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The last point above is especially true with the Head First series. This is not your basic cut and dried text. This example shows a typical page, marked-up for better understanding. It's similar to buying a used book that has been written in by someone who has a thorough understanding of the material.
There's a structure to the book, but it's looser than a formal textbook. In fact, this book actually makes learning fun! The format of the book, which is the Head First method, is based on several principles:
Examples are used throughout the book, some of them on a continuing, expanding basis. All of the code is available for download from their Web site. In addition, there's an excellent forum which focuses on questions pertaining to the exercises in the book. Each chapter includes a through understanding of the concept being taught, review questions and exercises, crossword puzzles (yes, I said crossword puzzles!), and tons of examples.
This article originally appeared on WebReference.com.