Hervé This, and xkcd


    From Cooking for Geeks: Butternut Squash Soup

    Purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender:
    2 cups (660g) butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and roasted (about 1 mediumsquash)
    2 cups (470g) chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
    1 small (130g) yellow onion, diced and sautéed
    1/2 teaspoon (1g) salt (adjust to taste)

    Notes

    • The weights are for the prepared ingredients and only rough suggestions. So, prepare each item individually. For example, for the squash, peel it, then coat it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt, and roast it in the oven at a temperature around 400–425 F / 200–220 C until it begins to brown. When you go to purée the ingredients, hold back some of the squash and some of the stock, taste the purée, and see which you think it needs. Want it thicker? Add more squash.Thinner? Add more stock.
    • This soup by itself is very basic. Garnish with whatever else you have on hand that you think might go well, such as garlic croutons and bacon. Or top with a small dab of cream, some toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries to give it a feeling of Thanksgiving. How about a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few thin slices of beef, and some fresh oregano? Chives, sour cream, and cheddar cheese? Why not! Instead of purchasing items to follow a recipe exactly, try using leftover ingredients from other meals to complement the squash soup.
    • If you’re in a rush, you can “jump-start” the squash by microwaving it first. Peel and quarter the squash, using a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then, cube it into 1–2” / 3–5 cm pieces, drop it into a glass baking pan that’s both oven and microwave safe, and nuke it for four to five minutes to partially heat the mass. Remove from microwave, coat the squash with olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt, and roast it in a preheated oven until done, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, you can skip the peeling step entirely: cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, add oil and salt, roast it for about an hour (until the flesh is soft), and use a spoon to scoop it out.

    Pumpkin Cake

    There are two broad types of cake batters: high- ratio cakes--those that have more sugar and water than flour (or by some definitions, just a lot of sugar)--and low-ratio cakes—which tend to have coarser crumbs. For high-ratio cakes, there should be more sugar than flour (by weight) and more eggs than fats (again, by weight), and the liquid mass (eggs, milk, water) should be heavier than the sugar.

    Consider this pumpkin cake, which is a high-ratio cake (245g of pumpkin contains 220g of water--you can look these sorts of things up in the USDA National Nutrient Database, available online at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/).

    In a mixing bowl, measure out and then mix with an electric mixer to thoroughly combine:
    1 cup (245g) pumpkin (canned, or roast and puree your own)
    1 cup (200g) sugar
    3/4 cup (160g) canola oil
    2 large (120g) eggs
    1 1/2 cups (180g) flour
    1/4 cup (40g) raisins
    2 teaspoons (5g) cinnamon
    1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
    1/2 teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract

    Transfer to a greased cake pan or spring form and bake in an oven preheated to 350 F / 175 C until a toothpick comes out dry, about 20 minutes.

    Notes

    • Try adding dried pears soaked in brandy. You can also hold back some of the raisins and sprinkle them on top.
    • One nice thing about high-ratio cakes is that they don’t have much gluten, so they won’t turn out like bread, even with excessive beating. With a total weight of 920 grams, of which only roughly 20 grams is gluten, there just isn’t enough gluten present in this cake to give it a bread-like texture. There’s also a fair amount of both sugar and fats to interfere with gluten development.
    • ... Read more

      Reviews

      5-0 out of 5 stars Explains the scientific how and why of cooking, September 9, 2010


      You've got to have a lot of confidence and nerve to write and try to sell a nearly 400 page book on cooking to the take-out pizza and cola set. No cookbook is likely to turn many geeks into chefs or take them away from their computer screens. However, even though "Cooking for Geeks" contains a large number of recipes, it is not a conventional cookbook but a scientific explanation of the how and why of cooking which will certainly appeal to that group, as well as to cooking professionals and intellectually curious others.

      The author is a geek himself and brings "geek-like" approaches to the subject matter - deep intellectual curiosity, affinity for details, appreciation of problem solving and hacking, scientific method, and a love of technology. What is even better is his filtering of cooking concepts by a computer coder's framework, analogizing recipes to executable code, viewing of ingredients as inputs and as variables, running processes over and over in a logical manner to test and improve outcomes. This is not a mere literary shoe-horning of cooking concepts into a coder's framework but an ingenuous approach to the topics that should loudly resonate with geeks.

      The subject matter includes selecting and using kitchen and cooking hardware; prepping inventory; calibrating equipment (especially your oven, using sugar); understanding tastes and smells; the fundamental difference between cooking and baking (and the personality types which gravitate to one form or the other); the importance of gluten and the three major types of leavening (biological, chemical, and mechanical); the types of cooking; using time and temperatures; how to use air as a tool; the chemistry of food combinations; and very thorough and detailed discussions of food handling and safety. The book is organized into seven chapters and includes an appendix dealing with cooking for people with allergies. The recipes are indexed in the front of the book.

      The major conventional flavor types of salt, sugar, acids, and alcohol have been supplemented by modern industrial elements - E- Numbered (a Dewey decimal system-like index) additives, colloids, gels, foams, and other yummy things! All are itemized, charted, and explained in the chapter entitled "Playing with Chemistry." A whole chapter (and an interview with mathematician, Douglas Baldwin) is devoted to the latest and greatest food preparation technique -sous vide- cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath.

      Threaded through the sections are short sidebar interviews of mostly computer and techie types who are serious cooks or involved in the food industry. Some of these contributors are Adam Savage (of Myth Busters fame) on scientific technique, Tim O'Reilly (CEO of the book's publisher) on scones and jam, Nathan Myhrvold, on Moderist cuisine, and others. Other interviews deal with taste sensitivities, food mysteries, industrial hardware, pastry chef insights, and many more. There is an insightful section just on knives and how to use and care for them.

      Anyone who is interested in cooking will learn from this book. I now pay attention to things I've never heard of before: browning methods like caramelization and the Maillard processes, savory as a major taste, transglutaminase (a.k.a. meat glue), for example. There is stuff I didn't really want to know - "if you've eaten fish you've eaten worms."

      Although one of the strengths of the book is the systematic organization, there are useful tips spread throughout. For example, keeping a pizza stone permanently in your oven will help even out heat distribution; storing vegetables correctly requires knowing whether they admit ethylene gas or not (a chart is included); you can test your smell sensitivity profile by using a professional scratch and sniff test kit obtainable from the University of Pennsylvania. Whatever specialized information not contained in the book is referenced to external sources, especially on the Internet.

      If all of this is not stimulus enough for the geek crowd, how about learning how you can spectacularly kill yourself cooking with dry ice, liquid nitrogen, blowtorches, and especially an electrocuted hotdog. Cool! This is mad scientist stuff. Engineering-minded types can learn how to make their own ice cream machine from Legos. You'll also learn how NOT to kill your guests with bacteria and other toxins.

      The production is nicely done with easily readable text, plentiful drawings and charts, color captions, and many other quality production features. Weights are based in both grams and US volume-based measurements.

      (FTC disclosure (16 CFR Part 255): The reviewer has accepted a reviewer's copy of this book which is his to keep. He intends to provide an honest, independent, and fair evaluation of the book in all circumstances.)

      5-0 out of 5 stars Alton Brown Fans Take Note--You Need This!, August 6, 2010
      Alton Brown fans take note! You need a copy of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food. Seriously, this book takes everything I enjoy about Alton's shows and combines them into a book for the beginner, novice and pro alike.

      Sure some recipes may seem basic. Extremely basic actually. It may seem weird to some that there are people who cannot even scramble an egg, but I've learned from experience that these people do exist. When my neighbor came flying out her house with a smoking pan, it had simply contained olive oil and water for boiling pasta but she'd turned on her stove and forgotten all about it. It became apparent that people can even burn water if given the opportunity.

      Everything you need to know about cooking is in this book. From kitchen set-up and equipment to simple tips like reading a recipe completely before getting started, Cooking for Geeks has everything you need to start preparing home-cooked meals.

      The book offers more than 400 pages of tips, recipes and even interviews with geeks of today. I loved reading Mythbuster's Adam Savage share his love of science and cooking. Learn easy recipes like a 30-Second Chocolate Cake or ones that may seem a little tougher like Butterflied Chicken. By the time you're done, you'll understand that kitchen and be able to whip together nutritious meals for yourself and others.

      It's a very rare event that I come across a review book that I feel I must rush out and purchase a copy as soon as it is released. This is one of those situations. I can't imagine NOT owning this cookbook and I love to cook and know more than the basics already. With outstanding recipes, entertaining interviews and witty writing, this is definitely a book you should hand your friends, family and especially neighbors who do come running out of their home with flaming pans.

      5-0 out of 5 stars Goes Ways Beyond a Collection of Recipes, August 5, 2010
      This isn't your ordinary cookbook. Sure, there are recipes--good ones, too--but the author presents a wealth of information about the science of cooking, cooking techniques, and even the psychology of cooking. It's not so technical that you need a degree in chemistry to understand it. Instead, the author explains things like how human taste senses work in plain terms. There's also a bit on nutrition towards the beginning, and there are charts and tables now and then to illustrate the mechanics of food and cooking throughout.

      If you're an "innovative cook" (see the interview with Brian Wansink, p. 7), this is right up your alley. Potter gives lots of hacks. Usually, cookbooks are very prescriptive and give exact measurements and ways of doing things. Here, the author encourages us to improvise, and he even gives great tips how to do so. For example, did you know you can roast peppers in a toaster?

      I have dozens of cookbooks and love to cook. Cooking For Geeks has surpassed them all and is now my favorite one. Check it out yourself. Well worth the money.

      5-0 out of 5 stars Takes you beyond the "what" into the "how" and "why"... great stuff!, August 14, 2010
      The typical geek doesn't just want something to work. They want to know *why* and *how* it works. If your geekness extends to the kitchen, this book is perfect... Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter. It's a wonderful mix of science and hands-on activities, and definitely opened my eyes as to why things work as they do in the kitchen.

      Contents:
      Hello, Kitchen!: Think Like a Hacker; Cooking for One; Cooking for Others
      Initializing the Kitchen: Approaching the Kitchen; Kitchen Equipment; Kitchen Organization
      Choosing Your Inputs - Flavors and Ingredients: Smell + Taste = Flavor; Tastes - Bitter, Salty, Sweet, Umami, Others; Adapt and Experiment Method; Regional/Traditional Method; Seasonal Method; Analytical Method
      Time and Temperature - Cooking's Primary Variables: Cooked = Time * Temperature; Foodborne Illness and Staying Safe; Key Temperatures in Cooking
      Air - Baking's Key Variable: Gluten; Biological Leaveners; Chemical Leaveners; Mechanical Leaveners
      Playing with Chemicals: Traditional Cooking Chemicals; Modern Industrial Chemicals
      Fun with Hardware: Sous Vide Cooking; Commercial Hardware and Techniques
      Appendix; Afterword; Index

      There's just so fun stuff here, it's hard to know where to start. Potter does an excellent job in explaining the science behind what happens when you mix the eggs, flour, and milk together and apply heat. While most books on cooking tell you *what* to do, this one goes into the *why* and *how*. For instance, why does heat change food, and how does that happen? What is involved in protein denaturation, the maillard reaction, and caramelization? And why does knowing all this make a difference to you when it comes to knowing when a particular item is "done cooking"? It's this type of information that takes you beyond saying "but I left it in for the 10 minutes they said... why wasn't it cooked?" After reading Cooking for Geeks, you can start to understand what's going on within the food, and make educated decisions about what happened, what is happening, and what will happen next.

      Fortunately, Cooking for Geeks isn't just a chemistry manual though. It's full of actual recipes that look delicious, as well as interviews with other cooks who reveal some of their secrets and mindsets behind what they do in the kitchen. Again, it all serves to take you beyond the "follow steps 1, 2, and 3" method of cooking, into something that is creative and fun.

      This is like reading a season's worth of Alton Brown's Good Eats shows. Plenty of fun and very informational... and you can eat or toss your mistakes. :)

      Disclosure:
      Obtained From: Publisher
      Payment: Free

      4-0 out of 5 stars A new way to look at cooking and science!, September 6, 2010
      Cooking for Geeks, by Jeff Potter, published by O'Reilly Media

      Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter is the cookbook for people who pestered their parents with "why" questions and were never content with the universal answer of the exasperated, "because I said so."

      Cooking for Geeks offers an in-depth look at the science of food, and provides detailed and well researched answers to many questions: Why is it better to weigh, rather than measure, your ingredients? (Weighing is more accurate.) Why is commercial baking powder better than the common tightwad substitute of 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda? (Because the commercial kind typically uses multiple types of acid, allowing the CO 2 to release over time, rather than all at once.) How do you create a super hot pizza oven in your own home? (According to Jeff Varasano, C++ programmer turned Atlanta pizzeria owner, clip the lock and bake pizza during the oven's cleaning cycle.)

      Cooking for Geeks also include interesting interviews with well-known geeks who answer even more questions--Adam Savage, of Mythbusters, discusses how they test myths on TV, and how the same principle (change one variable at a time!) can be applied to cooking, while Adam Ried, of America's Test Kitchen and The Boston Globe, talks about developing new recipes by making charts comparing the ingredients and methods in 40 or more existing recipes for the dish he wants to cook.

      Offering 30 pages on kitchen equipment and organization, Cooking for Geeks seems to assume that geeks are novice cooks. The recipes, however, are often lacking in sufficient detail to be successfully prepared, even by an experienced cook. For example, the "Rosemary Mashed Potatoes" recipe on page 201 offers a novel method of preparing potatoes for mash: by microwaving them. Potter explains why this works, but neglects a couple of key points: what are the properties of a microwaved potato when it is ready to mash? And, is it necessary to pierce or cut the potato before cooking? (We ordinarily would poke a potato before cooking it, but since it wasn't mentioned in a book that seems geared to unexperienced cooks, we didn't want to assume. We thought perhaps piercing the potato allow too much moisture to escape, leaving the potato starch unable to expand. But also wondered if the unpierced potato would explode.) In keeping with the theme of the book, and, honestly, hoping to witness an explosion, we designed our own experiment: three batches of potatoes, one pierced; one un-pierced, and a control batch boiled the old fashioned way. We found that the un-pierced potatoes didn't explode. We hypothesized that this was because the recipe called for red potatoes with thin skins, not russets with heavier skin. Further, the unpierced potatoes didn't cook as thoroughly as the pierced potatoes. After 6 minutes, both were soft enough that we could poke them with a fork (the common test for doneness of a potato) but the unpierced ones had hard spots throughout. They were difficult to mash and left crunchy bits throughout. The pierced potatoes cooked through, resulting in coarse and chunky mashed potatoes. The boiled potatoes control group lost less than one-half the water of the pierced group and one-fourth the water of the non-pierced group. We should have adjusted the amount of sour cream and milk, for they had an almost oatmeal-like consistency.

      Cooking for Geeks made acids and bases far more entertaining than our Chemistry textbook ever did, helped us understand what people mean when they say they "need an E-numbers fix" and introduced us to Doug Powell's amusing food safety site: [...]. We copied the lists of flavors used in various ethnic foods and the chart of substitutions for foods that commonly cause allergies to keep in the kitchen for easy reference and inspiration. Cooking For Geeks offered us a method to explore many of the questions we've had about food and cooking. Yes, we wish the recipes were more detailed. No we don't plan to use liquid nitrogen the next time we make ice cream or to flash-pickle cucumbers with a vacuum sealer. Even so, we appreciated and enjoyed this book--it's a far more entertaining introduction to science than anything we read during our K-12 years.

      4-0 out of 5 stars The Z-axis of cooking, September 6, 2010
      This book was designed for me. I've never been comfortable in the kitchen and I haven't been a fan of cooking, as I just don't "get it" and always fear I might ruin other people's meals botching the cook job. I've tried cookbooks, or getting recipes online, but just following directions rote is tedious and boring and I still feel like I might screw it up.

      This book really goes into the how and why of Cooking. I'm learning things like how temperatures and seasons can effect the quality, consistency, and nutrition of foods. It's like learning the legos of cooking, the building blocks, and the recipes are examples of the types of things you can make. But once you understand the blocks, you start to see how you can re-assemble them in new, exciting ways, and its ok to experiment.

      There are also great inteviews with cooks and twitter/internet celebrities. The latter is kind of an interesting choice; Some of them work, others don't, but it's like the author experimented with the traditional recipe for a book, so I still dig it.

      My only real complaint is with the table of contents. I'm reading the ePub version in iBooks on an iPad. I don't know if it's the publisher, the technology, or a combination of both, but the TOC links don't line up with the correct pages. As I read, I have insights and/or get excited about a topic and want to jump to other sections of the book to see the recipes, but the links are quite a few pages off in some cases. The book also tells me there are 929 pages, which I don't think is the case, but if true, I guess that makes it the cryptonomicon of cookbooks. So there is much page flipping, but all in all, a great, useful read!

      5-0 out of 5 stars The Why of Cooking, August 15, 2010
      Cooking is chemistry. With maybe a little physics thrown in on the side. You know, temperature control, stuff like that.

      You may think you don't like to cook. Too boring, too restrictive, you have to follow the recipe - or else. If so, this book is for you. It answer questions that most cook books don't think about asking. And if you have any curiosity about why recipes turn out like they do, and are interested in experimenting, using a knowledge of chemistry and physics to improve your dishes, this is a great book. It includes interviews with fellow geeks who explain why and how they prepare favorite dishes, including one with the publisher, Tim O'Reilly. Each interview adds something to the final mix.

      Although there is some organization to the book, like most cook books, it can be opened to any page, and you'll likely find something interesting to peruse. It is not put together as a textbook on cooking, more as a smorgasbord. Some of the more basic elements of cooking are covered in the early chapters, but the science is available in side bars and short essays throughout the book.

      Other reviews have listed the books table of contents, I won't repeat them. Suffice it to say, if you enjoy experimenting, using the scientific method in your cooking, if your curiosity isn't satisfied by just following a recipe time after time, if you like to know the "why" as well as "how," you'll enjoy this book. Would also make a great gift for that nerdy son/daughter newly living on their own. Highly recommended.

      5-0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook from an unlikely source!, August 9, 2010
      To tell you the truth, I was a little hesitant about a cookbook coming from O'Reilly Media. They produce design and programming books like Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps and HTML5: Up and Running, not culinary books...or so I thought...

      While waiting for the book release, I checked out Jeff Potter's videos on Facebook and on the O'Reilly site. From there I was hooked. This book, just like the title says, is designed by a geek for geeks (and non-geeks). This book is all about getting hands on with your "software" and "hardware" in your "lab" :) Jeff Potter did a great job in making easy for cooks of all levels to get started. My girlfriend, who claims she's a novice, enjoyed reading cover to cover. Someday I'll read it cover to cover myself, but I'm having too much fun learning about the science of cooking a la carte.

      The cool recipes I keep experimenting with are the timeless "shock & awe eggs" and the 30-Second Chocolate Cake:)
      Awesome job Jeff and O'Reilly to get everyone I know reinvigorated with cooking! Highly recommended for geeks, non-geeks, foodies and novices alike!

      5-0 out of 5 stars Don't be afraid to burn your dinner!, September 7, 2010
      Reading this book is like listening to an old friend who has taken an interest in cooking and is trying to convey his knowledge to you, his good old friend, because he has learned some best practices he would like to share. It's an interesting journey about temperatures, melting points, chemical reactions and what not, it's all in there. One of the main lessons is; "Have fun! Learning is about curiosity, not work," which should not only appeal to us geeks, but to people, eager to learn, in general. Another great lesson "Don't be afraid to burn your dinner!"... In our daily routine, don't be afraid to make mistakes! That's the only way you'll learn what NOT to do. Life lessons.

      Cooking is all about time and temperature, chemistry and flavor, smelling and tasting and you can experiment right in your own kitchen. Sometimes the result of the experiment is even edible, now isn't that cool! In what other cooking book can you read sentences like this: "buttermilk has a pH of 4.4-4.8, while regular milk has a pH of ~6.7, so it follows that baking soda will buffer and neutralize the more acidic buttermilk," not in my moms!

      The book is littered with jokes and references to our geeky-jobs, like RTFR (last R being the "recipe", you know the other letters in this acronym ;-) Or making 'subclasses' of a sauce, and trying various 'instances'... You know exactly where to place these kind of sentences. Brilliant stuff! Apart from that this book is very complete. It covers setting up your kitchen and tools, talks about the various flavors and to smell and taste food, has great interviews with people with various types of relation to cooking or food and is packed with great recipes and ideas. I bet not only geeks have found its contents invaluable and a must read for everyone who regularly has to turn on the stove or oven!

      Great job to Jeff and his team! I wonder what other subjects he and the team could geekify! These could turn out to be much more interesting than the "For Dummies" books!

      P.S. One thing I haven't found yet in the book... How to best clean my burned pan!

      5-0 out of 5 stars Excercises in creativity AND molecular gastronomy!, September 6, 2010
      Sometimes I forgot I was reading a cook book. Cooking for Geeks reminds me of other books I've read and they're mostly craft books. Lots of info about the craft, short but inspirational interviews with people who have done amazing things, and projects that are as much about the process as they are the finished object. The book is already being compared to Alton Brown and it's definitely a must read for AB's fans but it's also for people who want to play with food, experiment, and learn by doing.

      I love Jeff Potter's attitude about cooking. Especially about failure. You will make things that will turn out poorly so stop worrying and start learning. I've messed up plenty of dishes but it's rare that I can't salvage it in some way and this is one of the few cook books I've seen that encourage that kind of thinking. Most will just suggest a few alternative ingredients instead of leading toward thinking up entirely new applications.

      The recipes are more examples of things explored earlier. This isn't a staple cookbook in terms of recipes but it would be very, very good for a beginning cook to have this (as well as anyone else interested in cooking). Concepts, philosophies, and, yes, science are all explored and then demonstrated with recipes. Many recipes have alternate serving suggestions as well.

      The section on molecular gastronomy is very cool. I thought I'd never get to do much of that kind of thing since the ingredients and equipment are expensive and it looks rather difficult for a regular home cook. I was wrong! There are plenty of things the home cook can do without breaking the bank. Granted, I now have more agar flakes than I really need but I can give them to friends who want to make panna cotta pie. It'll be like that Amish friend bread recipe only with strange ingredients and probably more taste. And more calories. ... Read more


    2. Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profit and Drives Tomorrow's Growth
    by Inder Sidhu
    Kindle Edition (2010-05-27)
    list price: $19.99
    Asin: B003R0KYZ6
    Publisher: FT Press
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Over the past seven years, in a highly unstable global economy, Cisco doubled revenue, tripled profits, and quadrupled earnings per share. How? By Doing Both. When companies face key strategic decisions, they often take one path and abandon the other. They focus on innovation and new business at the expense of core businesses or vice versa. They stress discipline and sacrifice flexibility. They focus on customers and ignore partners. And they struggle. Cisco believes there is a better way: Doing Both.

     

    Doing Both means approaching every decision as an opportunity to seize, not a sacrifice to endure. It means avoiding false choices, reduced expectations, and weak compromises. It means finding ways to make each option benefit and mutually reinforce the other. In this book, Cisco Senior Vice President Inder Sidhu explains why “doing both” is today’s best strategy. Then, drawing on Cisco’s hardwon insights and the experiences of companies like Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Harley-Davidson, Inder presents a complete blueprint for “doing both” in your organization, too.

     

    Win by Doing Both!

    • Sustaining and Disruptive Innovation

    • Existing and New Business Models

    • Optimization and Reinvention

    • Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners

    • Established and Emerging Countries

    • Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters

    • Superstar Performers and Winning Teams

    • Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Living Example of why "Both-And" wins over "Either-Or"
    There is evidence showing up everywhere that the "both-and" theory is not only real, but far more powerful than the limiting "either-or" postulate. "Doing Both," by Inder Sidhu is not only strong evidence that it works, but a wider, broader scope for its use.

    We've seen parts of the both-and theory at work in business through co-opetition. However, simple collaboration habits often times do not include the factors that influence business success. Some people might think that today's collaborator would more likely be a new college graduate who works for a start-up technology company who uses a BlackBerry to increase personal productivity.

    But, there is more to it than that. Both-and is allowing product innovation and the balancing of many seemingly conflicting goals to be maintained within an organization. Profitability is enabled by balancing seemingly conflicting purposes, not by choosing one or the other.

    Inder Sidhu addresses multi-evolutionary product development agendas with a very elegant way of "Doing Both" things. Cisco has become a role model of sorts, where workers are empowered with personalized services, choice, and work-life balance in a human network to get their work done and make organizations thrive. The opening analogy on doing both form and function with the Golden Gate Bridge Bridge is very powerful as it became the symbol for Cisco.

