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DavidSupina

What's a good way to spot appropriate intermediate level books?

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I'm current working through these two beginner-targeted programming books: http://www.gamedev.net/columns/books/bookdetails.asp?productid=58 http://www.gamedev.net/columns/books/bookdetails.asp?productid=379&CategoryID=21 I'm enjoying them both, and over the past while, I've concluded a few things. 1. I love working through a physical, tangible book. Not only is easier to read from, but I can refer back and forth between my source material and my compiler. It's also nice to have something physical in the house to remind me that I should stop slacking when I take days, even weeks off from my reading. 2. I've got a whole lot more to learn. In the Sams book, I'm over two hundred pages in, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. In fact, I'm not even sure I've left a mark on the surface yet. The problem is that while there are obviously more intermediate level books out there, there's a fundamental problem with picking one... they assume you have a certain level of knowledge that you may or may not have. Have any tips on picking out books that won't assume I know things that I don't? Thanks for your help.

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It may sound like a cop-out, but I think it's the best answer. Go to Amazon.com, search for the topic you're interested in, and find the most highly rated books--giving weight, of course, to the ones with a significant number of reviews--and read what others have had to say about them.

When you get books with 20 or more reviews, you can usually make a pretty good judgement about it.

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Both of the books you are reading now are excellent for learning the basics (I borrowed the first from the library and own the second), and also good for a quick refresh of C++ basics when you have been messing around with other languages :)

As far as understanding intermediate books, I think you will find that these two provide a perfectly adequate groundwork for any intermediate text in these subjects. Beware however that some books billed as 'intermediate' are far more difficult than others. My advice is that if (after completing your current books) you encounter an intermediate book that you find very difficult, don't get frustrated, instead put the book away for a while, and concentrate on learning other programming/software engineering stuff (it doesn't really matter what) before coming back to it.

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Quote:
Original post by smitty1276
It may sound like a cop-out, but I think it's the best answer. Go to Amazon.com, search for the topic you're interested in, and find the most highly rated books--giving weight, of course, to the ones with a significant number of reviews--and read what others have had to say about them.

When you get books with 20 or more reviews, you can usually make a pretty good judgement about it.

Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. The problem I find is that it is hard to judge the level of experience of the reviewer. Some reviewers will really bash a book for being 'simplistic', but a look at their other reviews will reveal that they are a professional software engineer, while some will review it as terribly hard, when in fact they never learnt any of the basics beforehand.
All in all, reviews provide a nice guide, but you still need a healthy pinch of salt.

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