$25.88 on Amazon
The nice thing about this book is that chapters are short and sweet; each one is just a few pages plus exercises, focusing on the main ideas for each concept. As a result, it’s easy to sit down and read a chapter without feeling that you have to have a half hour free to work through it. Naturally, the short chapters mean that the main reading doesn’t have much in the way of extra examples – for that, you need to do the sample problems. While I haven’t used it, the book also comes with a DVD containing video lessons over the same material.
Speaking of the sample problems – they’re straightforward and to the point, but I do have two complaints. One is that every problem set starts the same way: with instructions to use a text editor (with several suggested) and a modern web browser (again, with several suggested). Secondly, each chapter has you create a new folder, which will often hold only one or two files. Seems a bit silly when the exercises only take a few minutes anyway! If you follow the instructions, you’ll also end up retyping stuff that carries over from chapter to chapter rather than continuing to work on the same file (or copying it to the new folder), although I suppose that can be excused on the grounds of making it easy to jump to any chapter.
So what’s the verdict? I don’t really see using this as a reference book – it’s a “get started quickly” book rather than a “show everything you might need” book. That said, getting started quickly is exactly what I needed to do, and for that, this book serves its purpose. If you’re looking to jump in quickly, I’d say this book is a good buy.