    Hopefully their example will inspire you to influence your current environment with the expectation that cultural factors influencing collaboration will include role modeling by senior leaders, a formal collaboration process, tools, training and rewards that will work for you.

    "Doing Both" provides insight that will help ease the transition from the old management style to this new more profitable one. This book earns 5 stars because it is inspiring, insightful, and most importantly, practical. It is very well written and is fluid as well as engaging. It very proactively makes the both-and theory come across as quite believable and doable.

    This book represents some fresh thinking to current business challenges. Definitely worthwhile spending some serious focus time on.

    Let me also tell you about another new business challenge that I believe would be just as important spending some good focus time on...it is proactive managing your online reputation. In addition to "Doing Both" I would highly recommend getting Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier.

    Even though Cisco is a great company, it still has customer problems ... and you will to. It is inevitable that you will get some bad product reviews, or even worse, revengeful customers who will try to ruin your company's online reputation. Wild West 2.0 tells you exactly where to look for reputation problems and then how to repair them. Internet Reputation Management should not be delegated to your webmaster. From my experience it is now a critical management and marketing issue that concerns everyone from the CEO on down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and inspiring


    Inder begins with sharing how Cisco's TelePresence video conferencing technology has enabled him to see, hear and almost feel his mother's presence who is 8,000 miles away back home in India. The intro is touching and a friendly reminder of how technology has changed our lives in many ways and most importantly how we stay in touch and always connected.

    Inder takes you through the various steps that Cisco has taken to grow to a $40 billion dollar company with over 60,000 employees. Its an interesting read as Inder walks through the history and the strategic decisions made to remain competitive through innovation and bold moves. Inspired by the stories of the background of the leaders chosen, the difficult questions and challenges faced and their paths take to success.

    Doing Both is an interesting and inspiring read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Business wisdom not to be missed
    This book hones in on the point that optimal business decisions are not necessarily trade-offs between two choices but usually involve doing both. Written in an engaging, easy-to-read, story-telling style, the book offers numerous examples of how Cisco has been "doing both" to enable its success from multiple angles: technology innovation, market segmentation, supply chain management, organizational design, and more. Inder Sidhu's examples from his personal life are moving and help to make the book quite inspirational. A joy to read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unique Insights and Lessons Not To Be Missed
    Business books are a "dime a dozen". Fortunately, this book is one that stands apart from the pack. Insightful, thoughtful, compelling and thought provoking, "Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profits and Drives Tomorrow's Growth" takes the reader on a dynamic journey into the inner workings of Cisco and it's remarkable transformation. Inder SIdhu's storytelling is highly entertaining and provides unique insights that today's business leaders must not miss. This book will be one that I highly recommend to my friends and colleagues.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Organizational transformation is not -- repeat not - a zero-sum game

    One of the most self-defeating mindsets is suggested by the admonition, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Obviously there are situations when there are two options that are mutually-exclusive. However, most of the time, when facing a choice, it is a mistake to select only one and dismiss all others. Inder Sidhu does not advocate "a balanced compromise between two objectives, but a mutually reinforcing multiplier in which each side makes the other better." He cites comments included in Built to Last (1994) co-authored by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras when discussing a highly visionary company "that doesn't want to blend yin and yang into a gray indistinguishable circle that is neither highly yin nor highly yang; it aims to be distinctly yin and distinctly yang - both at the same time, all the time. Irrational? Perhaps. Rare? Yes. Difficult? Absolutely."

    Sidhu devotes the bulk of his lively narrative to explaining how exemplar companies such as Apple, BYD, Cisco, GE, Google, IBM, and Procter & Gamble achieve these strategic objectives:

    o Improving the core business while conducting disruptive innovation
    o Strengthening current account relationships while adding new ones
    o Fine-tuning what is done well while transforming or eliminating what isn't
    o Creating customer evangelists while creating steadfast partners
    o Thriving on "Main Street" while exploring "the road less traveled"
    o Doing it right and doing what is right (i.e. what matters)

    Obviously, doing both (of whatever) is not always possible or, when possible, advisable. Also, any lessons learned from the exemplar companies such as those Sidhu examines (especially Cisco) must be modified to accommodate the specific needs and resources of much smaller organizations.

    With all due respect to the value of these lessons, I think the single greatest benefit of this book is the mindset it can help its reader to develop. Although Sidhu does not cite them and their books, he has clearly been influenced (albeit indirectly) by business thinkers such as Henry Chesbrough (Open Innovation and Open Business Models) and Roger Martin (The Opposable Mind) as well as Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouilllart (The Power of Co-Creation). Their major recommendations track almost seamlessly with Sudhu's own:

    1. Be open-minded to possibilities, whenever/wherever they occur
    2. Respect and examine those that are plausible, especially if unorthodox
    3. Seek out collaborations that are mutually-beneficial
    4. Welcome each "failure" as a precious learning opportunity
    5. Juxtapose (for rigorous scrutiny) contradictory ideas and options
    6. Embrace change as an ally, not as a threat
    7. Achieve constant improvement with a discovery-driven process
    8. Welcome and support principled dissent
    9. Cultivate and nourish an insatiable appetite for learning
    10. Challenge what James O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom"

    Congratulations to Inder Sidhu on a brilliant achievement.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Premise
    Mr. Sidhu effectively presents the issues faced by Cisco in balancing its interests in maintaining current products, services and markets, and expanding into very different ones. He outlines how Cisco has dealt with avoiding the complacency and inflexibility in maintaining current products, services and markets by expanding into new areas, but simultaneously, avoiding overextending the company.

    I thought the anecdotes from the experiences of other businesses were instructive, especially for us non IT types. The example of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge was especially helpful.

    The concepts outlined in the book would be helpful to the owner of any business, from a local sole proprietorship to a company such as Cisco.

    I higly recommend this book.

    ... Read more


    3. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
    by James Wesley Rawles
    Paperback
    list price: $17.00 -- our price: $6.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0452295831
    Publisher: Plume
    Sales Rank: 184
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The definitive guide on how to prepare for any crisis--from global financial collapse to a pandemic

    It would only take one unthinkable event to disrupt our way of life. If there is a terrorist attack, a global pandemic, or sharp currency devaluation--you may be forced to fend for yourself in ways you've never imagined. Where would you get water? How would you communicate with relatives who live in other states? What would you use for fuel?

    Survivalist expert James Wesley, Rawles, author of Patriots and editor of SurvivalBlog.com, shares the essential tools and skills you will need for you family to survive, including:

    Water:Filtration, transport, storage, and treatment options.
    Food Storage: How much to store, pack-it-yourself methods, storage space and rotation, countering vermin.
    Fuel and Home Power: Home heating fuels, fuel storage safety, backup generators.
    Garden, Orchard Trees, and Small Livestock: Gardening basics, non-hybrid seeds, greenhouses; choosing the right livestock.
    Medical Supplies and Training: Building a first aid kit, minor surgery, chronic health issues.
    Communications: Following international news, staying in touch with loved ones.
    Home Security: Your panic room, self-defense training and tools.
    When to Get Outta Dodge: Vehicle selection, kit packing lists, routes and planning.
    Investing and Barter:Tangibles investing, building your barter stockpile. And much more.

    How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It is a must-have for every well-prepared family.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but misses the boat, October 6, 2009
    Rawles is a great non-fiction writer, and this is a well written book. However, it has some major faults:

    - The book is for hard core survivalists only. It assumes complete and absolute break down of civilization. It does not deal with "simpler" short-term emergencies (tornado, fire, flood) that you can ride out living in your normal urban or suburban environment. The book is practically all about establishing a well-stocked remote rural retreat, which you defend tooth-and-nail against looters and invaders, while keeping the curtains down not to let them see your window lights.

    - Rawles preaches to the choir, not to the uninitiated. If you are not familiar with the survivalist vernacular and have not read similar books / blogs, you will find this book a little jarring and over your head. In fact, Rawles often cross-references his fiction novel Patriots as supplementary guide. Speaking of preaching to the choir: all these five stars reviews which are highly rated as helpful - feel free to ignore the ones written before October 2. Given that this book started shipping on the last day of September and is not available for Kindle, there is simply no way people could have received and read the book before Friday October 2. Rawles is known for encouraging his blog readers to all buy the book on the same day to create a "bestseller" effect on Amazon, and this carries over to the reviews. So beware.

    - Book is way too tiny and short for much useful learning. In fact, each chapter is basically a thoughtful intro followed by a list of items to get, with some quick facts (e.g. how long honey or wheat can be stored, where to buy the containers, etc). There is barely any attempt to teach survival attitude and skills - those are farmed out to other books or training courses. To the author's credit, he has plenty of great pointers to other books and courses. However, you are much better off going there in the first place.

    - Rawles has a misanthropic, dog-eat-dog sense to his writing, both in this book and in Patriots. It is too much about hunkering down in your darkened bunker, eating MREs, and using plenty of ammo to keep the less fortunate souls away. While it is possible that a major event could end civilization as we know it, I do wish Rawles had a more positive tone and attitude, at least when trying to covert newcomers to his cause :)

    There is one really big issue with hard core survivalism in general. If a truly massive global or nationwide disaster comes to pass, the likelihood of surviving it is low, no matter how well you prepare. Surviving a nuclear war or a mass epidemic is unlikely, and more about random chance than preparation. The survivors are bound to come together in sizable groups for strength and protection. If a well armed gang or ex-military unit converges on one of the Rawles-style rural retreats, game is over. So at the end of the day, at least to me, hard-core survivalism comes across as a militaristic make-believe game, mostly indulged by paranoid guys. Last but not least, unlike "soft-core" temporary disaster survival, what Rawles recommends is expensive and requires major lifestyle changes, which limits its appeal tremendously.

    So, what's good about this book? The chapters on food storage and vehicles stand out. Also, if you are looking for a primer on surviving a major end-of-civilization disaster, this is a great starting point. To the author's credit, his survival blog has more readers than most daily newspapers, so he knows his stuff, whether you agree with him or not.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall it's pretty OK, October 9, 2009
    I have followed Rawles blog and his writings. This book is pretty OK, and here is why. The book does provoke a lot of thought, but.. Here is where it misses. The situation that Rawles describes, he has not lived through. I still have a rather normal life I have to live and for most of us, ditching it all and moving to the mountains is not a feasible option. He often cites needing a years worth of anything on hand, but what happens after that year? Do you really want to live in a place of constant death and destruction. He lists a lot of doomsday scenarios by where the ones who survive will not be the lucky ones.

    I think the much more likely future is similar to what happened in Argentina or what has been slowly happening in South Africa.

    So while next spring I will be tilling up a good part of yard for a garden, harvesting rain water, and buying and stocking in bulk. I will not be buying a GOOD location or a buying an old diesel junker truck to get there.

    There is a lot you can learn from this book, but don't make it your sole reference. Where you live determines your survival strategy, there is no one size fits all approach.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Read this before you buy, July 27, 2010
    First let me start by saying that I seriously debated giving this book either 2 or 3 stars. It's somewhere in the middle in my mind.

    As part of my investigation into disaster preparedness, I read four books. I'd like to compare them here to help other customers.

    The four books can be divided into two groups: practical guides, and the world's gonna end guides.

    The first two books are related to what I'd call likely events - hurricanes, flu pandemics, earthquakes, blackouts, food shortages, water contamination, etc. The two that I read are:

    - Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur Bradley

    - Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack Spigareli

    These two books are similar in their scope. Neither preaches doomsday preparations and both have a wide range of good advice. Spigarelli's book focuses much more heavily on food storage, whereas Bradley's has a more well-rounded handling of subjects and targets family preparation (including the special needs of children, pets, the elderly, and those with handicaps). Comparing the two, I found Bradley's book to be more recent, easier to read, and more comprehensive. The quality of the publication is also better (numerous clear tables, examples, figures, conclusions, etc.). Spigarelli's book has been around for almost a decade and is highly regarded, but feels a bit dated (text looks almost like it was generated on a typewriter, figures are small, tables are not very clear). Not a bad book at all, just dated, and heavily focused on food storage (about 2/3 of the book). Just to be clear, both books are good.

    The second set of books are targeted for more drastic, world-changing events - nuclear world war, asteroid hitting the planet, collapse of all government, doomsday stuff. The two books are:

    - How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Rawles

    - When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cody Lundin

    Again, these two books are similar. Both target extreme preparation - massive food and water stockpiles, getting off the electrical grid, living in bunkers, stocking weapons and bartering supplies, etc. Of the two, I found Lundin's book to offer more. First of all it is much larger and has much more detailed content. Rawles' book is a low-quality trade publication that has zero figures or tables - think text only. The advice of Rawles book is also very general and not particularly useful.

    There is some significant overlap between the two types of books, but they are definitely different in their focus. My advice is before buying a book, first decide whether you want to prepare for likely events or doomsday events. For me personally, I found the Practical Handbook for the Family to be the most useful. If you want to prepare for both ends of the spectrum, purchase Bradley's book and Lundin's book. Can't go wrong with that.

    Hope this helps!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Covers all the bases, October 2, 2009
    As one of the original pioneers in the survival and preparedness field, I have been critical of arm-chair survivalists who lead people astray with bad advice, product recommendations that don't work, and fail to take into consideration the fact that most people just can't head for the hills without destroying their financial lifeline. Self-sufficiency is fairly expensive, takes a lot of skill, and can't be done on a whim.

    Jim Rawles' book is not in that category. He has lived everything he recommends, and thus gives the kind of savvy advice that carefully guides a person through the tough choices necessary for contingency planning. Moreover, he is very open about the pitfalls and cautions that readers must avoid in order to develop a successful retreat plan. I found myself agreeing with almost every recommendation he makes.

    Highly recommended!

    Joel Skousen, Author of The Secure Home, and Strategic Relocation--North American Guide to Safe Places

    5-0 out of 5 stars A reference for further learning., September 30, 2009
    This book doesn't cover every detail of every disaster, of course. No one book could. What it has is easily referenced, concise summaries of particular events--hurricanes, earthquakes, brush fires, economic collapses, grid failures--and summaries of preparations one can make. Then, those preparations are roughly described.

    All this gives a person or family a handy guidebook to create a disaster plan from.

    Obviously, not all disasters have equal probability, nor are relevant to all locations--brush fires and hurricanes don't affect me in the Midwest. Tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards do, as might a New Madrid earthquake. Long term societal problems aren't currently a problem in the US, but are in quite a few other western nations, such as Argentina and sometimes Chile. There's even advice on a checklist to prioritize exactly those issues.

    As usual, a lot of the negative reviews revolve around a provincial "it can't happen here" mindset. A given disaster might not be likely in your current location at your current time, but places, people and societies change. Preparing ahead costs little, and can save your life. If you never need it, think of it as insurance.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but niche appeal, October 14, 2009
    I purchased this book with an open mind. I can say that my purchase was motivated mostly out of respect to the author for his previous work and his blog. I tried to read this book with the only expectation that I would walk away from it with one or two pieces of useful knowledge more than what I started with. At the end of the day, I felt slightly cheated. Let me list some of the biggest flaws with this work so people can be aware of what they need to address if they are looking at this as a resource material.

    1. I am really not sure who is the real audience for this book. After finishing it last night, I concluded that most of the 5 star WOW feedback did NOT read the book before they posted their reviews. I guess if you live on 20 acres in the country 5 miles away from your closest neighbor then a lot of the over view sections in this book are for you.
    2. The book is written with a very pessimistic tone that leaves the reader with a sense of helplessness if he lives with in a city or greater metropolitan area. I live in a city and because of my job I am unable to leave for the country. I think this was the greatest mental hurdle when confronted with this work. If you are unable to commit to a change of location and life style, then reading this book almost feels like a waste of time. Tell me something I can use for city survival as my home, family, job and life have all taken place inside of a society.
    3. Lots of the specific reference areas into subjects that are of great interest (canning, strengthening the defenses of your home, essential home gardening on less than an acre, and the firearms questions) differ to other works by name only. I was rather upset with the feeling that I had just read a survival appendix when many of the real questions I had were just glossed over and left me confused. I know that the author has a lot of knowledge in this realm, but seems to only reference it to his consulting business or divert questions to other authors.
    4. The feeling of "missing the boat" or helplessness which the author brings into his pessimistic conclusions. If you have not already built a stronghold out in the country at the top of your mountain with an independent water supply 5 years ago, then you are probably boned. Good luck!

    These are my own thoughts and conclusions based on this work purely for its standalone value. I still have a lot of confidence and respect in and for the author based on his previous work. I just wish he would have given us more. I am still giving him a slightly positive review 

    5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, September 30, 2009
    Rawles has been providing an important service to the readers of his books and of his survivalblog for years. Disasters happen regularly all over the world, and Rawles has the best and most relevant info on how to prepare and cope with these life-threatening problems and this book shows you how to do it. I recommend everyone read his books and blog and take steps to prepare for what will inevitably come, be it storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorism, economic breakdown, or civil unrest. Do a little bit of preparing every week and you'll sleep better knowing you can keep your family fed and sheltered in case something bad happens. If it never comes, all the better! We all have home and car insurance, right? This is just another kind of insurance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prepper bible, September 30, 2009
    First, ignore that illiterate, lying fool who gave this compendium 1 star. He hasn't read the book, and is condemning Mr. Rawles for something he didn't do: Predict a collapse.

    Mr. Rawles is a fountain of knowledge regarding basic and not-so-basic prepare-to-survive techniques. Additionally, he supplies excellent Do's and Don'ts for just about every likely, and unlikely scenario you may enounter.

    This book is far more likely to save your life than whoever is on the other end of a 911 call, if anyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Agree with the Rawles Philosophy, Disagree on Many Details, and Hope We're Wrong About People, October 19, 2009
    First off, I have read most of the reviews of this book and have found some misinformation. This is not a book of extremist thinking or encouraging extremist actions. One reviewer stated the book goes into details such as "man traps," and that is simply not true, not once does the book go into such a contrivance. The reviewer probably has a "knee jerk" reaction to anything with the term "survivalist" applied to it and might have run across a discussion of the subject elsewhere, perhaps on the authors survival blog, but not necessarily written by Mr. Rawles. One thing about this author, he certainly doesn't censor other opinions of the contributors to his blog, at least in my experience. That being said, I think the potential reader "on the fence" about it give this work a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I am of the opinion that Mr. Rawles does himself a disservice and denies his work a potentially broader audience by using marketing tactics (such as the title of this work) that will win with his core audience, but scare off others that could benefit.

    A core principle that Rawles puts forth early in the book is the fragile nature of our current society. Just in time inventory practices, out of control government spending, and a fleeting work ethic in our nation are indeed a formula for disaster. Interestingly, the idea that there is a "bureaucratic branch" putting in place our downfall is put forth in Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" and echoed here. Inflation may very well be in our near future and may very well be a cause for what Rawles calls here (and in his novel Patriots) "The Big Crunch." I agree with this view wholeheartedly.

    A second core principle put forth, is that the typical citizen of this country, when denied his TV, drugs, microwave entr�e's, and other instant gratification will revert to a savage state. When confronted with deprivation and potentially starvation, he will resort to outright unbridled barbarism. I WANT to disagree on this point and believe in "the better angels of our nature." It is my hope that in a cataclysmic situation, people will respond as they did on 9/11, and "pitch in." We cannot trust this will be the case however, so we must prepare.

    The last principle that I wanted to touch on in this review is the inclusion that is part of this philosophy. Mr. Rawles wants a prepared America. He does not only want white Christians to be prepared. I sincerely believe it is his hope that there will not be a societal collapse, but that he has abandoned the hope that there will not be. I think he believes the mechanisms put in place by the "bureaucratic branch" and the "moneychangers" have reached terminal velocity. The point that should be taken from this is that this is a NEW class of "survivalist" that can (and should) include everyone, although the principles of the philosophy tend to be more embraced by white Christians. Sometimes it does have that "traditional survivalist" flavor in its delivery, but to be dismissive and brand this man as a "survivalist nut" is the hallmark of a fool.

    I disagree with some details in the book. I disagree completely on the idea that we can all somehow live at a retreat full time, requiring I adapt the information for my situation. I disagree with his advice on firearms completely. Many of the recommendations could be simplified, and one does need to consider an "oddball caliber" because of the current supply problems with ammunition. I dislike the at times "preachy tone" his Christian beliefs inject into the work, but that is his prerogative, and I like that his beliefs lead him to include charity in his philosophy. However, because I disagree with many points of this philosophy, and have some experience in Emergency Management, I develop and evangelize a philosophy called StrongPoint Preparedness and it's out on the web to those that may be interested in an alternative, and I invite all to participate.

    This book is geared towards a cataclysmic circumstance, but much of the work is useful in planning for "routine emergencies" like hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, particularly the sections on G.O.O.D. All in all, this is an excellent preparedness resource that I hope none of us will ever need, written by a sincere man who practices what he preaches. Good luck!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not great, October 22, 2009
    This book does a good job of telling you why to prepare for emergencies, big and small, in the first 10 pages. The rest contains precious little actionable information to help you prioritize and accomplish any sizable preparations. This combination sets up the reader with a (maybe healthy) sense of foreboding and then leaves them with an unhealthy level of confusion and anxiety. Definitely not what I would call an effective introduction to emergency preparation.

    In several areas where actionable information is provided, I noted flaws in the recommendations. Certainly everybody's situation is different, but packing grains for long term storage is not difficult and this book got it wrong. As an example, a metal twist tie for mylar bags is not as effective as heat sealing. This level of mistake in areas I have personally worked through leaves little confidence in the book's content on other areas of prepping I'm still learning about.

    There are better books out there; few of them are "survival" manuals per se. The reader would be better served with books on low-tech living and camping, traditional skills like canning, gardening and homesteading and Mel Tappan's Tappan on Survival as an introduction to the prepper/survival mindset. ... Read more


    4. The Digital Photography Book
    by Scott Kelby
    Paperback
    list price: $24.99 -- our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 032147404X
    Publisher: Peachpit Press
    Sales Rank: 249
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Scott Kelby, the man who changed the "digital darkroom" forever with his groundbreaking, #1 bestselling, award-winning book The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers,now tackles the most important side of digital photography--how to takepro-quality shots using the same tricks today's top digital pros use(and it's easier than you'd think).

    This entire book iswritten with a brilliant premise, and here’s how Scott describes it:"If you and I were out on a shoot, and you asked me, 'Hey, how do I getthis flower to be in focus, but I want the background out of focus?' Iwouldn't stand there and give you a lecture about aperture, exposure,and depth of field. In real life, I'd just say, 'Get out your telephotolens, set your f/stop to f/2.8, focus on the flower, and fire away.'You d say, 'OK,' and you'd get the shot. That's what this book is allabout. A book of you and I shooting, and I answer the questions, giveyou advice, and share the secrets I've learned just like I would with afriend, without all the technical explanations and without all thetechno-photo-speak."

    This isn't a book of theory—it isn't fullof confusing jargon and detailed concepts: this is a book of whichbutton to push, which setting to use, when to use them, and nearly twohundred of the most closely guarded photographic "tricks of the trade"to get you shooting dramatically better-looking, sharper, morecolorful, more professional-looking photos with your digital cameraevery time you press the shutter button.

    Here's another thingthat makes this book different: each page covers just one trick, justone single concept that makes your photography better. Every time youturn the page, you'll learn another pro setting, another pro tool,another pro trick to transform your work from snapshots into galleryprints. There's never been a book like it, and if you're tired oftaking shots that look "OK," and if you’re tired of looking inphotography magazines and thinking, "Why don't my shots look likethat?" then this is the book for you.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars How you can get professional results with your equipment., September 6, 2006
    I have enjoyed photography as a hobby for 50+years. I own a Canon 20D and am a Scott Kelby fan. He is a great photoshop expert, yet emphasizes the importance of getting the best possible shot when taking the picture, to make your time in photoshop more enjoyable. You don't have to work as hard if you make the correct exposure to begin with.
    Scott approaches each chapter with some humor, and really understands what you really need is a clear bottom line on how to approach the person or subject you want to photograph.
    I received my book Sept 4th, read it and used some of his tips shooting 500+ volleyball pictures Sept 5th. I think I can see some improvement in my pictures already.
    He has equipment recommendations and shooting tips for the person that has just bought a digital camera to the person that uses it to make a living.
    He has worked alongside of professionals learning tips on how to process the digital photographs and how to best print them. Scott believes photography can be more fun if you get results you like by using some of the basic principles used by professional photographers.
    I have unhesitatingly recommended this book to several of my friends.
    This is one of the least expensive camera related purchases that I have made to bring my excitement of photography to a new level.
    I am quite certain you won't be disappointed, especially if you own a Nikon or Canon digital SLR.
    I expect my copy to become dog eared from use.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you Own a Digital Camera You Will Benefit from This Book, September 4, 2006

    This is the most practical and useful book on digital photography that you will find on the shelves. The book is Filled with tips and tricks of the trade that the professional photographers use every day to get wonderful looking pictures using nothing but a digital camera similar to the one you have. Why their photographs look better than yours? Well is not always the camera, most of the credit is to know how to take advantage of the camera you have: selecting the right settings for different situations, choosing the right location, etc.

    Full of examples and straight to the point tips, this book will definitively improve the quality of every single shot you take. When I compare the pictures I took before I read the book with my latest pictures, it looks like I am know using a far better or more expensive digital camera, but the only difference is the know-how I gained from the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Book That Begins Beyond the Basics, October 21, 2006
    Since I'm offering an opinion (and review) on the book, The Digital Photography Book, I think a brief look at my background may give what follows a bit more veracity. I am an enthusiastic advanced amateur photographer with roughly 40 years of experience that includes a goodly number of awards and published photos. I shut down my wet darkroom a few years ago and have happily traded film and silver-based images for electrons, pixels and ink jet printing.
    Enough about me; now let's look at the latest book by Scott Kelby (of National Association of Photoshop Professionals fame): The Digital Photography Book.
    This is a different kind of animal in the world of self-help photography books. The author describes the experience of reading the book as having your good friend--who also happens to be an expert in digital photography--standing besides you while you're taking pictures.
    The book lives up to Scott's description--complete with the frequent interjection of his quirky sense of humor. (Warning, watch out for the first page of Chapter One.)
    I don't feel this is a book for complete novices--either in photography or in the use of digital equipment. Scott assumes the readers already know the basics of how their cameras work (what and where the controls are) and have used their cameras long enough to know what else they want to learn to take better photographs.
    Another reason some basic knowledge of photography is necessary to get the most from this book is that Scott doesn't shy away from including the terms in common use by digital photographers today: ISO, white balance, focal length, lens aperture, etc. He also assumes the readers have the desire to move up in the ranks from point-and-shooters to at least competent amateurs. Therefore, Scott includes numerous suggestions about photographic gear he feels can help any photographer take better pictures--and, although he breaks his suggestions down by price range, much of the gear still comes with a hefty price tag.
    A look at the chapter titles also confirms that Scott was not writing a teach-everything book for all readers. The 11 chapters include specialized topics, such as, Shooting Flowers like a Pro, Shooting Weddings Like a Pro, Shooting Sports Like a Pro and Taking Advantage of Digital Like a Pro. For me, the final chapter, Photo Recipes to Help You Get "The Shot", was the best part of the book. This is where Scott puts everything together and takes his readers into the field to practice what they've learned.
    So, do I like The Digital Photography Book? More importantly, do I recommend it? Yes, to both of these questions; but, as I mentioned above, to get the most out of the book, the reader should have at least point-and-shoot digital experience and a basic vocabulary of photographic terms.
    One final note. The book can be read front to back, or chapters can be sampled at random to learn just the techniques each reader needs. At the offered price, I think The Digital Photography Book definitely has a place in a well-rounded photographer's library.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Info, But Didn't Like Kelby's "Fooled Ya!" Sense of Humor, December 8, 2006
    I really wanted to write a glowing review for "The Digital Photography Book"... I've been looking for a good tome of insider tips for digital SLRs for a long time, so when I found Kelby's book I was ecstatic! A quick skim showed many great tips; however, after reading the first page of chapter 1 where he carried on about the phrase "TACK SHARP" I began to lose faith.

    Here is an excerpt (talking about the origins of the phrase Tack Sharp - meaning a "clear photo"):

    "TACK stands for Technically Accurate Cibachrome Kelvin (which refers to the color temperature of light in photographs), and SHARP stands for Shutter Hyperfocal At Refracted Polarization. Now, these may seem like highly technical terms at first, but once you realize that I totally made them up, it doesn't seem so complicated, does it? Now, you have to admit, it sounded pretty legitimate at first. I mean, I almost had ya, didn't I? Come on, you know I had you, and I'll bet it was that "color temperature of light" thing I put in parenthesis that helped sell the idea that it was real, right? It's okay to admit you were fooled..."

    Is this for real? Maybe his editor was asleep. He makes a lame joke out of trying to fool the reader, then carries on for half a paragraph laughing at how clever he is! I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he continued with this 'fooled ya' theme by writing fake subheadings on the next SIX sections:

    The Real Secret to Getting Sharp Photos
    "sorry about duping you with "The Real Secret to Getting Sharp Photos" headline..."

    Perhaps Even More Important Than That
    "Again, ignore that headline. It's just a cheap come-on to get you to keep reading."

    If You Skip This, Throw Away Your Camera
    "Still a fake headline. Don't let it throw you."

    If You Do This Wrong, It Will Lock Up
    "It's not as good as the last fake headline, but we're only one more page away from the real chapter content, so I'm backing it off a little."

    It's Time to Get Serious
    "I have good news: Not only are we at the end of this "fake headline" thing, you'll also be happy to know that from here on out, the rest of the book isn't laced with the wonderfully inspired (lame) humor you found on these first few pages."

    Oh... Okay - so he's dropping the annoying stuff. Good. On to learn.

    But NO! In Chapter 2, right away he's at it again! Below he describes ways to get around the problem of pollen dulling the color of flowers (???)

    "Now, there is a special photographic filter (called the Flora 61B from PhotoDynamics) that can help reduce the effects of this pollination and both bring back the sharpness and reduce the graying effect, but because of U.S. trade sanctions imposed by the Federal Trade Commission, we can no longer buy this filter direct. Especially because I totally made this whole thing up. I can't believe you fell for this two chapters in a row. Seriously, how are you going to get good flower photos if you're falling for the old Flora 61B trick? Okay, I'm just teasing you, but seriously..."

    I hate having to stay on constant patrol for full paragraphs of combed cr*p when I'm trying to learn something new! I don't care how good the "real" content is, I'm not going to sift through fertilizer to get to it!

    If you find this type of humor funny, or wonder what I'm making such a big deal about, then you'll probably find this a very fun, interesting read.

    If you don't like wondering whether or not the author is "pulling your leg this time, too", then you'll probably want to chuck this book out the window by the third chapter.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good read for intermediate DSLR user, bad jokes aside, December 25, 2006
    It's obvious Kelby's book was too short and he needed lots of fluff to get his minimum word count. The jokes are absolutely terrible. It's a classic example of someone who's not funny trying to be funny. Hey Scott, leave the jokes to Deke ok?

    This is an intermediate book. Advanced users aren't going to get much out of it, just a basic reminder of what they already know. Beginners are going to enjoy it, but they'll also need another book such as Understanding Exposure by Peterson.

    One thing I really liked is he didn't waste too much time on basics, especially aperture etc. This was a relief. The second thing I really liked is it was written as if we were out shooting together and I was asking questions. I love this casual format and the book was extremely easy to read (I read it all in one sitting). He also turned me on to some equipment I wasn't aware of (the stop down filter, which goes from 2 to 8 stops is very cool until I almost had a heart attack when I saw the $300 price). He really stresses the importance of a tripod and shooting at dawn & dusk. I've heard these before but for some reason am still disappointed with my hand-held midday photos. I think this is a big one, because most people want magazine quality photos but don't have the time for it (myself included).

    The section at the end describes why some of the photos "work". I found myself thinking I don't want to take a photo like that on several of them (he is famous for his photoshop skills, not his photography skills) but it was a good wrap-up of the basics presented throughout the book.

    Finally, there were a few bits of information that I found controversial. Such as using f11 for portraits. That usually puts the background in focus. Another, he recommends a shredder to shred your old photo CD/DVDs before throwing them away. Wouldn't a pair of scissors do just as well? But it gets more serious: He states that "you" (the reader) will never be able to get the types of shots you see in magazines. And why is that? Because even if you get up at 5:30am all the good spots will have already been taken. And I don't think this was another one of his bad jokes. I found it very negative and discouraging.

    Overall, I liked this book much better than many of the others I've seen but it did frustrate me nonetheless. I think it's helpful for beginners and intermediate users. Even if you know all of that (who doesn't know one should use a tripod?) it's a good reminder with plenty of examples. I think the book could have went a little farther and gave some really useful information instead of describing all the Epson printer models.

    It's a shame, because this book really had the potential to be a 5 star
    book, but it falls short. Kelby brags about having written 37 books. I would prefer a few outstanding ones than 37 that are just good enough to get published.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beginner to Intermediate Book for great results., October 18, 2006
    This is a wonderful book for beginning and intermediate photographers who want to know the tricks of the professional photographers out there. Although this book could be useful to those with pocket digital cameras, I believe this book is best suited to owners of DSLR Camera's.

    The chapters of the book are as follows:

    1. Pro tips for getting really sharp photos.
    2. Shooting flowers like a pro.
    3. Shooting weddings like a pro.
    4. Shooting landscapes like a pro.
    5. Shooting sports like a pro.
    6. Shooting people like a pro.
    7. Avoid problems like a pro.
    8. Taking advantage of digital like a pro.
    9. Taking travel & city life shots like a pro.
    10. How to print like a pro and other cool stuff.
    11. Photo recipes to help you get "The Shot".

    I found the chapters to be laid out in an easy to understand format and each chapter builds your knowledge for future chapters. This book is also small enough that I can shove it into my camera bag or backpack as reference material for those times when I just can't remember which aperature setting or lens I should be using to get "The Shot", as Scott calls it.

    Overall, I can't see anyone except for professional or advanced photographers being disappointed with this book. At $15-20 for the book you really can't go wrong.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, May 31, 2007
    I have been taking digital photos for a few years and recently upgraded my camera to have more control over my pictures. I also read a few books to learn specifically about the differences between digital and 35mm photography. After reading the reviews of this book I expected to be dazzled with useful information. I was not. Here are some of the reasons.
    *The author is not a very good writer. He tries to be funny and he is not (to my taste anyway). The author is very preoccupied by his own status. He is constantly talking about his famous photographer friends, blah, blah, blah. I thought this was going to be a book about hands-on technique...Show the photos and explain how they were taken.
    *The quality of the book is poor. The book is small and the paper and printing are cheap. The paper is magazine quality.
    *It seems that nearly half the photos in the book are stock photos, not taken by the author. That surprised me.

    This book might be okay if you know abolutely nothing about photography but I found it simple and uninspiring. There was no single photo in this book by Mr. Kelby that made me say "wow".

    I found The Betterphoto Guide to Digital Photography (Amphoto Guide Series) to be a far superior book; well written with great photos, all by the author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK WILL STAY IN MY CAMERA BAG!!!, September 1, 2006
    I have never written a book review before but after reading almost the whole book in one day I had no choice but to give my opinion. I just received this book today 01 Sep 2006 and I can't put it down. It covers so many aspects of shooting in various modes and makes it simple enough for me to understand. I use a Canon 5D and 20D and have been into photography for about 6 months. All I can say is that I have looked at several books and read several online forums and tutorials...etc. This book covers everything I need to know to get that WOW factor out of my shots. Scott Kelby you are the best and this book is more than GREAT. When does "BOOK 2" get released....Anyway, I hope others that get this book enjoy it as much as I do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great book for improving you Photography skills, December 11, 2006
    This is a great book for the average photo enthusiast. The goal of the book is to teach an average photographer to take great photos. Its relatively short and each point only takes a page to explain. Also the explanations are short and to the point. Kelby doesn't prattle on about optic theory or other mundane issues, instead he tells you that pros generally do this or that. As Kelby says in his intro, he giving you tips as if you were a buddy out shooting photos with him. Kinda like a photography mentor that is giving you pointers to improve you photos.

    The book is arranged by the type of photography being pursued. Flowers, Weddings, Landscapes, People, Sports, and Travel. Kelby is considered a Photoshop authority, so he covers some of that and and also what to focus on to prevent problems in photos that can't be fixed with Photoshop. He also does something that few authors are willing to do; he makes suggestions about equipment and vendors. While this type of information gets dated quickly in a book, its interesting to hear what he thinks is a good product.

    His writing style is casual and humorous, which I appreciate. The topic can be rather dry, but Kelby's style of writing and the quick pace of the book kept me awake and engaged. I have read many books on digital photography and most assume that you recently had your brain erased and therefore you know nothing about photography. Consequently, those books start at the most basic of information and don't seem to teach you how to get great shots. They also put me to sleep. This is the only book I have seen that is different.

    Is some of the advice oversimplifying it to a degree? Sure it is. Not everything can be improved using the photo recipes that Kelby gives you, but for the average photographer, the general rules will help produce better photos and thats what its all about.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Useful, but poorly written, August 5, 2007
    There's no doubt that Kelby knows Photoshop inside and out, and that he's got a lot of good general photo tips. But he spends so much time making jokes in this book that it quickly becomes annoying.

    At one point, he literally spends an entire page with a convoluted explanation, only to say afterwards, 'I was joking.' Thanks for wasting my time, Scott.

    This is not a bad book, but there are other, better ones -- and ones that are less about the writer's ego and more about taking good photos. ... Read more


    5. Disney Epic Mickey: Prima Official Game Guide
    by Mike Searle
    Paperback
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307470857
    Publisher: Prima Games
    Sales Rank: 604
    Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    • Wield Paint and Paint Thinner like a pro with our expert tips on exploring and fighting!
    • Playstyle Matters: Your actions and decisions have consequences! Our guide will help you choose the best paths for the outcomes you want as you help Mickey in his quest to save Wasteland.
    • Extensive walkthroughs reveal the secrets behind every quest, puzzle, boss battle, and hidden area!
    • Complete enemy descriptions and boss breakdowns provide tips on how to survive the harrowing encounters, and the consequences of befriending or defeating your foes!
    • Collect every Disney Epic Mickey pin and piece of concept art with our step-by-step visual guide to all the hidden unlocks!
    • More than 40 fully labeled world maps guide your exploration of Wasteland so you can get the most out of each level!
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    3-0 out of 5 stars Helps you find EVERYTHING in the game, too long, December 5, 2010
    This game has an immense amount of hidden items to find and this guide is great at getting you to them. The walkthrough is for the most part detailed and good, but it is heavily disorganized requiring a lot of page flipping. At times you'll find yourself reading whole sections before resuming play. There are entire sections which could simply be summarized by a couple of diagrams or screen shots.

    On the positives: it really gets you going on all the basics, showing you all the controls and basic structure of the game. The table of content is quite good. Screen shots and maps, when provided, are excellent; however, part of the excessive length is that the guide puts almost everything into words. When they do provide a diagram, they still persist to ramble needlessly through half a page explaining the very same situation. Each section for each portion of the walkthrough is quite long.

    It's a helpful guide, but very exhaustive and will require a lot of page flipping. It spends a lot of time explaining what the game should be showing me. If you need help with the game, however, by all means, pick up this guide.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Guide is disorganized and limited, December 26, 2010
    My wife and I bought this guide because we really wanted to get everything on our subsequent runs. Little did we expect that the game guide wouldn't have everything included. The guide starts off decently enough, but as the game progresses the guide becomes more and more sparse. There are side quests and missions that are only mentioned by title but not covered in the guide, quests not mentioned at all, hidden content with no information on obtaining it, et cetera.

    There is also a few moments in the game where using Paint vs Thinner creates two very different experiences but they are not both covered, i.e. The very first boss battle (the small world clock tower) utilizes two very different strategies to win the battle. The joke is that no one saves the clock tower, we didn't expect the game guide to completely agree and exclude strategies for painting it.

    For a guide that promises 100% completion, it really feels rushed, and that the authors themselves didn't achieve 100%.

    Save the 20 bucks and find a free guide from ign, or gamewinners or other online sites. ... Read more


    6. Publish on Amazon Kindle with the Digital Text Platform
    by Amazon.com
    Kindle Edition (2010-03-14)
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B003CFBI5Q
    Publisher: Gallery
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    A guide to publishing your book on Kindle with Amazon’s Digital Text Platform (DTP).DTP is a fast and easy self-publishing tool that lets anyone upload and format their titles for sale in the Kindle Store.

    It's Your Thing.
    Have a book you want to sell? Sign up with Digital Text Platform and publish your content in the Amazon Kindle Store.

    Do It.
    If you have an Amazon.com account, you're already signed up with Digital Text Platform. Start publishing now!

    Your Way.
    Digital Text Platform gives you everything you need to become your own publisher today.See for yourself.

    Visit us at dtp.amazon.com
    1 ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bare Bones Introduction to Publishing Books on Amazon, September 4, 2010
    Kindle has been a revolutionary device when it comes to reading books. However, it is also, albeit more slowly, changing the way that books are published. Thanks to the zero cost of publishing electronic books almost anyone who has something to write about can now write a book of their own. The only aspects of the publishing process that still need to be outsourced are the access to a distribution network and a way to collect payment for the books that are sold. Fortunately, the Kindle Store provides a way of elegantly and effectively solving both of those issues, and this very short documents explains how this can be accomplished. This document is more of a step-by-step easy to understand and follow how-to guide rather than a full-fledged introduction to publishing with on Kindle store. Most of the material could be figured out just by going to Amazon's website, but it's useful to have it in a self-contained and accessible form. There are a few points that I think are important to keep in mind if you are interested in publishing on Amazon:

    * Your book needs to be in an HTML format. This may exclude some more complex and technical works that are not easily converted into HTML.

    * If you are only publishing your book in online Amazon Kindle store you will not get and ISBN, which may or may not be an issue when you try to promote your book.

    * Your book will be subjected to Amazon's internal review, so publication is not automatic.

    * Amazon will take either 30% or 65% royalty cut, depending on the size of your book and the price that you charge for it.

    * If you are publishing your book from outside of the US Amazon will also withhold about 30% of all royalty payments for tax purposes.

    As I mentioned already, this is just the barest-bones introduction to publishing in Kindle Store. For more elaborate explanation and tips on how to publish your books this way you may need to look elsewhere. There are a few books out there that deal with this and if you are serious about publishing books directly to Kindle I would recommend taking a look at one of these other publications.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, direct, and complete, September 30, 2010
    How-to-do-it books come in 3 modes: super technical, sloppy, and helpful.
    This book is in the third categoary. It has straight forward instructions and explanations.
    I should know. I spent several years myself writing software manuals.
    I also just published my first ebook on Amazon.

    For ebook authors, "Publish" is a must.
    Thanks for making it so easy, Amazon.

    The Rose Killer

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Useful Guide, Praise, and a Complaint, September 13, 2010
    This review was written on a Kindle, from a town in the midst of a long power outage. I really wanted to write a review for the Kindle, and how fantastic it was in dire circumstances. Unfortunately, the Kindle itself seems to be unreviewable from a Kindle -- all the wonderful features for Kindle books are unavailable for Kindles and Kindle accessories. Also, I cannot reach the Kindle forums. Many other sites work fine, but many Amazon features require the full site, and that has pages large enough to overwhelm the Kindle's memory. Thus, Amazon.com winds up being one of the rare sites that is not Kindle-friendly.

    Publishing guidelines for making a website Kindle-friendly would be welcome.

    The article here is well worth downloading, with a lot of good guidance for the basic HTML structure required. Also recommended is the free mobi reader. One more document of interest is the Kindle Fonts PDF, available somewhere on Amazon, but I'm having no luck finding it from the Kindle browser.

    With the structure laid out so clearly, getting an article ready for publication is that much simpler.

    Apologies for some fuzzy details. As mentioned, on a Kindle, and in the midst of a large, lengthy power outage. It's very dark outside. I might be eaten by a grue.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Links don't work, September 25, 2010
    This book is OK for a brief overview of how to publish for Kindle but skimps on information about how to (legitimately) avoid the 30% withholding tax by non-US residents. Also, the links provided in the book do not work anymore. I had to do Google search to find the information I wanted to know.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative..., October 30, 2010
    I have some customer who would love to publish their books, this is an great guide to give them ideas for the future in book marketing.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Could be more information on formatting, June 11, 2010
    THis guide is very good at making the self publisher start his work. But pretty soon you find that you need more help.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, March 26, 2010
    I loved this book because it fill with information on how to publish your books and more with Amazon Kindle. ... Read more


    7. Donkey Kong Country Returns: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
    by Michael Knight
    Paperback
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307471020
    Publisher: Prima Games
    Sales Rank: 685
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

       • All levels detailed with labeled maps.
       • Two player tips for getting the most out of co-op play!
       • Every hidden item revealed.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth its weight in bananas!, November 28, 2010
    This guide really should be sold in Cranky Kong's Shop. It's just that vital to getting through the 8+ worlds of Donkey Kong Country Returns. While I didn't really use the guide until after I had beaten the game and started going back to collect stuff, it's been worth its weight in bananas! As you will see in a minute though, this is the way the guide was meant to be used.
    Although the guide isn't the traditional sort of guide. Which is to say it doesn't lead you by the hand through the tough obstacles of the game. It does a fabulous job of showing where all of the Puzzle Pieces, Hearts, Coins and Bonus Levels are located. It would have taken me ages to find some of this stuff without this guide's help.
    The maps in the guide are great and serve as an easy way to pick out vital information visually while playing. Each K-O-N-G letter, puzzle piece and bonus level are clearly marked and numbered so you can go directly to the paragraph of information on the thing that you're trying to get, or in my case locate the nearest heart refill. XD
    The guide also does a great job of explaining enemy tactics, and the controls for the game, which really helps. Bosses are covered almost in passing, but cursory techniques and strategies are covered, if ever so briefly.
    The only negative that I can think of is that I would have liked a little more thorough description of boss fights and the mini levels that lead up to some boss fights. As well as some tips on Time-Attack challenges. But these are in no way deal breakers. If you are going to buy or have bought DKCR for yourself or someone else as a gift, I can guarantee they will enjoy having the guide as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loads of fun!, December 21, 2010
    This is a game for everyone. My grandkids love to play it at my house and I love playing it too. ... Read more


    8. Kindle Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts
    by Michael Gallagher
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B0040ZN0KI
    Publisher: Gagler Enterprises, LLC
    Sales Rank: 144
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Updated November 2010!

    From the author of the best-selling blog “Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips” and the #1 free Kindle book guide comes this handy, time-saving, collection of tips, tricks and shortcuts for your Kindle. Topics include:

    • Archived Items
    • Battery Replacement
    • Calculator Functionality
    • Checking Your Email
    • Collections
    • Contacting Amazon's Kindle Customer Service
    • Converting PDF Documents to Kindle Format
    • Discussion Boards
    • Displaying the Time
    • Download Problems - What To Do
    • Flight Check
    • Formatting Issues in a Kindle Book - What To Do
    • Games on Your Kindle
    • Gifting a Kindle Book / Gift Certificates
    • Internet Access (it’s free) on Your Kindle
    • Kindle Reading to You (Text to Speech)
    • Losing Your Place While Reading
    • Lost Kindle Tip
    • Mobile Websites - Access Them on Your Kindle
    • Password Protection
    • Permanent Deletion of a Title
    • Pictures on Your Kindle
    • Playing Music on Your Kindle
    • Popular Highlights Feature - Turning it Off
    • Reset Your Kindle
    • Samples of Books
    • Screen Freeze Fix
    • Screenshots - Printing Out What You See
    • Social Networking with Facebook and Twitter
    • Transferring Books to Your Kindle
    • Transferring Existing Collections to Your New Kindle
    • Checking the Weather
    • Wireless Coverage for Your Kindle
    • Random Tips
    • Blogs Available on Your Kindle

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book by writer of great blog: don't confuse them; book is super handy, and blog helpful, esp. for newbees., October 13, 2010
    This review comments on both the BOOK as well as Michael's DAILY BLOG of the same or similar name. Both are set up to help you find free books and give help to lost or confused Kindlers. In the daily BLOG, the helpful links to the product saves typing/searching time. Before Amazon ranked top sellers WITHOUT sifting free books [which was not so long ago] this blog found them for us. Now that Amazon ranks bestseller free books separately, we still get numerous tips on Kindle functions and clarifications. Michael also refers out to other free/cheap sources online besides Amazon. I never would have found SMASHWORDS or tackled MOBIPOCKET, just for two examples, without the gentle and friendly guidance of this blog. I think of the book as my OVERALL guide and the blog as my current and updated info on finding inexpensive and quality sites for books. I bought the book and have subscribed for over a year to the blog: as a result I have 147 free books in my UNREAD collection! So Michael has really saved me some money as well as help me locate great books, some of which I've paid for, too! BOTH Book and Blog are worth every cent. Thanks!

    5-0 out of 5 stars great Stuff, October 14, 2010
    Lots of tips in here, some I was able to see in the Kindle manual (yes I read it) but even more that are not included such as I was able to check in for my flight using my Kindle and display the boarding pass electronically for use on continental air. sure beats having to find a printer when you are in a hotel.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How to Love Your Kindle Even More, November 23, 2010
    I've had my Kindle for four months....I read through the User Manual early-on....and, like so many others, have found my Kindle one of the best electronic device (and BOOK!) purchases I've ever made.

    That said, this engaging and well-done Kindle guide has only deepened my understanding, enjoyment and love of this device. The author's conversational and understanding style makes for exceptionally easy and, most importantly, USEFUL reading. The book is well-indexed from the Table of Contents and serves as a ready reference whenever I need an answer. The author addresses all the stuff we Kindle users really care about.

    In addition, there is an extensive list of Kindle/mobile-friendly websites one can access directly from the links in the book to the web. Everything from news, sports, travel, weather and business sites are listed. This list alone makes this book more than worth the measly 99 cents' cost.

    The book is updated frequently and reflects all the latest software and Kindle versions available.

    Along with the author's superb daily Kindle blog Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips (perched at #1 in Kindle blogs), this is the best 99 cents investment one can make.

    You'll love your Kindle whole lot more with this ready-reference at your Kindle fingertips.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Little More A Than User's Manual, November 16, 2010
    If you haven't reading the user's manual that comes free on your Kindle then most of this will be wonderful and helpful information for you. If you have more than skimmed the user's manual, then this will be a disappointment - as it is simply a regurgitation of what is already there. Of course there were a few helpful hints and I did pay only 99 cents for this - so I have to put the cost and content into perspective. Because of the low cost, and the sprinkling of a few things that weren't in the user's manual, I gave it a 3 star... otherwise it would've been much less. I would recommend, however, the author's blog 'Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips' - which I gladly rated a 5 star!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome, December 16, 2010
    I just did a quick read of this book and found so many helpful tips and suggestions. I am not extremely computer literate, but I believe the instructions provided are detailed enough that even I would be able to follow them. I had no idea that a Kindle could do so many things. This is a valuable guide for any Kindle owner.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No brainer, Great guide for Kindle Lovers +++, December 3, 2010
    Listen: this is a no-brainer for many of us with no brains. Absolutely the Best .99 investment I could make in learning to use and protect the Kindle. In the first few minutes I found ideas that I applied immediately, for example: How many have considered what happens when you've LOST your Kindle - yes really walked off and left it somewhere in a distraction? Don't tell me you haven't ever done this with a cell phone, I know you better... The guide's suggestion to register the first name and phone number to appear on the owner's home page is priceless.

    And I found out how to turn the Kindle off when I'm finished, duh. Again how many don't know how and have to wait for the sleep mechanism to shut it down? Don't lie...

    How to turn on the reader's voice [grr..], listen to music on the Kindle, send and receive email, convert documents,
    and organizing my growing stuff - all good information.

    This is an excellent guide for the normal clueless. Michael, thank you for this and your blog.




    1-0 out of 5 stars Not for Gen-1 Kindle, December 23, 2010
    $.99 isn't sending me to the soup line, but Gallagher should let us know before we donate a dollar to him that this book is useless for a first generation Kindle.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts, December 21, 2010
    I just received this small text and have attempted unsuccessfully to use it for several simple instructions. One reference regarding reading my e-mail, instructs me to go to the kindle web browser, yet provides no information on how to do this or where to find it. I searched the table of contents, again no help. The author uses lots of unnecessary words but provides minimal information on most topics I've tried to find. So far (and again, I just received this "book"), I've had to go to the Kindle user guide to get my questions answered. ... Read more


    9. World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
    by Christie Golden
    Hardcover
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $15.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1416550747
    Publisher: Gallery
    Sales Rank: 468
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    His eyes were open now, watching the path of the tiny flame. If you continue your path, little spark, you will cause great harm.I must burn! I must live!There are places where your glow and heat are welcome. Find them, do not destroy the dwellings or take the lives of my people!For a second, he seemed to wink out of existence but then blazed back with renewed vigor.Thrall knew what he had to do. He lifted his hand. Forgive me, Brother Flame. But I must protect my people from the harm you would cause them. I have requested, I have begged, now I warn.The spark seemed to spasm, and yet he continued on his lethal course.Thrall, grim-faced, clenched his hand hard. The spark flared defiantly, then dwindled, finally settling down to nothing more than the faintest of glowing embers. For now, he would no longer do anyone harm.The threat had ended, but Thrall was reeling. This was not the way of the shaman with the elements. It was a relationship of mutual respect, not of threats and control and, in the end, destruction. Oh, the Spirit of Fire could never be extinguished. It was far greater than anything any shaman, or even group of shaman, could ever attempt to do to him. He was eternal, as all the spirits of the elements were. But this part of him, this elemental manifestation, had been defiant, uncooperative. And he had not been alone. He was part of a disturbing trend of elements that were sullen and rebellious rather than cooperative. And in the end, Thrall had had to completely dominate him. Other shaman were now calling rain to soak the city in case there was another aberrant spark that persisted in its course of devastation.Thrall stood in the rain, letting it soak him, pour off his massive green shoulders, and drip down his arms. What in the name of the ancestors was happening?New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Christie Golden has written thirty-five novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Among her many projects are over a dozen Star Trek novels and several original fantasy novels. An avid player of World of Warcraft, she has written two manga short stories and several novels in that world (Lord of the Clans, Rise of the Horde, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, and The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm) with more in the works. She has also written the StarCraft Dark Templar Trilogy, Firstborn, Shadow Hunters, and Twilight. Forthcoming is Devils’ Due, a StarCraft II novel focusing on the unlikely friendship between Jim Raynor and Tychus Findlay. Golden is also currently writing three books in the major nine-book Star Wars series Fate of the Jedi, in collaboration with Aaron Allston and Troy Denning. Her first two books in that series, Omen and Allies, are on shelves now. Golden currently lives in Colorado. She welcomes visitors to her website, www.christiegolden.com.***Thrall, wise shaman and the warchief of the Horde, has sensed a disturbing change . . . Long ago, Azeroth’s destructive native elementals raged across the world until the benevolent titans imprisoned them within the Elemental Plane. Despite the titans’ intervention, many elementals have ended up back on Azeroth. Over the ages, shaman like Thrall have communed with these spirits and, through patience and dedication, learned to soothe roaring infernos, bring rain to sun-scorched lands, and otherwise temper the elementals’ ruinous influence on the world of Azeroth.Now Thrall has discovered that the elementals no longer heed the shaman’s call. The link shared with these spirits has grown thin and frayed, as if Azeroth itself were under great duress. While Thrall seeks answers to what ails the confused elements, he also wrestles with the orcs’ precarious future as his people face dwindling supplies and growing hostility with their night elf neighbors.Meanwhile, King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind is considering violent action in response to mounting tensions between the Alliance and the Horde, a hard-line approach that threatens to alienate those closest to him, including his son, Anduin. The conflicted young prince has set out to find his own path, but in doing so, he risks becoming entangled in political instability that is setting the world on edge.The fate of Azeroth’s great races is shrouded in a fog of uncertainty, and the erratic behavior of the elemental spirits, troubling though it is, may only be the first ominous warning sign of the cataclysm to come. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Shattering was a great read for a Warcraft lore geek like me., October 20, 2010
    Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down until I finished it, same with my wife when she started reading it.

    I have been playing the Warcraft games since they first came out and have been buying all the books as soon as they are published. I am a lore geek, and this book answered ALOT of questions I had about changes coming in the Cataclysm expansion. I was lucky enough to get into the beta, and a few of the changes confused me since I had no backstory to understand WHY these changes were made. The Shattering answered every single question I had made, and even gave me a newfound respect for Garrosh Hellscream, a character that I had previously loathed.

    I can't recommend this book highly enough, buy it, borrow it, whatever, and read it!

    Anyone who likes Warcraft needs to read this book, it clears up many things in the transition to the new World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, and it is also an amazing read, like Golden's other Warcraft work.

    10/10 no contest!

    5-0 out of 5 stars GOLDEN AGE FOR BLIZZARD BOOKS, October 19, 2010
    This may be the most epic warcraft book ever written!!!!! I am still wowed, speechless, and enthralled by what i just put down. I've never been this excited to play a game expansion in my life. I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone, so i will not hit on the plot scenarios of the book. So much happens. I got to understand characters i've seen in game for years so much more. Golden did her masterwork with this one. Also, is it just me or has blizzard's books just been kicking ass these last few years? Golden has been doing an amazing job, but even the other lesser talked about books like the manga and more have all been really good.

    This is a must read. I just pre-ordered the game after reading the end. can't wait.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Before the End of the World, October 26, 2010
    **Warning: There are minor spoilers in this review.

    Christie Golden's appropriately titled, The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, covers the earthshaking events leading up to latest World of Warcraft expansion being released this winter.

    The Shattering contains story arcs for both the Horde and the Alliance, with a few intertwining scenes to tie them altogether. Two of the major arcs are parallel to each other, but are set within the context of one of the two factions.

    Golden navigates the reader through these plotlines masterfully. Alliance and Horde politics are entertainingly explained, and Golden performs her magic of fleshing out characters that most Warcraft fans vaguely have seen in other media or not at all; specifically, Anduin Wrynn and Baine Bloodhoof, whose storylines are the focus in this novel.

    However, considering the length of the novel and its' purpose, the multiple story arcs does contain a few tangles. Some plot-lines are rather rushed, specifically Thrall's visit to Nagrand.

    Thrall's journey involves a romance that came off rushed and unconvincing due to the limited screentime the two characters had. The romantic interest IS interesting as a character, but the way their relationship developed could've been better off developed later versus all at once in The Shattering.

    Additionally, considering it's a novel containing both factions, there's a lot of names and locales exclusive to those factions that a casual fan wouldn't recognize. Golden tries to mitigate this by providing a brief background or title on anything notable, but it still can come off as a tangled net of pronouns.

    At best, The Shattering will satiate your desire to know under what circumstances the Horde and Alliance go into the Cataclysm that will change Azeroth forever.

    At worst, The Shattering might have have been better off as a collection of short stories.

    Nevertheless, the narrative is gripping and as cliche as it sounds, it'll keep you going through the wee hours of the morning just to see how things resolve.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great lore piece, disappointed reader, December 5, 2010
    Let me preface this hopefully succinct review and say I'm rating this not solely as a book on Warcraft lore, but by the standards of any book. Most game-based lore type books would barely rate one star in my opinion, and I consider them more "guilty reads", so I mean three stars as a compliment.

    The good:

    Christie Golden does a great job of giving you a sense of the lore figures, even if you only have a cursory familiarity with Warcraft lore. In fact, I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain a quick, synopsis of not only those-present lore character's history, but demeanor.

    Often when an author is challenged with multiple view points, a reader can feel disappointed "just as s/he is getting comfortable" with a POV and being taken away at an interesting point. Golden does a solid job of keeping the various threads of her tale engaging, and the bulk of my disappointment arose elsewhere (read further).

    The bad:

    I primarily bought this book for lore I felt was lacking in the game, and really, in most Warcraft lore books, specifically: Voljin, Sylvanas, Lor'themar Theron, and Prophet Velen. Curiously the only leader absent that I didn't care about was Mekkatorque. As a lore reader, I was sorely disappointed to see them absent amidst such critical moments in the game's canon. As a general sci-fi fantasy reader, I was thoroughly disappointed in the, as what other reviewers here have labeled rushed (and in my opinion, lazy), writing. Having to juggle so many "players" in a game's history can be a challenge, but anyone who has read the likes of Steven Erikson or George R.R. Martin are familiar with how a five star author handles such a challenge. Leaving them out so completely was despite their obvious symbiotic relations to the present-characters and activities was just amazing and, as I try to reason the "why", lazy. Thus, three stars.

    As others have pointed out here, I also felt many scenes were rushed or resolved not through an evolution of character, but through necessity to move the story. Writing like this is why "plot driven" carries such a negative connotation in today's literature. Again, I understand the author's constraints, but am judging her through the world of sci-fi, and not solely game-based lore. For the latter, she did not disappoint anymore than another author. By the former, she was a three star author, at best.

    Finally, the price was just too high. I learned nothing new that I wasn't formerly aware of through information on Blizzard's official website, or through the in game activities. Truly, at $6 this would have been a bargain on my Kindle. Instead, I feel strangely bitter that I purchased it, and would not recommend it to a friend.

    Summary:
    Not shockingly, the book is for fan boys and lore hounds of the Warcraft canon. I'm not sure how anyone could buy this book expecting otherwise. If you've been absent from Azeroth for some months (or years) and want to quickly (and I mean quickly, it's a short read) catch up on where your old friends and are before this exciting new expansion released, I would recommend this book. If you've been relatively active in game, and take any time to read the official site for new information, I would save your money until the price on this book comes down to a value that represents what it has to offer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The absolute BEST story EVER!!!!, October 26, 2010
    This is one of those rare books that compels you to finish it as quickly as possible. The story is so good that it continues to move forward and the only time it pauses for you to catch your breath is only when you stop reading it to turn the page.
    First off... If you're playing World Of Warcraft, then this book is a MUST read! If you're not playing the game... know that the events that happen in this book are also happening in the game world, which makes the story even more important to read!!

    This book's story is so good that you feel like you are actually watching a movie and see the characters within the pages. I think what helps is the fact that if you've played the game, you already know what everyone looks like. When the author mentions a place or location within the World Of Warcraft realm, you can already understand what that looks like, because you've been there in the game.

    The book is easy to read, brings GREATLY NEEDED DEPTH to the characters of World Of Warcraft and make you thirst for more of the same. Blizzard truly has an amazing cast of people as resources to expand its World of Warcraft universe. Christie Golden has just put herself into the top tier and had set the bar for all others to follow!!!

    3 words... GET THIS BOOK!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wacraft at its best, October 21, 2010
    I have just finished reading the shattering and let me tell you that I could not put down the book during the time it took me to read it. I have played every Warcraft game since the series started and when Blizzard came out with the first book about the series I was ecstatic since even though I am a gamer, first and foremost I am reader. All the Warcraft books are fantasy/fiction goldmines but "The Shattering" is by far the best of the bunch, you cannot even imagine how Golden has taken the best of the Warcraft universe as a canvas and created an excellent storyline worthy to have the blizzard stamp of approval. Unlike other Warcraft novels which seem to be the novelizations of the games, Shattering has new and old characters that help the story progress through a maze of politics, coups, honor duels and natural disasters that will keep you glued to your seat/bed/sofa. I do not want to go into the story since this is a book worth reading but let me tell you that be you Alliance, Horde or don't know what the heck I am talking about you will not be disappointed in investing your time with reading this masterpiece.

    For the Horde!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, October 22, 2010
    This book is amazing, I couldn't put it down till I was done. Explains a lot that happens between WOTLK and Cata expansions. A must read for all Warcraft fans. I recommend 100%

    4-0 out of 5 stars This World is Shattered, November 12, 2010
    Though not without its flaws, "The Shattering" is a great read for those who are interested in the Warcraft lore. The story, though sometimes slow and melodramatic, is all together fascinating and intricately woven; however, Golden's nuanced and thoughtful writing make reading even the most difficult sections of the novel an absolute pleasure. Her true power as a writer is shown in the novel's tense, dramatic, and action-packed moments. The characters are wonderfully represented in this story and it is an absolute must-read for those who are interested in how Azeroth will change in light of the events leading up to Cataclysm.

    5-0 out of 5 stars PHENOMENAL read!, October 31, 2010
    This book arrived when I had about 5 chapters left of another book I'd been reading. I quickly finished off the other book, and once I picked up The Shattering, it was oh so very tempting to play hooky from work just so I could finish the book more quickly. It draws you in nearly instantly and the character development and fleshing out of characters seen in-game for years now are simply amazingly written.

    It makes my anticipation for Cataclysm all the greater.

    Many, MANY kudos to Christie Golden for writing yet another gripping lore-filled World of Warcraft novel!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, October 30, 2010
    This book was amazing. Once again I love Thrall, and Anduin Wrynn was well done as well. The development of Garrosh as a hotheaded leader of the Horde is perfect for keeping cross faction player hostilities going even after the peace treaty. Amazing introduction to Cataclysm! ... Read more


    10. World of Warcraft Cataclysm Signature Series Guide
    by BradyGames
    Paperback
    list price: $24.99 -- our price: $16.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0744012414
    Publisher: BRADY GAMES
    Sales Rank: 596
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Play World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and win! "BradyGames" gives its Signature Series treatment to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the highly-anticipated development to the original World of Warcraft game. In this high-fantasy guide, you will be introduced to two new races, the Worgen and Goblins, and learn all about the unique races and classes that will help you complete your quests. You'll also discover how to battle enemies for gear and glory and how to join guilds with other players. There is a dedicated step-by-step guide, designed for brand-new players, to help you start your journey into World of Warcraft game. This "World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Signature Series Guide" features official artwork, designed for beauty and ease-of-use. It's a must-have guide for any World of Warcraft player. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not worth it for level 80+ players, December 4, 2010
    Lets be honest. this guide is made for "new players" there is a "new players section" but it seems the ENTIRE guide was made for new players

    it has VERY little information on the new zones and new quests and new gear for level 80+ 85....

    for those of you who are level 80+ getting the expansion DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! unless you just want everything Wow....for me it was kind of worth it.. as chances are im going to use more of the wikis and websites and addon guides rather then getting this guide

    sadly a lot of people will be getting this not knowing that there is pretty much ZERO infomation for level 80+ players

    oh well. i guess its a nice basic guide...

    and not back for just 17 bucks but....not the best in the world. your better off with wiki sites and in game ui addon quest tracker guides ....

    2-0 out of 5 stars Good if you have never played..., December 5, 2010
    Pros: The pictures are pretty! Great book if you are indeed new to the game. Got it cheaper here then what the suggested price.

    Cons: For players that have played and raided this book is a HUGE let down. The spell rotations they give you in many of the classes to help you solo will easily get you killed and leave you frustrated. The book goes into every zone with a high level of detail and the wording that was fed to them from Blizzard. The down side to this is it reads as a ad to get people to start playing WoW and not so much to help them keep playing WoW. I purchased this book so I could have an idea of what to expect out of the first few dungeons so that I could get ready for the 7th without any problems. The section for Dungeons and raids just told you that there were indeed dungeons and raids new to Cataclysm but absolutely no details of what to expect. The book has a few spaces where the information it gives is not accurate (This is not Bradygames fault as Blizzard made the changes recently after the printing process began.)

    I will not ever buy another game guide again. Huge let down!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, December 8, 2010
    This book is really intended for newbies or returning wow peeps, but that being said, I found some info on classes I haven't played that seems to be pretty good. It also gives tips on the stats you should beef up for different specs of the classes too.

    There's also a small section that breaks up the continents into level brackets, which is very helpful to me since I don't have to alt-tab a bunch because I can't remember if I was high enough to start in a certain zone or not.

    For the proper rotations though, you're better to google them since there were so many changes in the recent patches before Cataclysm's release. Also, there are add-ons you can download that can help out a lot too.

    I do feel jipped about the dungeon section. I was expecting at least a general walkthough on the new instances & raids, but all it gives out is a list.

    So, if you're new to the game or don't have a lot of knowledge about the different classes, get this book. This is coming from a person that only has one protection/retribution pally that was max level before Cataclysm & a crap load of lowbie alts.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, December 8, 2010
    This book is good if you have never played World of Warcraft and want a picture filled simple overview of the game. If you have level 80 characters and want to know where the new dungeons are located, where should you spend talent points, what are the quest lines for the new zones, what are the strategies for the new boss fights, and so on then this book is a big fat waste of money.

    My advice to both new and old player alike, don't buy this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says it does., December 16, 2010
    This guide does exactly what it says it does. It's an updated version of the original Brady Strategy Guide. It's meant for beginner to intermediate players, or players that want to see major changes that have occurred since the expansion/patches. It's not meant for level 80+ players. Chances are that if you're at 80+ you don't need the guide to begin with. For those players, you'll most likely see an updated dungeon companion in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best new guide for World of Warcraft!, December 6, 2010
    This is the best new guide for World of Warcraft especially now since the "world" has changed pretty much completely! All the class roles are displayed, all the new character combos and races. If you've been playing forever or just now starting and know nothing about the game before hand this book is for you! All your old guides you can toss out =D ... Read more


    11. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    by Steven Johnson
    Hardcover (2010-10-05)
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1594487715
    Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 645
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    One of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on-in exhilarating style-one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from?

    With Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson pairs the insight of his bestselling Everything Bad Is Good for You and the dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air to address an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

    Beginning with Charles Darwin's first encounter with the teeming ecosystem of the coral reef and drawing connections to the intellectual hyperproductivity of modern megacities and to the instant success of YouTube, Johnson shows us that the question we need to ask is, What kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas? His answers are never less than revelatory, convincing, and inspiring as Johnson identifies the seven key principles to the genesis of such ideas, and traces them across time and disciplines.

    Most exhilarating is Johnson's conclusion that with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Where Good Ideas Come From is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how to come up with tomorrow's great ideas.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A staggering insight into cultivating creativity
    In my years as a Wall Street strategy advisor and as a life-long student of that which propels us towards our greatest potential, I am fascinated by an interesting structural tension when it comes to personal and professional excellence.

    We have at our finger tips, some of the greatest knowledge, tools and processes that can help propel people and organizations towards excellence and yet despite this vast wealth of information, many people (and the organizations they are associated with) struggle.

    After exploring many theories over the years, I think I just realized why this is the case and I am staggered by the implications.

    I have just finished reading "Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson (author of "Everything Good is Bad For You" and "The Invention of Air") and found the ideas contained within to be of staggering profundity.

    A Different View on Creativity

    With no offence intended towards well-intentioned individuals within organizations who come up with interesting ways to help us be more creative, I have often struggled with the value of some of the ideas they have come up with. Some examples come to mind, including the time I flew across the country for a mandatory, all-hands meeting where we played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or another time when I travelled across the country for a mandatory meeting where the primary thing that was accomplished was a competition to see who could build a toy helicopter out of Lego Blocks the fastest.

    When I asked people why we were doing these things, I was informed that it was to help us learn to be more creative. I learned something alright but it was not what they hoped I had learned. By the way, I won the helicopter competition, so there are no sour grapes here. :-)

    As I read Steven Johnson's book, I realized why we struggle with how to be more creative.

    It's because we spend too much time trying to experience an extrinsic-centric learning event when we should be refining the foundational components of what makes a human being a source of unlimited creativity.

    As I read his book, I realized why we are often more hit-than-miss when it comes to increasing our potential for creativity. His book also helped me understand why our creativity sometimes grows in leaps and bounds while at other times, we seem unable to recreate this experience, making our growth in creativity seem frustratingly random or lucky.

    Seven Key Principles

    Mr. Johnson's engaging writing style guides us through seven key areas that must be understood in order to maximize our creativity, the key areas being:

    1. The adjacent possible - the principle that at any given moment, extraordinary change is possible but that only certain changes can occur (this describes those who create ideas that are ahead of their time and whose ideas reach their ultimate potential years later).

    2. Liquid networks - the nature of the connections that enable ideas to be born, to be nurtured and to blossom and how these networks are formed and grown.

    3. The slow hunch - the acceptance that creativity doesn't guarantee an instant flash of insight but rather, germinates over time before manifesting.

    4.Serendipity - the notion that while happy accidents help allow creativity to flourish, it is the nature of how our ideas are freely shared, how they connect with other ideas and how we perceive the connection at a specific moment that creates profound results.

    5. Error - the realization that some of our greatest ideas didn't come as a result of a flash of insight that followed a number of brilliant successes but rather, that some of those successes come as a result of one or more spectacular failures that produced a brilliant result.

    6. Exaptation - the principle of seizing existing components or ideas and repurposing them for a completely different use (for example, using a GPS unit to find your way to a reunion with a long-lost friend when GPS technology was originally created to help us accurately bomb another country into oblivion).

    7. Platforms - adapting many layers of existing knowledge, components, delivery mechanisms and such that in themselves may not be unique but which can be recombined or leveraged into something new that is unique or novel.

    Insight That Resonates

    Mr. Johnson guides the reader through each of these seven areas with examples that are relevant, doing so in a way that hits the reader squarely between the eyes. I found myself on many an occasion exclaiming inwardly "This idea or example is brilliant in its obviousness and simplicity".

    "Where Good Ideas Come From" is a book that one must read with a pen or highlighter in hand as nuggets pop out and provide insight into past or current challenges around creativity and problem solving.

    When someone decides to explore ways of helping you or your organization be more creative and they are getting ready to explore a rah-rah session, an offsite brain-storming session or they are looking to play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, ask them if they have explored the foundational reasons behind what makes us creative.

    And then buy a copy of this book for them.

    I believe this book should be mandatory reading for every student, teacher and leader.

    We are all students of Life.

    We all at some point, teach others.

    And if we accept that a leader is someone who influences others and we acknowledge that everyone influences someone at some point, then we are all leaders also.

    Educational institutions, governments and corporations should make this book mandatory reading for everyone within their walls.

    "Where Good Ideas Come From" is a fun read as well as a profound one.

    May your creativity blossom as a result of exploring it.

    Create a great day.

    Harry

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant (again)!
    For those who enjoyed The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air, Johnson's latest book is another amazing treat in which science meets history, sociology and culture.

    In Where Good Ideas Come From, Johnson examines the way in which people, environments and ideas meet. With references that range from biology, mathematics, neuroscience, technology, engineering, he argues convincingly that "analyzing innovation on the scale of individuals and organizations --- --- distorts our view" and that looking at patterns of creativity within cross-disciplinary contexts is far more fruitful. And Johnson is truly a polymath.

    Great ideas surveyed range from Tarnier's incubator, Baggage's Difference Engine, YouTube, double-entry accounting, the Phoenix memo, the DEVONthink database program, Gutenberg's printing press etc... But this is not about cataloguing ideas, but understanding their genesis and their development, in the context of their respective socio-cultural environment.

    The author does live what he preaches. In wonderful Johnson-style prose, he examines the "connective talents" of Carbon and extrapolates on the chaotic nature of innovative system. The books itself is highly original, and, given the complexity of its ideas, extremely accessible. You will not be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insight into creativity
    Creating a theory of innovation is not an exact science as the process is messy, erratic, and often catalogued with a high selective bias towards the final "eureka" moment. In his book, Steven Johnson attempts to unpack some of this process and proposes a framework of seven key themes:

    1. Adjacent possible: different innovations vary in their ability to unlock adjacent capabilities. In other words, timing matters.
    2. Liquid environments: from a coffee house to your lab, the environments ability to circulate ideas plays an incredibly important role.
    3. Serendipity: more often than not, it is a rare connection of two existing ideas that sets off a lightbulb, not discovery of a new one (see 2).
    4. Slow hunch: instant flash of insight usually comes from years of exploration, where at some point, those ideas collide (see 3).
    5. Error: many discoveries come about as an unrelated, and unexpected consequence (ex: penicillin) - be flexible with your ideas.
    6. Exaptation: existing components and discoveries can often be adapted to different use cases (ex: consumer GPS applications.. see 1).
    7. Platforms: where possible, build platforms and ecosystems that foster environments where 1-6 can be recombined at will.

    While the specific examples chosen by author can be argued with, and an occasional metaphor is stretched too far, the book itself is well written and very engaging! Great read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST BOOK I READ IN 2010 - Period!!!
    This is THE BEST BOOK I read in 2010. PERIOD. I am pleased to recognize Steven Johnson's work, Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation, (Riverhead Books - Published by The Penguin Group New York, NY Copyright � 2010 by Steven Johnson).

    In an era when the U.S. requires some creative thinkers to point the way ahead, I urge you and yours to devour this work. This work is timely, a shape-shifter and contains, in my opinion, the type of thinking required for re-evaluating the current foundation, energy and trajectory applicable to individuals, organizations (BOTH public and private sector), entrepreneurs, diplomats, inventors, faith-based communities etc.

    What's the thesis of this work? Listen to Steven Johnson:

    "If there is a single maxim that runs through this book's arguments, it is that we are often better served by connecting ideas than we are by protecting them. Like the free market itself, the case for restricting the flow of innovation has long been buttressed by appeals to the "natural " order of things. But the truth is, when one looks at innovation in nature and in culture, environments that build walls around good ideas tend to be less innovative in the long run than more open-ended environments. Good ideas may not want to be free, but they do want to connect, fuse, recombine. They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders. They want to complete each other as much as they want to compete." P.22 (emphasis is mine).

    The U.S. has always been heralded as the global center for innovation, technological breakthroughs and the quality of a university system that attracts the finest minds from around the world. At present, the U.S. seems to be struggling with a paucity of good ideas and its infrastructure - that has historically produced global admiration (educational achievement, patents, new industries, technologies, strategic partnerships and economic prowess) - has been characterized by a myriad of measures as "in decline."

    This book stirred my patriotic fervor, as well as my competitive and creative juices. It didn't just stir me up - it somehow rearranged some things for me - at a soul level. It is a uniquely hopeful book - a message of tangible, practical hope for global citizens faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges of survival and daily life.

    As Johnson writes, Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives. P.112

    Thus, I am NOT going to litter this review with too many excerpts from Johnson's work that would encourage you to make a judgment that simply reading a review of it was somehow sufficient. Here's what happened to me after I read Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation -- I immediately went out and devoured two of Johnson's previous, acclaimed works The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map.

    From time to time, cultures produce thinkers whose ideas are simply essential, timely and (hopefully) infectious. These people and their ideas seem to rise up at times during certain historical epochs when they are desperately needed -- and may be deemed counter intuitive to the mainstream thinking that seems to be widely accepted.

    As Johnson says in The Ghost Map: "The river of intellectual progress is not defined purely by the steady flow of good ideas begetting better ones; it follows the topography that has been carved out for it by external factors. Sometimes that topography throws up so many barricades that the river backs up for a while." P. 135

    Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation is a force that pierces the barricades that are currently preventing the natural flow of human ingenuity from proceeding as constructively and as freely as it might. This book is inhabited by the essential inertia that is fundamental to our present and our future - individually and collectively.

    I can unequivocally declare this work to be The Best Book I read in 2010.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enticing and Innovating Itself
    A most interesting book and one that is stimulating to read, IMO. I don't think one needs a high-tech background and graduate degrees to enjoy this book. Reading about the innovations is like reading a minibiography of the various inventions and inventors. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Steven Johnson book yet
    I have read all of Steven Johnson's books, some more than once. He is one of only 3-4 authoers whose books I watch for and anticipate before their publication, so I was eager to pick up his latest, and not only did it not disappoint, it may be his most thought-provoking yet.

    Those of you who have read any of his other books, "The Invention of Air", "Mind Wide Open" or "The Ghost Map" will instantly recignize his lucid, well-researched yet casual tone, and in many ways he is building upon ideas brought forth in those earlier works, consolidating them and putting them together to form new ideas, an endeavor which ironically is one of the very concepts he discusses here.

    A better, though less eye-catching title would have been "How Good Ideas Come About". The book is not so much about where, as about what are the conditions most ideal for them. He makes some very interesting and convincing analogies between the natural world and human culture, and bouncing back and forth effortlessly between the two realms is very fresh and compelling.

    But even more than his earlier books, the ride along the way is extremely enjoyable. Fans of Ghost Map and Invention of Air will revel in the sheer quantity of "Wow, I never knew that" moments. But this book differs in approach: rather than delve deeply into one or two individual fascinating historical figures and extrapolating conclusions about human culture at large from it, this book starts from the cultural concept (the generation of innovative ideas) and surveys many historical examples to make his points. Each of these examples is fascinating enough to warrant a book all on their own!

    I have come away from this book totally affirmed for my penchant for working on 6 projects at once, and for "spacing out". And I've been energized and inspired. Thanks Mr. Johnson!

    ... Read more


    12. The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide
    by Allan Bedford
    Paperback
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1593270542
    Publisher: No Starch Press
    Sales Rank: 556
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    What exactly is a slope? What's the difference between a tile and a plate? Why is it bad to simply stack bricks in columns to make a wall? The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide is here to answer your questions.Focusing on building actual models with real bricks, The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide comes with complete instructions to build several cool models but also encourages you to use your imagination to create your own fantastic creations.Inside, you'll learn:

    • The best ways to connect bricks and creative uses for those patterns
    • Tricks for calculating and using scale (it's not as hard as you think)
    • The step-by-step plans to create a train station on the scale of LEGO people (a.k.a. "minifigs")
    • How to build spheres, jumbo-sized LEGO bricks, micro-scaled models, and a mini space shuttle
    • Tips for sorting and storing all of your LEGO pieces
    The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide also includes the Brickopedia, a visual guide to nearly 300 of the most useful and reusable elements of the LEGO system, with historical notes, common uses, part numbers, and the year each piece first appeared in a LEGO set.The firm foundation for your LEGO hobby starts here! ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting books I've read all year--seriously!, December 4, 2005
    I have to admit, this is one of the most interesting books I've read all year! Expecting simply a discussion on the best way to build a wall, I was surprised at the amount of awe the author is able to instill in the reader regarding those little plastic bricks. LEGO's are actually quite amazing. As the author points out, the LEGO company adheres to some of the strictest quality control measures. Releasing a brick that is too tall or two short is unacceptable, as your creations simply wouldn't fit together.

    The author takes almost a Zen-like approach toward LEGOs. To truly build, you must first understand the brick. So he helps you understand the brick. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's truly fascinating stuff. After discussing the brick and basic building techniques (you would be disappointed if there wasn't a discussion on how to build the best wall, wouldn't you?), the author shows how to build for different perspectives. Sure you can build things the same size as those little LEGO people, but you can also build things that are much bigger. The challenges and tips for doing just that are outlined.

    I always wondered how some people were able to create something amazing from scratch out of their LEGO collections. Well, I still may not be able to create something out of thin air, but the author does show how to plan your creation. In fact, he shows how he designed and built a model of the space shuttle-and it all looks so easy. It simply comes down to careful planning, having the right LEGO parts, and a little bit of time.

    One thing I thought was really cool about this book was the appendix. Here the author shows every single LEGO piece, its part number, and a description of what it's good for.

    This is really an amazing book. You can feel the great respect the author has for LEGOs, and when you're done, you feel the same way. I also really enjoyed the author's approach to LEGO building, as it was something I've never seen before. This is a great gift for that LEGO builder in your life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing book for Lego enthusiasts of ALL ages!, December 28, 2005
    Like many kids I had a few Lego sets as a kid. And like a lot of kids I stopped playing with them at some point and eventually gave away the sets I had. So when a friend recently gave me a copy of The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide to check out, it was a real surprise at how quickly all those great memories came flooding back of building with Lego. One look at the retro-looking cover on this book and I knew there had to be some cool stuff inside. Indeed, there is!

    This book isn't just a set of instructions for a bunch of models or a price guide for collecting sets. It's an overview of the entire Lego system and takes you from knowing what a brick is, right up to designing your own model. Inbetween, there are discussions about scale, building Miniland-sized characters, how to build a sphere and how to build 'jumbo' bricks which look like a blast to make. The pictures are in black and white. At first I thought this would make it difficult to follow along with the examples but it was no problem at all. The images are crisp and clean and with no color it allows you to focus on the bricks being used in the technique without worrying about which color they should be. If I'm gonna' build my own models I'm gonna' use my own colors anyway!

    What surprised me the most was, even though I hadn't touched a Lego set in years I found myself wanting to build some of the examples in the book (especially the sphere!!) and went out and bought a couple of those big tubs of assorted parts. The book has helped me rediscover a fond hobby from my past. I'm hooked - again. The author's easy-to-grasp explanations of the various concepts have really helped me feel like I can build some of the ideas that must have been in my head since I was a kid.

    One of the coolest parts in the book is the Brick-O-Pedia. This is a big section at the back that shows pictures and descriptions of hundreds of lego pieces. It's worth the price alone! I found it interesting to see when some of the parts were released and Bedford also suggests different uses for many of them.

    If you are a kid or a kid at heart who loves Lego then you need this book. If you're an adult who wants to get back into the hobby or help out a child or younger relative then you'll also find this book extremely useful. In my case it's allowing me an easy return to a simpler time. I'll probably sit down with my nephew the next time he visits and share this very cool book with him. I know he''ll enjoy it as much as I have.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Both a how-to and a reference, September 29, 2005
    This is a really interesting book. It's a best practices guide for Lego. It teaches how to plan and sculpt Lego like nothing I have read before. It's definitely not the type of book that you get with a Lego kit.

    There is also a reference section at the end of the book which covers all of the different types of Lego pieces, which is really handy.

    My reservation is that the book could have been larger. The author could have presented more examples to illustrate different types of Lego techniques. So if anything my four star rating is just my way of saying; more, more!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for future master builders, November 1, 2005
    I've visited Lego Land several times and am constantly impressed by the creativity of the models on display, and have always come away wondering how I could go about designing a model from scratch like the professional builders do.

    The LEGO Builders Guide gives you a step by step guide from starting at the very beginning with choosing your subject, planning using handy templates, building techniques, and presentation.

    This book will help you
    - Build super size models
    - Build micro scale models
    - Build Lego Mosaics
    - Build Building and people at Mini-Land scale
    - Build Geometric shapes (e.g. Lego sphere)
    - Organise you Lego bricks

    I purchased this book with one specific project in mind, but reading it has given me a hundred more ideas

    Great Lego Book and a very good price!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Must have book for any skill level, September 9, 2005
    I've been fortunate enough to be able to review this book before it went to press. I loved it, and said as much to the publisher. When I recieved my review copy of the final book last night, I was even MORE impressed.

    This book is packed for a great content for any age and/or skill level. Been a LEGO builder for decades? Want to start building as an adult? As a kid? Then this book is for you.

    Great work to the author!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate book for the ultimate building toy!, January 12, 2007
    Lego may be the most versatile and beautifully designed construction toy of all time. It's an ingenious blend of engineering, art and fun. Read Allan Bedford's book and you'll probably agree!

    I've been a Lego fan for over 40 years, but most of the time I've just been reliving childhood memories from the mid-1960s - occasionally building houses out of red and white bricks, then putting them back into storage. Allan Bedford's book has changed all that. It has shown me what I've been missing all these years!

    The creative - and yes, artistic! - potential of Lego is absolutely mind-boggling. Bedford's book explores areas most people couldn't even imagine. There's something for everyone: mosaics and sculptures for artistic types, buildings and vehicles for aspiring architects and engineers, microscale projects for those who prefer or need to keep things really small (note: it's the best way to build things at work without attracting too much attention!), and even sorting and storage tips for serious builders and collectors. And be warned: after you read this book, you won't be able to resist buying a LOT more Lego!

    A special feature of Bedford's book is the Brickopedia - an appendix illustrating hundreds of Lego pieces, including the year each was introduced. It alone is worth the price of the book. It made me appreciate the truly brilliant design of the Lego elements that have appeared since the 1960s.

    Once you're familiar with the newer Lego bits in the Brickopedia, you'll be delighted with the way they can be used in different Lego constructions. Just recognizing them is half the fun: the front of Santa's sleigh can show up as part of an automobile spoiler; a shark's tooth can morph into the visor of a traffic light; and a snowman's nose can be used as a fire hose nozzle.

    One of Picasso's most loved and whimsical sculptures is a bull's head fashioned from a bicycle seat and a pair of handle bars (T�te de taureau,1942). It took artistic vision and a playful creativity to put these components together. Lego opens the door to the vision and creativity that reside within us. Allan Bedford's book is the long-awaited key!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is not "LEGO for Dummies.", January 12, 2007
    Rather, this book is for those who are interested in the characteristics, the proportions, the considerations, and the general techniques involved in building with one of the best inventions of all time, LEGO. This is the book for the person who understands the old saying: "Give a man a fish--feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime." This book is for those who want to "learn to fish" so to speak. I purchased this book in December 2005 for my then 8-year-old daughter as she had recently begun so show extended interest in building her own designs from LEGO elements. Subsequent to receiving, and reading, the book her models began to take on a more sophisticated construction as her understanding of the the LEGO system deepened. I do not believe that this book is too technical for a child as some other reviewers have mentioned. It is also not overtly simplistic either and can provide a lot of help to the adult LEGO enthusiast as well. Buy the book, read it, follow the examples, learn the techniques and then let you imagination go and build what you want with confidence-that is what LEGO is all about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Grandparents' Helper!, February 22, 2006
    There are not many toys at Grandma and Grandpa's for our grandchildren to play with so when we came across a LEGO set that used to belong to our son we hoped that it would be a good way for the grandchildren to develop their creative skills. However, we are definitely what you would call "LEGO illiterate". We didn't know where to begin until someone recommended Allan Bedford's book, `The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide'. We purchased it last fall and now look, at least to our grandchildren, like we know all there is to know about LEGO. The Brickopedia is especially helpful and although our projects will be small for awhile with the help of this well written and well organized book we will move on to bigger and better things in the future. LEGO is a great way to spend quality time with grandchildren and can become addictive thanks to the help found in Allan's book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everything I'd hoped!, September 26, 2005
    Finally! Great instructions for making a generic sphere, and suggestions on how to use some of those mysterious bricks that show up in odd lots. Fun to browse and a good reference tool.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Way to go, Allan!, November 10, 2005
    I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, not only for myself, but for my 7-year-old girl. I love the depth of it and the simplicity of it. I liked the trade size, because I could take it with me to continue reading. It was great to get more info and still have some pics to view.

    As a former bookseller, I relish good reference books. This is one of them.

    Okay, enough with the review; I gotta go get my LEGO bricks sorted. And, with Allan's Brickopedia portion of the book, I can do it in style. Thank you, Allan! When's your next one? ... Read more


    13. The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
    by Michael Freeman
    Paperback
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0240809343
    Publisher: Focal Press
    Sales Rank: 463
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Design is the single most important factor in creating a successful photograph. The ability to see the potential for a strong picture and then organize the graphic elements into an effective, compelling composition has always been one of the key skills in making photographs.

    Digital photography has brought a new, exciting aspect to design - first because the instant feedback from a digital camera allows immediate appraisal and improvement; and second because image-editing tools make it possible to alter and enhance the design after the shutter has been pressed. This has had a profound effect on the way digital photographers take pictures.

    Now published in sixteen languages, The Photographer's Eye continues to speak to photographers everywhere. Reaching 100,000 copies in print in the US alone, and 300,000+ worldwide, it shows how anyone can develop the ability to see and shoot great digital photographs. The book explores all the traditional approaches to composition and design, but crucially, it also addresses the new digital technique of shooting in the knowledge that a picture will later be edited, manipulated, or montaged to result in a final image that may be very different from the one seen in the viewfinder.



    Features
    *Covers both traditional in-camera composition and the new opportunities for picture-making made possible by digital imaging editing
    *Shows how to explore situations and locations in order to find the best possible photographic possibilities
    *Uses clear examples from real photographic assignments, with schematic illustrations of how and why the pictures work
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Volume on Design and Composition in Photography, June 14, 2007
    This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

    Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

    This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

    The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

    Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

    Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

    The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.

    5 May 2009, update. The number of reviews, number of responses to reviews, and other sources of information indicate that this book is a certifiable best-seller among photography books. The response to this book indicates that there is a large market for information about the structure of images and for effective writing on that difficult, intangible interplay between design and content, or of structure and expression/message.

    My hope is that Freeman and other capable author/photographers will publish books delving further into the composition problem. To date, the in-print situation is grim. This one, Mante's, and Hoffmann's books are about the only ones yet in English that deal with composing photographs at higher than the most elementary levels. Together these three books comprise quite a strong presentation at the intermediate level of image structure and of various approaches to imparting meaning and expression in one's images.

    There is more, though, that can be said. To date there is no thorough look at the role of similarity and proportion in causing a viewer's eye to move through an image. That is to say, which characteristics among, shape, size, tone, color, direction, etc., assume priority in one's eye in which combinations, and how does proportionality, or violations thereof, work?

    To date, this reviewer cannot find any published research that updates Alfred Yarbis's ground breaking insights into eye movement in images from the 1950s and 1960s. His work is quoted to this day as the definitive study in this field. His results seem to imply that many artists' assertions about the role of "leading lines" may be nothing but bunk.

    Do light tones and bright colors really appear to project toward a viewer and darks recede? A Russian scientist has a considerable argument that, in fact, darks are what appears to "project" and lights recede. His work is not available in English.

    Is the success or failure of an image still articulable only at the level of intangibles? At this point in the history of the arts and contributions from visual psychology and brain studies, one should be able to make specific assertions about structure and its role in the success or failure of carrying the artist's expression or meaning.

    Unfortunately, there are very few artists or photographers who also write who can focus clearly enough on these nitty-gritty issues to make statements that have actual meaning. An inordinate percentage of writing about the arts still reduces to hand waving and ranting: always has, always will, it seems.

    It is one of Freeman's gifts that he can write analytically and be a very successful, versatile artist. This book's success indicates that the demand is there for hard-hitting information on images. Three authors does not amount to much of a supply.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the Best Photo Design/Composition Book Available, November 3, 2007
    Let me start by saying that even though I write photo books for a living (including The NEW Joy of Digital Photography (Lark Photography Book) and Exposure Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent, I don't know Michael Freeman and have never communicated with him. That said, this is easily the best composition and design book that you'll find--and that goes for professionals as well as hobbyists. This is the first book, in fact, that I can recall that covers these topics with such depth and clarity of thought.

    Freeman has long been one of my favorite photo book writers and this book continues his long streak of great reads (his other recent book, The Complete Guide to Digital Photography is also worth owning).I sometimes laugh at how extremely British his writing is, but it's just amusing, not distracting.

    The main thing that I like about The Photographer's Eye is that Freeman approaches the subject from a very thoughtful perspective. While the book covers the basic elements (lines, shapes, dynamic tension, balance, etc.) he also talks at length about more emotionally-related issues: chiaroscuro and key, the search for order, reactive thought, etc. These are the concepts that more experienced photographers (and artists) find themselves confronting once they have a solid feel for design elements and construction.

    I often find myself wondering if design is more of a thoughtful process or an instinctive one--and I think it's a combination of the two. In reading this book, in fact, I can see better the value in taking an objective and analytical look a how great compositions are made and how we can take scenes that we react to instinctively and find quick and useful ways to turn them into dynamic photos. Very often when you find a great subject you don't have the luxury of time to decide how to construct the image to "get" what you see.

    That is the value of studying composition and image design: to prepare you to make fast decisions. If you are hiking in the deserts outside of Tucson, for example, and you come across a great potential silhouette of a saguaro cactus at sunset, you have only two or three minutes to organize the elments, choose the best viewpoint, the best lens and then make the exposure. It's tragic to spend day after day exploring for powerful images and then only come close.

    Freeman's book is crammed with an extraordinary number of great photos with a vast emotional and geographic diversity. These are world-class images, not just "how-to" examples and it's hard to imagine one photographer coming up with all of these great photos. As I said, I write and illustrate photo books myself and I am awed at times by Freeman's proflific work.

    If you're looking for a book on design, don't let $20 stand between you and all of this great knowledge and hundreds of fine examples (something I might say of my own book, as well!). Just buy the book--or ask you library to order it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Master-Class on Photographic Composition, June 8, 2008
    Freeman's journey through the the principles of photographic composition is eye-opening, eloquent, and beautifully published.

    This is not a book on the basics of taking "better photos," so those who seek information on exposure, cameras, lenses will not find it here. Nor is such shooting information for any photographs included. In a general book on photography, this would be a major defect, but here such information would only distract from the book's primary subject: the composition of a visual image.

    On the surface, photographic composition may seem to be a very subjective and idiosyncratic topic: you may like one thing, I may like something else. And if it's all subjective, merely a matter of personal preferences, tastes, and opinions, why bother writing a book about it? Most books on photography thread gently on this shaky, insecure ground, and their authors usually limit themselves to a few simple, predictable pointers: the rule of thirds, and golden section, with a particular emphasis on golden rectangle.

    But Freeman quite clearly believes that, although ultimately each photographer makes their own choice about what composition works best for their photograph, good choices are those that are deliberate (not accidental), and informed by being aware of ALL the possibilities that are available. The Photographer's Eye will give any intermediate or advanced photographer a better awareness and grasp of choices that are to be made.

    Freeman starts at the edge of the image (chapters about the frame) and moves inwards. Available formats, for example (4:3, 3:2, square, horizontal vs. vertical, etc.) are all carefully explored through numerous, and well-chosen examples. Unlike many books that show different images as examples of different formats, Freeman often selects one, single image and shows how its perception will change, depending on the selected format or compositional principle at play. In the chapters on framing I enjoyed particularly the sections focused on "going against the grain" or against the "natural direction" of an image, i.e., shooting typically "vertical" topics (e.g., a standing man) as horizontal frame, or the other way round (e.g., a sleeping man on a bench shot in a vertical format Freeman uses).

    Gradually, the author moves inwards, discussing the content of photographs in the context of forms (curves, lines, etc.) and compositional principles (e.g., symmetry, or a very complete discussion and listing of types of contrast). The closing chapters go totally "outside" of the single image, considering the impact of external framing and space around the photograph (e.g., matting), as well as multi-image compositions (such as book or magazine spreads).

    As some readers have correctly pointed out, some of the information has been published before in the author's own previous books, and in other sources; but here, all the observations have been systematically, and very elegantly brought together, in one comprehensive and complete volume.

    This book doesn't read easily, or fast. It forces the readers to engage both sides of their brain, since paying close attention to the images is as important here as carefully reading the words. But it is well worth the effort, and the reward, in addition to access to the authors' extensive knowledge, is a new, different way of seeing things which in themselves are not new. For me, this is the function, and definition, of a master-class, and this book certainly deserves to be called that.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good content, poor writing style, December 17, 2008
    This is a good book for someone looking for a guide to composition theory in photography. It covers a lot of ground and actually teaches you compositional principles, however it's also really hampered by the mediocre writing style. The language just isn't very concise/clear, and at times you are wishing the author would get to the point instead of writing 10 convoluted sentences, which essentially say one thing. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything else close to this book available, so if you want to learn composition and design, this is probably your best bet at the moment despite the writing style.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Must have book on understanding photographich comp, July 30, 2007
    Ok anytime you talk aboutPhotographic composition and rules for it, you get into a grey area since art is subjective by nature. What the author does here is show his photos and explain what composition techniques he used and why he thinks they work. The book is very comprehensive and offers numerous example. The print quality is excellent as it is in most Focal press book. If you want a book that explains photographic compositional theory and offers great examples to demonstrate the concepts, then this is the book you need.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better than a new camera, August 15, 2007
    You should NOT buy this book, because I want to dominate the Photographic Art world by myself! It is a straightforward treatment of compositional principles as they apply to Photography. The book was cheap, the knowledge priceless. It would be nice if there was a workbook along with it, though. I will have to reread this book several times because the book is thick with rich content. Ever read a book that had only one or two concepts to contribute? This guy covers a lot of ground - and he does it effectively.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mix of good writing and GREAT pictures - just what I needed, September 7, 2008
    I had been looking for a book on design for ages, since they tend to be expensive, I looked in second-hand book stores first, but it seems that all I found there was way too boring and tedious for me: starting with basic shapes only to build up to how to incorporate them into photography half way through the book at best. That could very well be the way to go for serious design/photography students, but I do not have time or interest in something that detailed and technical. I wanted a nice overview of the techniques that are available to a photographer, and not just a "follow the rule of thirds" kind of advice that you get from most online photography tips, but a more profound discussion on why the rule of thirds is even important, how it tends to affect the viewer, and when is it appropriate to break it.
    And this book provides exactly that - a brief but concise overview of the most prominent design theories, based on the research on the way we see/interpret things. I am definitely not a design expert after having read this book, but I know as much about it as I need/can afford to learn at this point, being an amateur with no ambition to go pro in the observable future.
    The illustrations in the book ARE extremely well-chosen and beautifully reproduced, which is not always the case in photography books, alas. They are a treat to look at.

    To address some of the critiques voices here in the respect to this book:
    1) No, it does not cover ISO, shutter speed and aperture, and you are better off buying the book by Peterson if that is what you need. I read Peterson first, about a year ago, and it felt right to read this book second, they are not in any way complementary, their focus is totally different, but combined, they provide you with a deeper understanding of what you do when you look through the viewfinder.
    2) I find the book very well written. It's concise, clear and well-illustrated and I even found it a pleasurable read. I would definitely not say it is hard to read, it is not the most fun and light-hearted thing you'll ever read, but it's not fiction, it is technical writing, so it will hardly come as a surprise to you. It is definitely among the least convoluted technical books I've ever read.
    3) As to "it adds nothing new to the matter"... Well, first of all, it IS a book that basically summarizes the last 100 years of research in the design and its perception, so it does not claim that it is ground-breaking and new!
    Second of all, this is a valid criticism only for those who already have dozens of photography books and are looking for more (but then again, if that is the case, why are you even looking into Freeman? he is clearly not geared towards a seasoned pro). If this is your first book on design, as it was for me, pretty much EVERYTHING in this book is going to be new for you to a degree (yeah, I've heard of the rule of thirds before, but never read a detailed overview of how it came about and why).

    5-0 out of 5 stars At last, a genuinely practical book on Photography., December 2, 2007
    I was led to this book via The Digital Photography School website and having bought many good photographic technique books, this is the first to explain why and what to do. It covers every aspect of the subject in a positively illuminating way. It doesn't just talk about the "Law of Thirds" it explains and shows why this rule helps your photography; it gives specific examples of everything it mentions and also what you can do about breaking the rules. It is highly readable, is not patronising, it is totally expanding. If you want to get the best results, get this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, A Book With Detail On The Visual Art Of Photography..., November 2, 2007
    I have attended school and read many books on visual arts and photography. This book by far was one of my favorites. Although this topic has been done so many times before, this book in particular tends to be reader friendly and interesting. The chapters are rich with text, yet not overly written as to create reading bordum. The photo examples are clear and very easy to understand. When I purchased this book I was looking for something different than the usual redundant photography jargon manuals. I found myself reading slower and completely concentrating on the detailed concepts Mr. Freeman writes about. This is not a book you read with a camera in your hand, instead this is a book to help you understand the visual concept of design and composition when dealing with an empty rectangle (or square} to your eye. This book is for anyone that knows their camera, yet wishes to know more about what the thought process is before pressing the shutter release.Beware! You will find yourself reading this book twice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate textbook on photography, August 8, 2007
    If I were to keep only one book on teaching photography, it is Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Eye" that I would choose. Nothing much has to be added to what he teaches in there, most of the other things are easier to learn than the art of composition. So this is the natural choice. Highly recommended! ... Read more


    14. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots
    by Laurens Valk
    Paperback
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1593272111
    Publisher: No Starch Press
    Sales Rank: 720
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Discover the many features of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book is the complete,illustrated, beginner's guide to MINDSTORMS that you've been lookingfor.

    The crystal clear instructions in the Discovery Book will showyou how to harness the capabilities of the NXT 2.0 set to build andprogram your own robots. Author and robotics instructor Laurens Valkwalks you through the set, showing you how to use its various pieces,and how to use the NXT software to program robots. Interactive tutorials make it easy for you to reach an advanced level of programming as youlearn to build robots that move, monitor sensors, and use advancedprogramming techniques like data wires and variables. You'll build eight increasingly sophisticated robots like the Strider (a six-leggedwalking creature), the CCC (a climbing vehicle), the Hybrid Brick Sorter (a robot that sorts by color and size), and the Snatcher (an autonomous robotic arm). Numerous building and programming challenges throughoutencourage you to think creatively and to apply what you've learned asyou develop the skills essential to creating your own robots.

    Requirements: One LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set (#8547)

    Features

    • A complete introduction to LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0
    • Building and programming instructions for eight innovative robots
    • 50 sample programs and 72 programming challenges (ranging from easyto hard) encourage you to explore newly learned programming techniques
    • 15 building challenges expand on the robot designs and help youdevelop ideas for new robots
    Who is this book for?

    This is a perfect introduction for those new to building and programming with the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The book also includes intriguing robot designs and useful programming tips for more seasoned MINDSTORMSbuilders.

    - ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Take the NXT Step, May 27, 2010
    I (a hardware/software developer and radio ham for some 30 years) bought LEGO Mindstorms for my now eight-year-old son last Christmas. Being a LEGO nut since he was old enough not to swallow the pieces, he's had great fun with Mindstorms since then.

    But after you've built the models detailed in the Mindstorms kit, where do you go next? The Mindstorms online help is pretty good, but tiresome to read on the screen, and not the best medium for a youngster. The Alpha Rex etc. are impressive but it's hard for a child to try to make his own models of a similar complexity on the basis of the models in the Mindstorms kit. There is a huge gap between copying ready-made models and learning to create real robots from scratch, and Laurens Valk's book fills that gap perfectly.

    As "the missing manual", this book thoroughly explains the NXT hardware and NXT-G software, in enough technical detail to satisfy a seasoned programmer like me, but without overloading someone who is completely new to the technology. That is no mean feat!

    The building instructions are of a similar quality to those provided in the all-too-slim Mindstorms manual, and my son was able to follow them and the programming instructions with only minimal guidance from me (usually because we hadn't yet read the accompanying text! :-)

    Now, there are several ways to approach this book. To get started quickly, you or your child genius can simply follow the detailed building and programming instructions to create any of the eight robots detailed in the book. My son had almost no trouble doing this: in fact, he first went after the more complex models like the Strider featured on the cover, followed by the very impressive Chimney Climber. If, like us, you're new to the LEGO Technic and Mindstorms systems, you'll be surprised how they can be made to do such remarkable things.

    The program instructions feature a simplified overview - essentially a flow diagram - that lets you follow the basic structure of the program and learn about loops, "if-then-else" blocks, etc. Your young robotics engineer can learn about the how-and-why of the programs, and gradually improvise to deepen his/her understanding of what the NXT controller is "thinking", and then devise clever ways to change it.

    Then there are the challenges, or "discoveries" to use Laurens' word: 87 of them in all. Once we have settled down to reading the book together start-to-finish (give us a chance, we've only had this book for a week!), the discoveries will provide many new paths to explore and consolidate our understanding of robotic systems.

    I would have expected to pay three times what Amazon is charging for this book, based on similar books aimed at software developers. At under $20, it is excellent value for money and an essential "NXT" step on any robot designer's path of discovery. Buy it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Are you ready for a journey of discovery?, May 10, 2010
    This book is the culmination of more than a year's work and it shows. It's broken up into 4 parts and will guide you through a journey of discovery. On your route to becoming a robotics master you will build no less than 8 different robots and learn about every aspect of NXT-G programming with the help of 50 sample programs. If that's not enough, you can test just how good you've become with any one of the 85 building and programming challenges.

    The building and programming instructions are really nice, clear and clean; it's not hard to tell the author has done this before. Learning to program and build with your new NXT 2.0 kit will be so much more fun with this book by your side. It will knock your socks off (don't worry, there's a robot in the book that can help you pick them up again).

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Tremendous NXT Teaching Accomplishment By A Young Roboticist, June 30, 2010
    From his infectious enthusiasm for the Mindstorms NXT System it might be easy to guess that Laurens Valk was introduced to Lego Robotics at age 13 just five short years ago. But, from the careful logical pedagogy of this book and his interesting approach mixing successively more advanced robots intermixed with a clearly arranged taxonomy of parts, programming tools and motor/drive train and sensor categorization, I would have imagined that this book was written by an excellent teacher with many years of experience bringing engineering concepts to youthful learners. Not only does the book offer a clear top-down beginning to end approach to both the NXT Parts Architecture and NXT-G Programming Language while combining this end-to-end approach with interesting projects of increasing difficulty, but he stimulates the reader with building and programming challenges to increase their skill at independent thought in robot building and programming. Just how far and how thoughtfully Laurens' teaching approach goes is indicated by by his unique system of flowcharting/state diagrams which both provides the logical decisions involved in programming this system with a graphical correspondence to the NXT-G Programming language.

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough as an aid to using the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robotics system, and bringing a
    new generation of roboticists and engineers to a deep and intuitive understanding these sciences. This handbook should be included in every Mindstorms NXT Set to insure that the recipient will learn, absorb and extend the concepts which this powerful educational system can teach.

    --Ira Laefsky
    MSE/MBA I.T. Consultant and Former Senior Staff Member Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the book I needed a year ago!, May 17, 2010
    My eight year old son was invited to go to an FLL demonstration last August, he loved it so I enquired about the nearest team for him to join. It turned out to be me and I ended up coaching not one but two of the 23 teams entered in New Zealand's first ever FLL tournament! I knew absolutely nothing about NXT so had a VERY steep learning curve. The Help on the NXT software is great - if you know what you are looking for. I struggled for 4 months to upskill myself enough to help the kids answer their questions. I must have been partially successful in that one of my teams won the NZ competition and qualified for Atlanta. Atlanta was awesome but only made me realise how little I know and how much more I have got to learn. My team is determined to get to St Louis next year and this marvellous book will help us on the way.
    This book doesn't assume you know anything about NXT but also takes you far beyond what my team needed to know to get to Atlanta. It is not just a beginner's guide.
    If you are totally new to NXT or self-taught like me then this is the book for you. I got it two days ago and have already read through it once. My 9 year old son is also reading it and keeps saying "Did you know....."
    A must have for anyone who is new to NXT or knows a bit and is wanting to move beyond basic programming.
    When is the next book coming out Laurens?

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best companion book to NXT 2.0 !, May 22, 2010
    My son (11) and I have just received the book, so this is a "first impressions" review. We went right ahead and built "The Snatcher" which is a beautiful robot and also teaches how to perform two actions with a one motor.

    Appearance: browsing through the book I was very pleased by its overall graphic quality, which is probably the best of all the NXT books we own. The graphics are grayscale, nevertheless they are outstanding, both in layout, scale and resolution. No more magnifying glass required to build the models! The resulting building instructions are very similar and follow the same conventions as real Lego building instructions. In fact, if they were published in color, I could not tell the difference from original Lego instructions, as they come in any Lego original set. The programming is explained block-by-block, also taking advantage of the print quality, as do the diagrams and of course the text.

    Content: I wished we had this book when we started building NXT robots with my son a couple of years ago. It starts from the very basic and progresses to the more advanced topics. It engages the reader to go beyond the instructions of the models with "discoveries". This is a great learning method.

    Conclusion: This book will greatly enhance the experience of any NXT 2.0 buyer. It goes way beyond the models that come "bundled" with the set. It will keep youngsters glued to the set, learning and having fun. I think any prospective NXT 2.0 set purchaser would do very well in purchasing the book together with the set. Or perhaps Lego should bundle the book with the set!

    When we build more models of the book, I will review it further.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Teaching Guide, June 20, 2010
    The Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Discovery Book by Laurens Valk is a beginner's guide to building and programming robots. It is the perfect handbook for anyone who owns the new Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set (Lego Set #8547), which is designed for ages 10 and up to enjoy learning about robotics and engineering while building an actual working robot. The book details step by step with excellent pictures and simple instructions just how to create many different robots from the kit. The kit, however, is just under $300, so it is not just a toy but a real classroom learning experience, which can be done with a group or at home. The author, who helps design NXT robots for Lego, is an instructor of robotics in the Netherlands. (The book and kit are in English.) The technical reviewer for the book is Dr. Damien Kee, who is an electrical engineer and robotics expert who has designed many forms of robots, including humanoids. He is editor in chief of the NXT classroom at [..] , a website that provides support and resources for teachers. The book excellent and clear, like having the teacher right on the table with you, for anyone who wants to learn robotics from this fun building kit.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction., May 17, 2010
    I am a 4-H Tech leader and have been involved with Lego Robotics RCX and NXT for some time. The book is a great getting started source or as help to fill in the blanks for the self taught. New and experienced members enjoy the book and want to start building as soon as they see it. The reference chart inside the front cover will save the novice builder many hours searching for the correct part.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Missing Manual to the NXT 2.0 Kit, June 24, 2010
    The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: a beginner's guide to building and programming robots! is the missing manual to the LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit. It is an excellent step-by-step guide to using the new kit. I has lot of diagrams and pictures which makes the book easy to use. So whether you are a novice or an experienced NXTer, you will find this book a wonderful resource guide to the LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit with some rather interesting new robot building ideas.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good for Beginner, May 16, 2010
    Someone has taught about this book when I was asking "Recommended MINDSTORMS book" for my 8years old MINDSTORMS beginner son at MINDSTORMS community web-site.
    Now he has spent 2days and is reading by page 120 by himself. He has created 2 robots following this book. He said "It is easy to read and understand". He is very happy so I am happy too. I recommend this book for kids or youth who wants to learn MINDSTORMS. I can hardly wait for publishing the next one from same author. Because it has been hard for me to find MINDSTORMS programming book for kids.
    Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great book, May 18, 2010
    I bought the 2.0 lego kit and two books for my son, age 10. I glanced at the other book a couple weeks ago and this one just arrived a couple days ago in the mail. When we opened his lego kit for his birthday, this was the closest book so I started with it. We read the first pages together and stopped for bed at the middle of constructing the first project. The introduction is enough to convince me the order and presentation are well thought out. The author is just 18 or 19 and started with lego mindstorms when he was 13. This book took a lot of planning and thought and being still a young adult, he has the time. This is not just a book of collections of robots and projects, but more like a workbook meant to be done in the order presented. Each new project introducing more complex programming. The other books may have that too, but this book has all the polish I need for now so I'll get to those when we're done with this. Nice work author. ... Read more


    15. Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3
    by Scott Kelby
    Paperback
    list price: $69.99 -- our price: $44.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0321678737
    Publisher: Peachpit Press
    Sales Rank: 672
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    This attractive boxed set includes:
    The Digital Photography Book (ISBN 0-321-47404-X)
    The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2 (ISBN 0-321-52476-4)
    The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3 (ISBN 0-321-61765-7)

    Scott Kelby, the man who changed the "digital darkroom" forever with his groundbreaking, #1 bestselling, award-winning book The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, shows which button to push, which setting to use, when to use them, and hundreds of the most closely guarded photographic "tricks of the trade" to get budding photographers shooting dramatically better-looking, sharper, more colorful, more professional-looking photos with their digital camera every time they press the shutter button.

    Scott tackles the most important side of digital photography--how to take pro-quality shots using the same tricks today's top digital pros use (and it's easier than you'd think). Each chapter is packed with plain English tips on using flash, shooting close up photography, travel photography, shooting people, and even how to build a studio from scratch, where he demystifies the process so anyone can start taking pro-quality portraits today! Plus, he's got full chapters on his most requested topics, including loads of tips for landscape photographers, wedding photographers, and there's an entire chapter devoted to sharing some of the pro's secrets for making your photos look more professional, no matter what you're shooting.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tips and tricks 'from a friend', October 28, 2009
    In the usual Scott Kelby style he write these books as a collection of pointers to a friend photographer. Every page in all three books are written with one pointer or tip on each page. As Scott writes in the prelude:

    "If you and I were out on a shoot, and you asked me, 'Hey, how do I get this flower to be in focus, but I want the background out of focus?' I wouldn't stand there and give you a lecture about aperture, exposure, and depth of field. In real life, I'd just say, 'Get out your telephoto lens, set your f/stop to f/2.8, focus on the flower, and fire away.' You would say, 'OK,' and you'd get the shot. That's what this book is all about. A book of you and I shooting, and I answer the questions, give you advice and share the secrets I've learned just like I would with a friend, without all the technical explanations and without all the techno-photo-speak."

    This being said, this also means that he doesn't dwell deeply within each tip or pointer explaining _why_ everything works as it does. This is for the reader to find out researching the topic further in other reference books.
    Surprisingly to me, this works very well! I thoroughly enjoyed reading these books and I would say that I have become a much better photographer reading through all the tips.

    Book one is quite general in topic, spanning from how to create really sharp photos to a description of wedding photography. This book is, according to me, a must have in every digital photographers bookshelf. This book is also clearly aimed at beginner photographers.

    Coming to book 2 and 3 they differ a bit, especially of how they are written. These books also have the 'pointer and tip' layout, but more detailed information can be found here. Book 2 for example describe thoroughly which gear to use when using flash and how to set up your mini-studio and book three goes even further on how to shoot specific subjects.

    This box set offer any digital photographer a helicopter view of how to use your digital camera in the best way to get 'professional' photos. Primarily these books - as all Scott Kelby books - offer small insights of what to think about when shooting digital photos. Kelby also does this with a huge amount of humor, making all his books a joy to read.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good info for DSLR Beginners, October 21, 2009
    These books are aimed a novice DSLR users. If you've done much photography or read up on the subject, you won't find much real new material in here. Fortunately, Scott Kelby avoids the traps of getting bogged down in the operational specifics of the equipment he is discussing (this is not a rehash of the Owners Guide). The books are to the point, light hearted and fun (with lots of the usual Kelby humor).

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners, December 14, 2009
    These books are great for beginners who've usually invested in fancy camera gear and would now like to know - how does this damn thing work? And why don't my pics (weddings, babies, landscapes, flowers) look anything like the pros? Well, Kelby provides quick cook recipes for a host of usually occurring subjects and topics and enough info to get better than average shots. Enough to please you and your subject without getting into the tech details. And that's great for starters and for most people ...

    2-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version Difficult to Use, December 11, 2010
    This review is specific to the Kindle version of the box set. These are great books. So good, in fact that I bought the Kindle version for my iPad even though I already own a set of print edition. I intend to use this as a reference while traveling with my camera.

    Despite my enthusiasm for the content, the Kindle edition set is very difficult to use. All three books are delivered as a single file, but the table of contents pulled up by the menu only refers to book one. To find the contents of book 2 & 3, one must search or manually scan the pages. This issue renders the Kindle book very difficult to use as a reference.

    Updated: Amazon informs me that the only option is to contact the publisher or take a refund. With regret, I have accepted a refund and will continue to use the print edition. I cannot recommend that you buy the kindle edition of this set.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great set of books, November 24, 2009
    I purchased this set after reading the previous reviews for it. I must say that this set is amazing. I've only read the first book and about half of the second book and the results are incredible. I've used this book as it should be, a reference. It is nothing more and nothing less. If you want to know how to set you camera up to shoot a sunset, then it tells you. It explains a little bit about the different settings such as aperature, shutter speeds, etc. But it doesn't get too deep. Just enough for you to understand what is being explained. I recommend this book to anyone that is ready to take the next step in digital photography.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't wait...it's a definite keeper!, May 13, 2010
    For the longest time, I kept this book series in the back of my mind and continued to look at other titles. However, none of the other books had the ease of use, practicality, and tips that Scott Kelby provides in "Digital Photography"! After several months, I finally broke down and bought it. If I had purchased them at the beginning, I would have saved myself the time and effort of trying to find something better than Scott Kelby's series. To others out there that are procrastinating: "Get it while you are first thinking of it. That way when just about any "shoot" (expected or unexpected) arises, you won't be lacking at the moment of truth!"

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you can get past his DRY humor, the books are perfect., March 30, 2010
    I've had a camera in my hands since I was 5. And there are many tricks I've picked up along the way to make my photos all the more enjoyable. I decided to get really serious about photography during the film to digital crossover. But there wasn't enough information to help that could get through to me. Having dyslexia makes learning through text virtually unbearable. All too often, I have to have someone read it to me. And then a couple months ago, I came across Vol. 2 of this collection at the local library. I flipped at the structure Kelby put his lessons into...

    Each page is a different lesson. Each lesson includes a photo. And it's all great information--much of which I could apply immediately--written as a conversation he'd be having with me while out on a shoot. Knowing all the technical jargon isn't as important as getting the shot. And with his instruction, I FINALLY understand what my owner's manual and all those magazine articles have been trying to explain!

    Kelby found a way to teach with hands on learning right out of a book. And when it comes to learning how to take great pictures, it's really the only way to go. After making it halfway through Vol. 2, I hopped on Amazon and bought the 3 volume set so I could start from the beginning. And lemme tell ya, my photos have never been better! Applying what I'm learning to photos I share with my friends just shot me into semi-pro status. Once I can financial tackle the suggestions he's made, going Pro doesn't sound so daunting anymore.

    I recommend this to every person I know with a DSLR camera; whether they're hobbyists, semi-pro or pro. This collection should be in every digital photographer's home.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Straight forward...very helpful, November 24, 2009
    This set of books is very helpful and to the point. Scott's humor is tolerable and actually quite humorous at times. But the main thing is there is a lot to be learned from these books for people who are less than Pro's. They can write their own books! My opinion is that it is a must read for anyone with an interest in photography who is looking for a guide for "how to do it and with what".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous photography books! Fun AND informative!, September 8, 2010
    There are so many photography books out there that it can be a daunting task to choose one. This set by Scott Kelby greatly exceeded my expectations. The content ranges from beginner to what I would call advanced/intermediate. I've been an DSLR user for almost 2 years, but was new to any photography terms/skills beyond point and shoot cameras. These books are set up to offer a variety of topics in small chunks. Each specific subject is on 1-2 page - Easy to read a little bit at a time. I always have one of these books with me to read at appointments or when waiting on kids in carpool lines. I can't emphasize enough that these books are both a valuable resource and a pleasure to read. My husband probably thinks I'm crazy when he sees me laughing out loud, holding a book on Digital Photography. Kelby's skill combined with a good dose of humor makes these books great. Hobbies like photography have so many technical aspects that, if taken too seriously, can be overwhelming to the kinds of people who actually need to read a photography book. I have learned a lot from this series. I would suggest reading them with page markers in hand to mark the pages you want to remember and reference later. My set has colored flags sticking up all over them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Digital Photography Guide for ANYONE, September 3, 2010
    I purchased the three book set of Digital Photography by Scott Kelby. Book 1 is written in plain language, without a lot of technical terms that make you feel like a dummy. He explains how to get most any kind of shot you want, with helpful hints to guide you along. The other books are a bit more complicated, but I am able to understand and love all his advice. ... Read more


    16. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)
    by Scott Kelby
    Paperback
    list price: $49.99 -- our price: $31.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0321700910
    Publisher: New Riders Press
    Sales Rank: 737
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Since Lightroom first launched, Scott Kelby's The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers has been the world's #1 best-selling Lightroom book. In this latest version for Lightroom 3, Scott uses his same step-by-step, plain-English style and layout to make learning Lightroom easy and fun. Scott doesn't just show you which sliders do what. Instead, by using the following three simple, yet brilliant, techniques that make it just an incredible learning tool, this book shows you how to create your own photography workflow using Lightroom:

    1) Scott shares his own personal settings and studio-tested techniques. He trains thousands of Lightroom users at his "Lightroom Live!" tour and knows first hand what really works and what doesn't.

    2) The entire book is laid out in a real workflow order with everything step by step, so you can begin using Lightroom like a pro from the start.

    3) What really sets this book apart are the last two chapters. This is where Scott dramatically answers his #1 most-asked Lightroom question, which is: "Exactly what order am I supposed to do things in, and where does Photoshop fit in?" Plus, this is the first version of the book that includes his famous "7-Point System for Lightroom," which lets you focus on mastering just the seven most important editing techniques.

    The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers is the first and only book to bring the whole process together in such a clear, concise, and visual way.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cleverly painless and copiously illustrated introduction to LR3 and workflow basics, July 10, 2010
    About as complete, smoothly-paced and effortless an introduction to LR3's rather daunting interface as this oldtimer has come across. Continues its predecessor's (LR2) step-wise breezy familiarization with the Lighroom 3 interface to shape a basic - but perfectly sufficient - workflow for busy digital photographers. Easily followed step by step full color screenshots, printed on top quality glossy paper, speed the reader towards a solid grasp of the essentials; helpful tips are provided once you have the basics under your belt. The tutorial is equally helpful to the (nearly identical) Windows and Mac versions of LR3; where the two diverge (as in the file system), unique Windows and Mac screen presentations are treated separately with OS-specific screenshots. Not the least, the focused "Seven Point System" concentrates your time and effort on Lightroom's must-know photo editing strategies, without wandering too far afield.

    This book is a Godsend for new users -- less so for intermediate skill level users seeking answers for optimizing speed, when to use 32-bit or 64-bit mode, unraveling buried settings, or troubleshooting performance issues and program malfunctions.


    In Short: Expertly paced, easy to follow and richly illustrated starter tutorial for Lightroom 3 -- a bumpless ride for newcomers. Upgraders might find it too basic for troubleshooting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a must have book, especially for new or moderate skill users of LR, July 23, 2010
    I buy a lot of tech books but after purchasing this one 3 things really stood out to me, having bought his previous 2 books on same topic:

    1) the extensive helps in the back - particularly the framing example and "collag-ing" layouts will be very helpful to people.
    2) the generous section on full work process - shooting to prints.
    3) Among the best in this book though is on pages IV and V - because software always becomes obsolete, but gratitude stirs the soul. You get a feel for the writers desire to be helpful and not just drop facts - it's written in a running narrative form as he leads you through good processes and organizational strategy.

    If you have or are considering purchasing LR 3, this book will save you extensive searching and frustration in self discovering all the nuances with features and their intent. A new user could sit with this book and walk themselves through a complete work-flow - beginning to end and experience all the major functionality of the tool.

    Kelby is a readable, entertaining writer, clear and concise but the real value is that he is a working photographer/graphics professional who knows how to do exceptional work efficiently - and that approach saves everyone, including the serious hobbyist whose time may be limited just as much as the working pro.

    The money spent on this book will be recouped within a couple of hours use of the tool. A must buy book for beginner or current user - there are that many tips and techniques in it. I found something new about LR3 at least every other page and I've been using the tool for a couple of years (versions 1 and 2). Glad I spent the money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Round 3, July 26, 2010
    Don't blame Scott Kelby if his Lightroom ("LR") instruction books keep getting larger. Blame Adobe for adding more and more capabilities to this piece of software. But at least the software hasn't yet become "bloatware". And the new capabilities really do add something to the digital photographer's ability to more easily create art. Unfortunately, the on-line help only works when you already have some idea of the function for which you are looking, so it's not useful for learning LR.

    "The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 book for digital photographers" more or less follows the same format as earlier versions. There are chapters on importing images; using the library module to organize images and customize what you see; editing your images with both global and local adjustments; fixing common problems; exporting the images from LR; moving them into Photoshop; editing black and white images; creating slideshows; printing; creating web galleries; and a case study on portrait workflow. New is Kelby's 7 point system for LR, and gone is the case study on travel photography. Pages usually start out with a definition of the task, like "Creating and Using Multiple Catalogs" with step-by step instructions down the outside of the page and screen captures of the related LR window closest to the fold. (Sometimes the screen saves are unavoidably small for people with poor vision, so you might want to keep a magnifying glass handy for detailed examination.) At the end of each chapter are a number of quick tips that will help the user squeeze the most from LR's capabilities. One other change is a further reduction in Kelby's sophomoric humor which some readers will probably find a relief.

    The instructions are easy to follow and are ideal for someone just learning LR. The more experienced user, reading page by page, is bound to get bored reading about techniques that haven't changed. It would have been convenient if a page, listing the instructions for new features only, had been included for those folks. Better yet, since LR has become a mature piece of software with many users, it might be time for the publisher to put out something like the old "Up to Speed" books that only showed the changes in Photoshop. (Given that there is no "Up to Speed" book for Photoshop CS5, this kind of help doesn't appear to be in the cards. The publisher will certainly lose part of the business to on-line videos.)

    LR now offers so many capabilities that it is not a surprise to see that some are not even mentioned, like the ability to prepare an entire keyword list in a word processor and import it (although to be fair, the inference of this possibility can be derived from the material).

    One should also note that that although the use of all of the sliders and buttons is well explained, there is little that talks about how to apply the capabilities to create more artful images. For that, I recommend another book from the same publisher, "Vision & Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Voices That Matter)" by David duChemin.

    This is an excellent book to learn LR and to keep next to your computer as a reference.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginner and intermediate LR3 users, July 25, 2010
    I like the organization, layout and illustrations in Scott Kelby's book. He leads you step-by-step, with illustrations next to each step, through all the major functions of Lightroom 3. I've been able to validate all but one of his activities but that's due to a bug in the new Lightroom 3. Chapter 1 of the book covers "Importing Photos in Lightroom." When following his procedures, which are the same as shown in the Lightroom help menu, the application freezes and no importing takes place. I researched the Adobe Forums and found a thread that started in Jan 2006, which tells me this problem has been going on for some time and Adobe released version 3 knowing it was not fixed. It is apparently caused by the XP and Vista "/3GB option," which has to be removed for the Lightroom 3 import to work correctly. Based on the specifications provided by Adobe my Dell Studio duo CPU 64-bit should have worked OK.

    Scott does an excellent job of covering workflows as well. One chapter I really liked was Chapter 6, "Problem Photos - fixing common problems." I have a lot of landscape photos with backlight problems and without Lightroom it would take a lot of photo-editing to bring out the shaded foreground. He shows how to do this in four easy steps.

    And at the end of the book he provides three examples of how he uses his "7-point system" to illustrate how to get the most out of Lightroom every time. He provides three projects to illustrate his 7-point.

    There may be some advanced functions in Lightroom 3 not covered in this book, but for the beginner and intermediate user who does not use Lightroom with Photoshop or CS5, this book works fine.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good reference book, don't like his workflow, September 18, 2010
    I am making the rather painful transition from Adobe Camera Raw(ACR) and Bridge to Lightroom(LR). Yes, all the functionality of ACR is still present, but everything is presented in a distressingly different manner. I studied ACR intensely and have used it probably to a fault, not taking things into Photoshop until absolutely the last minute possible.

    This book will help you find all those controls and features. He will even tell you how to rename the files so they include the date, which frustratingly LR does not do automatically.

    There are very helpful points like a detailed explanation of how long it takes to download 14 Raw images at various previews:
    Embedded & Sidecar: 19 seconds
    Minimal: 21 seconds
    Standard: minute, 15 seconds
    1:1; 2 minutes, 14 seconds

    But then there's the workflow, which I don't like. He uses a simplistic pick or reject method of evaluating, and tells you to delete all your rejects. Yikes, with today's inexpensive storage, that really isn't necessary. He doesn't like the star rating system at all. I was taught to use the star system in the old fashioned way the way you would dot negatives in the darkroom. The first round through you select everything you like and give it one dot, or star. The second time you are more selective, and give a second star. I rarely make it as far as five stars, usually three is all in need for the excellent photos to bubble to the top. But the advantage of this method is I have photos to pick from for head swaps, and sometimes I just need to dig deeper into my pile for a photo. If I delete everything but the perfect photos, I'm stuck. Granted he keeps a backup of everything, but I just don't see the need to be throwing things away, or being so black and white.

    He also uses this complicated organizational system using collections. I don't see how that is any improvement over organizing by date or event. I heard several speakers at Photoshop World in Las Vegas who say they set up a separate catalog per event, and keep the catalog in the same file/directory as the photos. LR slows down at about 40,000 photos, and if a wedding photographers shoots 4,000 images in a weekend, it doesn't take long to clog LR up.

    All of that being said, it is a great reference book to find what you need to know, especially if you are switching from ACR, because you probably already have the skill set, now you just have to get back to doing it without thinking. I just don't like his sometimes simplistic, sometimes too complicated workflow. But maybe you already have that part figured out!

    5-0 out of 5 stars As expected--the best, August 6, 2010
    I don't know what it is about Scott's style, but the book seems like an easy / quick read, but manages to convey a huge amount of information. I have the two previous versions, and Scott has managed to improve an already great product, especially with the collections of killer tips. I learned on the 2nd version to read the book from cover to cover, even though I'm an experienced Lightroom user: there are shortcuts, tricks and workflow ideas embedded throughout the book.

    Scott takes a highly technical subject that could be mind-numbingly presented and makes it a fun read with plenty of ah-ha moments, and in a single book that works for beginners and experienced users. The format is to take example photos and use the processing of those to cover specific Lightroom functions. The photos Scott uses are available on his website so you can follow along, and he does some amazing things with the photos--my favorite being his manual processing of a black and white photo conversion compared to Lightroom's auto convert function. Awesome difference, and he explains why the differences improve the photo.

    Bonuses include the chapter intros that read like Chuck Lorre end credits, a cool gray card at the end of the book, and lots of settings for imports, print layouts, etc. that can be used to jumpstart your own custom settings.

    If you've invested in Lightroom, pony up the $30 or so for this book--it'll pay for itself in productivity improvements.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, Thorough, Informative--But Get to the Point!, September 5, 2010
    Author Scott Kelby, an accomplished commercial photographer and renowned PhotoShop expert & lecturer, is extremely well versed in virtually every aspect of Lightroom 3. So this book is a great source of information about how to best use this latest version of Lightroom. But sometimes as I'm trying to find the answer to a question, I want to scream, "Stop with the jokes and entertaining stories Scott, and get to the point"!

    Scott's presentation style is friendly, breezy and unique. This helps separate Scott and his book from so many other "how to" manuals. But, there are times I wish he's cut to the chase with an outline or bullet points to explain how to get LR3 to do what you want it to do!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Resource, September 20, 2010
    What I like most about Scott Kelby is his ability to structure his books around how the reader uses the software product, rather than than simply documenting the technical aspect of each product feature. He also chooses to write his books in the order of how the reader is most likely to use it. So, one can simply start reading and begin applying new knowledge. He also establishes a great rapport with the reader, speaking in a common voice, and not a technical one. In these respects this Kelby book is no different than previous ones.

    In several ways, he has improved his technique. In previous books, he might spend a lot of time, rambling on about some unrelated subject, because I think he likes to write almost as much as he loves photography. Fortunately, he has resisticted this process to the first page of each chapter only. I enjoy his ramblings, as long as he gets down to work after a short break. He also takes a few sentences at the beginning of each section to explain the purpose and use of the particular section. His book covers a lot of territory, and after a few weeks of reading, I am just beginning to learn how much there is to Lightroom 3. In general, I think each new writing, is a modest incremental improvement over the previous book. So at this point Lightroom3 for digital photographers is pretty flawless.

    One of the few gripes I have about this book is "Step" approach to basic functions. Firstly not all "steps" are an actual step. In some cases, he simply reinforces or adds more information on the previous step. More imporantly, the Step approach does not lend itself to a quick reference tool. As a user, I find I can follow along and do the process once with the book. The next time, I might remember most of the steps, but need to review others. Unfortunately, I pretty much have to reread the entire section, to find the mini-steps I am missing. I have started to highlight the key points in each step as well as create a label for each step in the margins to help make referencing easier. I think the editor could have done the same thing, to make it less work for the reader. I like the screenshot references, but the detail is pretty small, and difficult to read when needed.

    In general, I think that when Scott Kelby first hit the market, he was a bit of a maverick. With this book, he is becoming the standard which his competitors seek to emulate. This book is not perfect, and there is still plenty of room for improvement, but he more than succeeds at making a difficult and technical subject, palatable even enjoyable for the average joe.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Guide, September 22, 2010
    Never mind the jokes. They are deadly serious, part of the "personal" marketing approach that sells Kelby's books. They have little to do with humor. Even when they are not working, they are diverting from the daunting nature of the task of mastering LR and give the impression that Kelby is a regular guy and if he can be good at it so can you. Aside from the psychology of its approach, the book is worth every penny for its competent and clear step by step demonstration of how to get the most out of your shots. If you want to understand LR and its ramifications for managing and developing photos, get Martin Evening. He writes in detail and at great length about its features, like an expert geologist describing a landscape. An amazing reference. If you want to get to the summit taking concrete routes, Scott Kelby is your man. Fully illustrated. Quirky by design, but none are better.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book at an excellent Price, July 30, 2010
    Clearly the author has listened to what users of Lightroom want to know and has set out this book in a clear and detailed way.
    If you are new to Lightroom or have limited knowledge in it's use then this book is a must.
    Another must is to purchase it through Amazon as the discount (plus free P&P) makes it an excellent bargain.
    A disk is not supplied with the book but there are links to the website if you wish to download some of the photographs to use with any of the adjustments described in the book. ... Read more


    17. WWE Encyclopedia
    by Brian Shields and Kevin Sullivan
    Hardcover
    list price: $45.00 -- our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 075664190X
    Publisher: Brady Games
    Sales Rank: 920
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    As a unique, one-volume encyclopedia with over 350 pages, nearly 1,000 Superstars, and more than 1,500 images, this is the book for all WWE fans! Featuring hundreds of Superstars of all eras, from the World Wrestling Federation of the 60s and 70s to today's WWE, this thrilling, one-of-a-kind reference guide contains a visual glossary of all wrestling moves and provides coverage of the television shows that put the WWE into millions of households. From the Hardcore Champion to the World Heavyweight title holder, from the WWE's showcase events to the Pay-per-views, from Survivor Series to the grand spectacle of WrestleMania this encyclopedia covers it all. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must own for wrestling fans, March 21, 2009
    Often times while I'm watching an old wrestling match (or browsing some wrestling website) I end up looking an old wrestler up on Wikipedia in hopes of finding out more about him (or her). The WWE is, apparently, hoping to capitalize with marks like me with the WWE Encyclopedia. As the name implies, this book is an encyclopedia to all things (well most things) that have occurred in the vast history of the WWE - wrestlers, TV shows, PPV's, title histories, etc.

    The book is written in kayfabe (pretends that wrestling and the personalities are "real"), so you are not going to get any inside information as far as behind the scene stuff goes. To me, that's perfect - but be forewarned though if you are looking for serious information on the people who played these characters you are going to be disappointed. For example, the encyclopedia has a separate entry for Kane and Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS with no mention one person played both roles (Glenn Jacobs). This is because in the WWE canon they are two separate people (one a crazy guy who is the Undertaker's brother and the other was an evil dentist - classic stuff) that just happened to played by the same person. Hence, the two different entries. I could see how this will be annoying for some people though who might want to know what the "real names" of these wrestlers are or some information about their real life pasts.

    Really the only drawbacks (besides the potential problem for some that the book is written in total kayfabe) are the omissions or errors. I haven't searched every single page to find these issues (a few other reviews discuss them), but they appear to be very small in number when one stops to consider the thousands of different wrestling gimmicks that have shown up over the years. I certainly wouldn't let it stop me from purchasing the book because TL Hopper isn't profiled (there are always going to be errors in this sort of undertaking).

    Overall, a great purchase for wrestling fans of all ages who want to either learn or fondly remember the fun and goofy past of the WWE.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Chock Full of Interesting Info and Fun Trivia, April 3, 2009
    The "WWE Encyclopedia" is a fantastic reference for wrestling fans. There is so much info packed into this book you will spend hours upon hours reading through the various items presented. You get a thorough history of each and every title in WWE's history, from the Heavyweight Titles, down to the Intercontinental Title and Tag Team Titles to things like the Hardcore Title and European Champ titles as well. You also get the history of WCW and ECW titles too.

    You get the history of every Pay Per View the WWE has presented over the years, as well as look at ALL of WWE's TV programming through the years. Of coures the real reason to purchase the Encyclopedia is the indepth SuperStar Profiles. Of couse you get the profiles of guys like "Hulk Hogan", "Stone Cold Steve Austin" and "The Rock", but you also get profiles on everyone from "Doink the Clown" to "The Brooklyn Brawler" and "Haku". No one is left out of this reference, even "Chris Benoit" gets a profile, which surprised me as he's been purged from most other WWE projects. It was nice to see profiles on the older wrestlers as well, guys like Bruno Sammartino, and Black Jack Mulligan get a nice profile, and credit for helping shape wrestling during the early years.
    The book is laid out in alphabetical order, so if you want to take a quick glance at say the "Backlash" pay per view history, it's easy to locate. One thing to note, which is a little odd, that the wrestlers are alphabetized by their first names, which means if you are looking for Bobby Heenan for example you would turn to the "B" section, not "H". Another nice addition, is that the various tag teams have both a team entry as well as an individual entry in this reference. So if you were a fan of US Express say, they will have a profile on the team itself, but you will also have individual profiles for both Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo.

    The photographs of some of my favorite childhood superstars really brought back some great memories as well. It's obvious WWE spent a TON of time and money on this book, and I can honestly say it's one of the best WWE produced products in a long time. If you were a fan of WWF's Hulkamania era, or the Attitude era there is plenty of interesting info in here for you. Even if you aren't a fan of the current product being put on tv today, you will still enjoy this book. Highly recommended for both casual and hardcore fans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The COMPLETE History Of The WWF/WWE, March 14, 2009
    Being a true WWF/WWE fan for many years this WWE Encyclopedia was a no-brainer for me. After looking through this LARGE book I have to say the WWE really went all out for this book. They left NOTHING out of this book, yes even Chris Benoit is included in this book along with ALL the titles he obtained before he died. I honestly could not find any wrestlers who were excluded from this book, from the top stars to mid-card stars and they even included the jobbers! There is no doubt in my mind, this is an absolute MUST for any WWF/WWE fan!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Wrestling book ever but..., March 14, 2009
    This book is the best thing released by the WWE EVER !!!!!!
    This is the best book around, so more infos !
    Over 1000 superstars with photos and bios !!!!
    even guys like : Battle Kat, Phantasio, Big Steel Man, Al Perez ...
    all are listed !!!
    All tv Shows/PPV
    All differents stipulation for matches
    All the belts (timeline)

    even 2 pictures of Missy's Manor !!!!
    2 pictures of the MYSTERY MAN (Furface) fighting Rick Martel
    The Bio of Chris Benoit is included !!!

    The best book around

    unfortunately some wrestlers are missing but it's a really short lists:
    from memory :

    Sean Ohaire
    Mordecai (Kevin Thorn is in but not this gimmick)
    Rico (mentionned but no pic or bio)
    Nathan Jones
    Ernest Miller
    Velvet Mcintyre
    furnas/Lafond
    Max Mini
    tenessee Lee
    Matt Morgan
    ultimo dragon
    kanyon
    sakota
    kizarny
    Rodney Mack
    Tiger Ali Singh (is showed in a pic, mentionned at 2 times, but no bio)
    Daniel Puder
    Spike Huber
    Chris Walker
    Kazarian
    ...

    3-0 out of 5 stars WWE Encyclopedia, May 13, 2009
    I don't have anything much to say about this. This book is pretty good because it has all superstars and divas, but I found more match types on Wikipedia than in this book. I would buy it for the wrestlers and divas, but not for the matches.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Ehhh..., April 20, 2009
    It's ok I guess... just more WWE propaganda. To be honest it was just an impulse buy leading up to wrestlemania. It seems to be relatively thorough... but the way that the WWE roster changes they are going to have to update it from time to time. It was good to see some of the old stars that are wrestling for other companies now still in the book.

    If you are a must have WWE fanatic get it... I don't think it will be a collectors item or anything. They could have gone way deeper into the wrestling universe. It'd be a cool book to get autographed if you are ever at an event.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not great at all., May 15, 2009
    Reading this book I kind of marked out as a fan of WWE/WWF ever since the mid 1980's. However as I got into it and thought about a LOT of the entries it bothered me. The book being written "Kayfabe" is fine, it is a bit annoying seeing almost all the wrestling biographies have not been in this style, so having to look at a persons 15 gimmicks separately is a bit off putting.

    My biggest problem with this book, besides the typo's as well as wrong footnotes which are not as bad as they could be, is the omissions of MANY people who wrestled for years with the company, including Brian Christopher, who is mentioned with his tag team, but his partners both get entries in the book. Also the lack of death information on MANY of the wrestlers. I am not saying you need to say Dino Bravo was murdered, but it would be nice to see that they stated he was dead. It seems according to this, Dino, as well as people such as Sapphire, and Kerry Von Erich would still be alive.

    Is this a good beginning, probably, but with it's misdirections as well as most of it being written in "Kayfabe" are huge drawbacks.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Overall With Just A Few Issues..., April 6, 2009
    I got the Encyclopedia last week and overall I was rather impressed with it. There were however some things that irked me. I'll list the major things.

    The book is written mostly in kayfabe which means it pretends that people who wrestled under different identities were actually different people...such as Tony Atlas/Saba Simba, Iron Sheik/Col. Mustafa, Sultan/Fatu, and so on and so forth.

    They are inconsistent with listing tag teams/stables/ factions. For some they list the group and also list separate profiles for each member, and for others they just lump everyone in the group profile and in some cases don't even mention the members by name. For example Owen Hart and Yokozuna each have separate profiles, then are grouped in another profile for the tag team Owen Hart and Yokozuna. Savio Vega has his own profile and is also featured in the Los Boricuas profile, but the other three members are not named, nor do they have their own profiles.

    Since the WWE owns the rights to WCW, ECW, AWA, WCCW and others and they are inducting people into the WWE Hall of Fame from said promotions, I would have liked to see profiles on the wrestlers and personalities from those promotions included as well.

    The title histories have some printing errors. In several instances the same title change is listed twice in a row. For instance the July, 09, 1986 entry where Fabulous Moolah won the title from Velvet McIntyre is repeated immediately below it.

    Antonino Rocca's profile though labeled as "Antonino Rocca", is listed alphabetically by his nickname "Argentina". Gangrel is listed by real name Dave Heath, but his profile appears in the G section.

    There is also a giant error where wrestling plumber T. L. Hopper (Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony of Smokey Mountain fame) is misnamed as PJ Walker. The real PJ Walker became Aldo Montoya then moved on to ECW where he became Justin Credible. Ironically, in the photo for this entry Hopper is fighting Aldo Montoya.


    I've been able to think of a few WWE wrestlers/personalities that aren't listed at all in the Encyclopedia. Frankie Kazarian, Tiger Ali Singh, Nathan Jones, Amy Weber, Public Enemy, Sean O'Haire, Mordecai, Rico, Ernest Miller, Chris Walker, Ultimo Dragon, Rodney Mack, Daniel Puder, Kanyon, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafond, PG 13, Velvet McEntyre, Sakoda from the tag team Akio and Sakoda, Max Mini, Matt Morgan, Tony Schiavone, Kizarny, Sean Mooney, and Todd Pettingill to name a few.

    Aside from these issues, the Encyclopedia is surprisingly detailed and informative and is well worth the purchase price in my opinion.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Very vague for true wrestling fans, August 7, 2009
    I was excited to get this book until I opened it and saw that it was very vague and poorly organized. A lot of the information is repetitive, ie, if a wrestler had both a solo and tag team career they give the same info twice. For example Davey Boy Smith had a singles career and was tag team champ with Dynamite Kid; his info is given twice in two different parts of book, almost identically. This is done with every wrestler who had even a short -lived tag team partner, ie, DOn Muraco and Bob Orton who were only a team for a couple of months.
    Another frustrating part is that many wrestlers portrayed different characters. Instead of listing them all in one single listing they list them as separate wrestlers ie, The Masked Superstar and Ax from Demolition were both portrayed by the same Bill Eadie (any real wrestling fan knows this) yet he has two seperate entries for the characters he played. It would be nice if they gave the person's real name as well as his alias'.
    Another problem is many of the wrestler's have passed away. They don't have birth dates, death dates or cause of death, and in some instances they don't even mention a wrestler is dead. it just says they will be remembered as a great competitor or something to that effect.
    Overall, it seems like this book was rushed together with out much research. Most of this info is vague and not very intriguing for a wrestling fan looking for something new.
    I give this book a grade of D.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!, April 7, 2009
    A must own book for WWE fans of all ages.Great Pictures,Loads of Detail.Buy It now,you will not regret it. ... Read more


    18. Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Masters
    by Michael Frye
    Paperback
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $12.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0240812433
    Publisher: Focal Press
    Sales Rank: 707
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was a pioneer of landscape photography, whose imagery-especially his iconic views of the American National Parks--is widely published and instantly recognizable. While he is undoubtedly one of the best-loved and best-known visionaries of American art, photographers also recognize him as a pioneer of technique, a theoretician, and as one of the great teachers of the craft of photography.

    His zone system has been widely adapted, but Adams unique imagery also relied on his determination and application at every stage of the photographic process; he spent years in his darkroom, as well as out in the open air. For decades, this kind of attention to detail required the kind of equipment, time, and facilities that were out of the reach of most photographers--but now, in the digital age, technology has finally made his techniques accessible.

    This book will show you what can be learned from Adams working process, and how these lessons can be applied today. The craft of Adams photography is discussed, and the ZONE SYSTEM is related to the digital age. Sections on light, composition, mood, and the darkroom all show what can be achieved today using and understanding his thinking. Michael Frye's own photography provides many stunning examples of the results that can be achieved and, as one of Adams' natural successors in the field, he is well placed to analyze the inspirational shots which open each chapter.

    * Demystifies the art behind the iconic shots* Contains a number of breathtaking works by Ansel Adams and other landscape masters such as Edward Weston and Elliot Porter * Written by one of the most reputable fine landscape photographers, who (like Ansel Adams) uses Yosemite National Park most frequently as his subject* Breaks the zone systems (famous to Adams) down in a way that digital photographers can use

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lessons from the Masters, January 31, 2010
    Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Eliot Porter were amongst the greatest landscape photographers of the twentieth century. Unlike many of today's photographers, they used film. The book "In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters: Digital Landscape Photography" tries to translate their techniques into the language of modern digital photography.

    The first part of the book, called "Technical Foundations" deals with the basic techniques of digital photography with emphasis on how those techniques might be applied to landscape photography. Experienced users may find little new here, although the explanation of the zone system may introduce people who have mastered the histogram to another method of calculating exposure. At the same time, the explanations of the fundamentals may prove much too pithy for beginners. Perhaps the section will most help those already familiar with the basics to understand how to apply these techniques like the masters.

    The second part of the book, entitled "Light, Composition and the Art of Seeing" evokes the masters, mostly by quoting their words. The images presented are primarily those of Frye, but those familiar with the masters will recognize that much of his work is clearly derived from their style, except for being captured digitally and usually in color. Although this aspect of photography is the most amorphous to describe in writing, Frye does a good job, and his lovely pictures, taken mostly in Yosemite and other favorite locations of Adams, are well worth studying.

    The final part deals with "The Digital Darkroom: Editing, Processing and Printing" and it is here that Frye shows how I imagine the masters would use modern image processing software and hardware rather than the chemical darkroom. Although quite extensive, it is certainly not a Photoshop primer. Instead those who already know how to use such software will see examples of how Frye uses it to emulate the style of the masters. Since most Photoshop manuals do not show many examples of actual applications, this can be quite useful.

    My only complaint with the book is that I would have liked a few more photographs by the masters included, with some deeper analysis of the images to reveal the techniques they used to fulfill their vision. There is still plenty of room for the photographer to view and analyze their works in other books.

    No photographers should expect (or fear) that after reading this book they will take pictures like the masters. Instead, they should expect that some of the techniques, if adopted, will be incorporated into their own style and add to the quality of their images.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not for novices, but also not beyond mid-level amateurs, January 26, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    From the on line book description, I was expecting something a bit different. Yet I am not at all disappointed. The description states that the book "[c]ontains a number of breathtaking works by Ansel Adams and other landscape masters such as Edward Weston and Elliot Porter." In 160 pages, there are only three images from Adams, and one each from Weston and Porter. With my own personal feelings about Ansel Adams' work, I looked forward to seeing more. But as I went through the book further and further, I realized that the real value of the book was not merely appreciating Adams' finished works, but rather Frye's own work and how he uses it to show HOW Adams did what he did in a systematic manner. Adams' manual filtering, dodging, burning, etc., are all brought forward into the age of digital photography and digital manipulation of those photographs. For anyone at least somewhat familiar with Adams' ability to "see" a photo before he even took it, as well as his darkroom magic to leave details in both deep shadows and bright highlights, Frye's step-by-step instruction actually helped me appreciate Adams' work even more.

    Someone just beginning in photography who does not know what Ansel Adams did beyond taking nice looking pictures in black and white, would likely get lost very quickly in this book. Someone who has never gone beyond automatic settings with a camera will have a very difficult time following the book. It simply isn't for beginners. But an amateur photographer with at least reasonable experience using manual settings to get desired effects with either light or depth of field, will be able to appreciate this book and learn from it. Experienced amateurs, and I would suspect many professionals, will find this book very helpful with both improvement in technique as well as greater appreciation for the work of the past film-era masters such as Adams, particularly.

    While the author assumes at least some familiarity with software such as Photoshop, even a limited degree of experience with it will enable the reader to improve his or her results. This is not a tutorial on the zone system, nor use of software, but rather a good overall demonstration of how each is applied to create a finished product in the digital age. Along the way there is sufficient detailed instruction, however, to make it very practical and useful.

    Probably the only reason I did not give it a 5-star rating is because I would like to have seen a bit more on the steps, rather than brief overviews of various photographs and their changes with two or three versions of a photo before the finished product. This isn't to say there isn't considerable written instruction to go along with the images, but there is only so much one can put into a 160 page book covering topics for which whole instructional courses could be designed. Twice the size with correspondingly more detail in the instruction would have been wonderful. And perhaps that's a very positive endorsement of what IS in the book - enough to be appreciated as well as quite useful, with the quality that prompts a desire for even more.

    Again, though I didn't get exactly what I expected, and I would like to have had more of what I did get, I'll restate what I said in the beginning: I am not at all disappointed with my selection. If I had first encountered it in a book store and spent some time looking through it, I am quite confident I would have purchased it. In reality, I'd put it at 4� stars (I reserve 5 stars for only the absolute best products - and this certainly came close). I give it a strong recommendation for anyone who wants to go beyond "good" photography and is willing to put in the effort. This is not a "read it once and you understand" book. Very nice job, Mr. Frye.
    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
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    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation of light masters to digital media, January 30, 2010
    This review is from: Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Masters (Paperback)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Digital Landscape Photography
    Excellent adaptation of light masters to digital media -minimum self advertising.

    Truly an enjoyable and useful book that dissects the Ansel Adams et al style and then explains how to achieve a similar vision in today's digital media. I was immediately taken in by a discussion of one of Adam's classics, "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941". Briefly we are exposed to his vision, and learn how to see beyond the obvious. Technique for an enduring masterwork - compose in one's mind then incorporate emotions to be be moved in one's heart. Hard to put into words, but Michael Frye succeeds quite well.

    Surprisingly the notion of a pure image is also dispelled. In other words what you may be tempted to do in Photoshop, Ansel did as well in the darkroom. Dodging and burning are translated into manipulating the curves, layers, saturation and other parameters available to us now. So rest assured, and feel free to evolve your image, Ansel would have done the same.

    Much of the book is spent on discussion of the Zone System. Briefly, diving the light in the scene in up to 10 zones from the lightest to the darkest. This is equated to evaluating a digital images' histograms. Explanations are given regarding when pictures should be high tone (mostly bright) or low tone (mostly dark) and when its just fine to have a gray image. We are also taught about the multiple exposures and HDR images. Combining over and underexposed images in such a way to enhance the image by showing details that otherwise would be hidden in the shadows of erased in blown out highlights.

    There are examples of each of these methods sprinkled liberally throughout the book. This is where my comment about self advertising comes in. Many photo self help books are actually a gallery of the authors best works, we are not involved in the process all that much and are simply told to admire.

    This is not the case in this book. It succeeds very well in exploring the inner artist in those of us who may not be handy with a paintbrush, but are capable with a camera. The explanation of the thought process behind some of the excellent masters works here (ie Clearing Winter Storm by Adams) combined with the hardware and software techniques makes this an excellent reference source material.

    For the beginner it illustrates some of the possibilities, for the advanced amateur it offers the glimpse of becoming a master.

    On a technical note, the book is a soft cover one, but the cover and pages are heavy stock that feels plasticized and high quality. Unfortunately the dark pages show fingerprints quite distinctly.

    Finally the quality of the images would make this book feel quite at home on a coffee table for the quests to browse through as well.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Left unfulfilled, April 4, 2010
    I've been a fan of Michael Frye's work for some time and was eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book. When all was said and done I felt unfulfilled. He lightly touched on the masters and their techniques with only a few examples. I wish there head been more depth to the discussion. Same for the digital darkroom. Very high level suggestions. Finally, the book had a *lot* of typos, some grammatical errors and the zone/histogram diagram on page 43 was obviously wrong (which the author now mentions on his website). In short worth a read, but the book lacks depth and could have used a proof reader.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How to achieve the classic "Zone" with digital photography, February 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I spent a lot of my teenage years doing darkroom photography. I still have some of my black and white photos and it's still a passion for me, but there is NO WAY I have time to spend hours on one print in the darkroom. Digital photography is now getting resolutions that rival the best film, and new software like Nik Software Complete Collection - Professional Photographic Tools for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture lets you convert shots to black and white and even choose film grain and a gray scale altered by the Zone System.

    Armed with such software and this book, you can adjust your digital photography along with scoping out subjects to attempt the type of work exemplified by Ansel Adams.

    The Zone System was a way of exposing, developing then printing film to enhance the range of grays or alter the contrast of a photograph. Since digital photography doesn't involve development but relies on software to "process" your raw image, this book goes into histograms, exposure alterations, bracketing shots, shadows versus highlights, and filters. (Filters were used to change the light hitting film and taking advantage of differential sensitivity to colors of light in black and white film or enhancing the polarization of light. Only a polarizing filter really works on digital cameras. So to use "filters" you have to employ a digital algorithm to replicate the effect, say, of a yellow filter on a blue sky.)

    There is also information on choosing subjects, composition and cropping as well as color enhancement. The book is lavishly illustrated with excellent photographs that are printed beautifully so you can appreciate the details.

    Probably for me, the three most valuable chapters are processing order (how to use the software to fix the photo), expanding the contrast range (getting that "Zone" effect) and finally, printing, always the most challenging part since what you see on the screen isn't what comes out of the printer.

    If you admire classic photography and want to replicate its beauty with digital tools, this book is essential. Big Thumbs Up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Masters, 2.0..., February 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Humbling. Both the book, as well as the reviews posted to date. This book indicates how the master landscape photographers, like Ansel Adams, might have taken their pictures if they had a digital camera. Frye has included everything you would expect from a quality "how-to" book. He has mastered his material, does not talk down to the reader, and makes his points lucidly. He knows a lot more than I do, and that is why you pay the money for his expertise. He has included numerous quality pictures, often taken in similar settings to the "masters." For me the real strength was looking at multiple pictures of the same scene, as taken under different parameters.

    And then there are the other reviews. Submitted by those who will probably always understand the zone system, tone, composition, and digital manipulation better than I. Still, there is much to aspire to, and as one reviewer said, "...for the advanced amateur it offers the glimpse of becoming a master."

    So, I struggled to find something original to say, in order to "thank" the Vine program for its book. And there is was on page 6: "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico," a copy of the photography that Ansel Adams took in 1941. A lot of photographers have been moved by this picture, so, why not try, as a first approximation, to duplicate what Adams admitted was a "lucky shot," in digital? There is a book entitled "New Mexico, then and now," in which the author traveled around the state, taking pictures in the same spot as one was taken 50-100 years ago, in order to illustrate the development and changes. Even he didn't try! The problem is this: Google might easily find Hernandez, but you'll have a much more difficult time sorting out where it is in the doublewides that sprawl along US 84, north of Espanola. I persevered though, and suddenly it dawned on me that I was standing in the exact spot that Adams had. There was the church; there was a sliver of the graveyard. But the austerity was long gone, replaced with congestion, including doublewides and bright red pickup trucks. A picture is obviously possible, if your inclinations run towards Diane Arbus. True landscape photographers should carry crying towel in hand.

    Well, when your own resources are limited, and inadequate for any further effort, as the former Vermont Senator, George Aiken once said about Vietnam: "It is time to declare victory, and get out." And so I will, but not before thanking Michael Frye for an excellent book that will be a standard reference for many years to come. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely one of the better Digital Landscape Photography book out there. Both beginner and expert will benefit from this book!, March 17, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    "Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Masters" is the book to read if you are interested in landscape photography. It doens't matter if you are a beginner, intermediate or expert photographer, this book will have useful information for everyone (of course, more useful/new information for the beginners).

    What I really like about this book is that this book covers the zone system and the importance of histogram in detail (and how to read the histogram), and this book also cover digital image editing to enhance your landscape image (post-processing). I also enjoy the sample photos that were included. They are beautiful, inspiring, and elaborate the point/explanation they are making.

    Pros:
    1. Cover all the beginner topics (shutter speed, aperture, exposure, sharpness, IQ, etc)
    2. Cover zone system
    3. Cover histogram
    4. Cover light, composition, and art of seeing
    5. Cover more intermediate topics (white balance, color, RAW, bracketing, etc)
    6. Cover image editing and printing
    7. Includes so many beautiful (and relevant) landscape photos (with a few Ansel Adam's sample work)

    Cons: I can't think any really.

    Happy Landscape Photographing!

    Sidarta Tanu

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Zone System Made Easy, May 24, 2010
    I have been a customer of Amazon since 1997. This book inspired me to write my first review. I took up photography, February, 2010. I wanted to learn how to take better landscape photos, to create the eyecatching photos that Ansel Adams and the other greats are known for. I have read a very complicated book about the Zone System and, although I understood the concept, putting it into practice was another matter. This book, however, made it so simple and easy to understand, from a digital standpoint, that I now use it quite often.

    Before this book, I see something I like, I shoot it. Now, I stop and analyze the light. Why? Because the writer spoke of the fact that we are really photographing light and the way it is being reflected. So, now, even though a scene is pretty, if there is nothing special about the light, I don't bother shooting it. I am aware of the meaning of the word "photograph." This book has really help me to "see" differently.

    Last, but not least, I like the organization of the book. It follows the natural workflow from picture-taking to processing and printing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Maybe you can do it too!, January 29, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    If I had to describe what kind of photographer I am, I would say a beginner, a novice, or an amateur. Well maybe not a beginner, beginner, but Ansel Adams I am not. However, I am married to someone who I would consider a serious photographer, who has both the talent and some pretty expensive camera equipment (both film format..Nikon F100, and digital...Nikon D80) to take some magnificent pictures. While I don't think that I have reached semi-professional status YET, I do think that I have an eye for what will make a beautiful picture, and consider myself to be quite the assistant. So when I saw this book offered thru Vine, I thought it would be helpful to learn how to use some of the same techniques utilized by Ansel Adams and several other renown photographers to create some of the most beautiful photographs ever taken.

    What did I think of this book? While it wasn't what I thought it would be, but it wasn't a disappointment. First, I was expecting something a lot bigger, although when I really think about it, it makes sense that it isn't. It isn't a coffee table book, but a short manual on photography techniques. Therefore, it makes sense that it is small, thin, and has a bendable cover that allows you to slip it into a camera bag (especially the back pack type that I use). So when you see those potential shots, you can easily pull it out and refer to some of the techniques outlined. Secondly, Frye takes painstaking steps to explain why you should use various techniques, how to do them, and what you should expect in the final product. And while now digital photography is the craze, you can use the same techniques (what to look for and how to manipulate light etc) for film format. Thirdly, I like the way there are directions for everything from techniques used, to processing and printing the photos. Thus making this a complete manual for a photographer. The only thing that I am not sure of is if this is a "true" beginners book? It is my opinion that you have to have some knowledge of photography, or have at least taken a beginning photography class, and have a decent mid-range digital to utilize these techniques. Otherwise, you may be a little overwhelmed and find some of the techniques difficult. With that being said, I think with some time and practice, as well as some pointers from this book, I will capture some breathtaking photos soon.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Moderately helpful..., July 29, 2010
    This book is full of beautiful images that have been very nicely presented in this book.

    Perhaps owing to my photographic experience and recent immersion in various books about digital photography and digital image editing, I found this book very light on any really substantive advice.

    It covers the well-known tips about composition, relates some interesting information about Ansel Adams, Minor White, Weston, and others. It gives some very general and high-level advice about camera operation. And near the end of the book it goes into a few digital editing techniques.

    The quality and quantity of images is generous. The information about digital photography is not. I read the book from cover to cover in one evening and lunch hour, and could pretty much recite all the info I gathered.

    If you're new to photography, and new to digital photography, this will take a little longer to assimilate, and will provide a number of tips that will be very useful. But I was expecting a lot more meat than I found. Still, I liked the book for the images and the quality of the reproductions. And I did pick up a few little tid-bits that made it worthwhile. ... Read more


    19. Free books for Kindle: The secrets of how to get the world's greatest books for a radical price
    by Chris Graham
    Kindle Edition (2010-10-23)
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B0048ELPBC
    Publisher: Analytics Press
    Sales Rank: 200
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Everyone loves a freebie. And Kindle readers, like me and you, are no different. The great news is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of free books for your Kindle out there.Unfortunatelythe ebook revolution has spawned an avalanche of sites and other resources.Worse yet – some of the best of them are often beyond the reach of even the most seasoned Google searcher.

    In my quest for the best Kindle free books – I've literally checked through hundreds of sites so that I could bring the best of them to you.

    So save your brain some strain, save time and cash with my handy guide to free books for your Kindle: Great books at a radical price!

    The book includes:

    Ebook formats explained
    How to find around a million free books
    Guide to transferring them to your Kindle
    Some tips for finding free music and audio books

    Revised and expanded for Dec 2010
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars How to save money on Kindle books, December 27, 2010
    Although Kindle is a handy way to download and immediately read the books of your choice, some books can be quite pricey. Some new releases can put a pinch on your budget, especially the books that cost $9.99. The Free Books for Kindle download is definitely an investment in the extent to which I will enjoy having my Kindle device. By learning how to find free Kindle material, I have turned my device into my favorite companion (I use it more than I use my Blackberry). You will get your money back the first time you use the tips and tricks you will learn from this book. Many of the titles you are interested in can be read virtually free of charge.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, December 26, 2010
    There is some nice useful stuff in this short, to-the-point book.

    From what files are readable on Kindle, to how to transfer files from your CPU to your Kindle (Free MP3's too!), to where online to find what books you're interested in reading for the low, low price of FREE... This book has it.

    If you're debating on parting with that $.99, just do it. Seriously! It's only $.99! What's the worst that could happen?!?!

    Great Book! Cheers and many thanks to the author!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even I Was Impressed..., December 27, 2010
    I can safely say that even I was impressed by the content of this small ebook. As soon as I found out I was getting a Kindle (back in July), I began looking for resources for free and inexpensive books. I hadn't heard of most of these and have been enjoying going through and seeing what's available.

    I highly recommend this very short and to the point ebook. It's a fantastic resource.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great guide, December 27, 2010
    I've just got a Kindle and this was one of my first downloads. It's an excellent guide to free e-books on the Web with lots of useful links.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Kindle and free books, merry xmas goes on, December 26, 2010
    Does the job free books, a must to go with the kindle. The author does all the work and you gain, easy to understand,clearly written buy it and make the kindle even better. Well done! !

    5-0 out of 5 stars Genius advice, November 10, 2010
    For years I've relied on my former work colleague's web mastery knowledge. He's ace. And now he's collected the ultimate library guide with FREE BOOKS FOR KINDLE. Not sure you can be a proper Kindle fan without having this info to hand.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Very Misleading, December 27, 2010
    The title of this e-book does indeed what it says it does. However, there is absolutely NO advantage gained from purchasing this book. I've researched every site that is outlined by the author and found that the only titles offered on these poorly constructed, apparent "fly-by-night" websites are free on amazon.com anyway. Trust me, I have a huge issue with buying a book for only 20% less through Kindle and not having the book in my hands concretely. Nonetheless, I should have listened to the old adage: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." ... Read more


    20. Photoshop Elements 9: The Missing Manual
    by Barbara Brundage
    Paperback
    list price: $44.99 -- our price: $29.69
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1449389678
    Publisher: Pogue Press
    Sales Rank: 1904
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Elements 9 offers much of Photoshop's power without the huge price tag. It's an ideal tool for most image-editing buffs -- including scrapbookers, photographers, and aspiring graphic artists. But Elements still doesn't come with a decent manual. This bestselling book will help you get the most out of the program, from the basics to advanced tips for both Windows and Mac.

    • Quickly learn your way around. Customize Elements to suit your working style.
    • Get to work right away. Import, organize, and make quick image fixes with ease.
    • Retouch any image. Learn how to repair and restore your old and damaged photos.
    • Add some pizzazz. Give images more zip with dozens of filters, frames, and special effects.
    • Find your creative flair. Create scrapbooks, greeting cards, photo books, and more.
    • Use advanced techniques. Work with layers, blend modes, and other tools.
    • Try out your new skills. Download practice images and try new tricks as you learn.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars missing manual, November 5, 2010
    This book is what it is - the missing manual. If you are looking for creative uses then you probably want another book (although there are many creative use features in the book). When I think of a manual - it covers all the major parts of the program and gives insights on how to use the program and this book succeeds. I keep this "bible' on my desk as a quick reference to trouble shooting and how to use different tools of this feature laden program.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super Informative Manual, November 10, 2010
    I found this book to be super informative and extremely easy to navigate. It begins with a great description of Elements for the novice and users of previous editions. Within each chapter there are relevent tips, frequently asked questions, loads of information and plenty of photos. The Table Of Contents is very extensive, as is the index, making it very easy to find sought after information quickly.
    It really is "The book that should have been in the box"

    4-0 out of 5 stars Missing Manual, November 2, 2010
    Being a first time user of elements this book is a godsend. However there is so much information that I needed to read it first and now I am using the book as a guide as I try new opertations. My only comment is I wish it was a bit more graphic and has more screenshots. However it is a great book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Falls Short, October 28, 2010

    The book falls woefully short in it's treatment of Adobe Elements 9.
    The only reason I bought it was to see if there was anything I might be "missing" since my last version of Elements was version (5).
    I use Adobe CS4 extensively, but also use Elements when its a simple job for layers.
    My image prep is done with Nikon Capture NX.

    The book is probably ok for the first time user with little or no experience with image editing.

    The treatment of color management in this book should be largely ignored as it could lead one to believe color management is not at all that important. This is something that should have either been left out entirely or covered more in depth.

    The same holds true for the authors rather poor explanation of file types.

    Most of what is in the book can be found for free with some google searching.

    If you are new to image editing, I don't recommend this book since this information is already freely available.

    If on the other hand you want a way to use Elements 9 creatively, you will have to search out another book as this one does little to show the real power that can be had in Elements. "Masking" which has been missing in Elements is now available. This is a pretty big deal for Elements, but again, the book doesn't go into the power of masks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars review of Photoshop Elements 9 book, December 9, 2010
    This book is great. I had just bought the Photoshop Elements 9 software. As the program didn't come with a manual I bought this book. It is easy to understand and walks you through pretty much everything connected to the program. There are pics you can download from their site to work on if you want. I still haven't made it to the end of the book but I have learned alot from it. I strongly suggest buying this book if you haven't had any photoshop training.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Photoshops Elements 9 (O'Reilly), November 24, 2010
    From O'Reilly comes the latest in the `missing manual' series, "Photoshop Elements 9. For photographers who like the streamlined lightness that comes the Photoshop Elements program, Barbara Brundage's manual covers all the basics of the ever popular program including more recent developments like photomerge and more. A five-dollar upgrade gets you a companion CD and there is a 45 day free membership to the online edition as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Accessory, December 15, 2010
    This is a great item to have if you do not like reading manuals on line. The index is great for finding the solution to your problem. I would highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very helpful resource, November 15, 2010
    This book is extremely helpful, filled with tons of information that is easy to find. Just what I was looking for. ... Read more


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