How To Prepare A Great Programming Book Review

7 Mins read
How To Prepare A Great Programming Book Review

To keep up with it, you have to read. But what books should you read? Also, in what order is a question that a difficult to answer. It is impossible to read all the thousands of books that are published each year.

Computer Technology Is Changing Rapidly

You have to be able to narrow down to the select few that will help you get the information you
Need for your job or your understanding of this rapidly changing technology. To
do this; you have to turn to book reviews, as they are a quick way to discover if the book
has the information you want so you don’t waste your time.

But, the quality of these reviews varies from writer to writer and today we’re going to show you a systematic way to write a review. This makes the entire process much simpler and allows the review to be better quality and more use to those who are attempting to wade through the sheer volume of computer books being written today.

Pages to The methodology used to do this is a bit different from the way you were taught to
do book reviews in college as it requires you to look at books in a different way than a person
Reading the book would. You have to look at the book as a detective, or an engineer is
attempting fathom the clues to a crime or disassemble and understand and unfamiliar piece
of machinery.

So, when you’re finished reading this article, you’ll be able to write reviews much quicker and with better quality than ever before.

But, to do this, we have first to look at how to read the book.

What Is The Intent Of The Author?

You need to understand upfront why the book was written in the first place. Many computer books
inform people How to do guides on various topics. While other books we inform people to about
various subjects or new advances in technology, you have to differentiate
between the two.

The ones that are designed to help a programmer or laymen accomplish certain tasks such
as system programming and Web development are written like a catalog of topics that a
person in a hurry and run their thumb down the table of contents and find out how to do a
particular task or understand a command. These books are dry and are designed to be used
as references. However, for languages like Python, JavaScript, and other web development
languages this is exactly what a programmer needs. It enables them to locate what they
need quickly as millions of dollars are writing on some of the machines there attempting to
Correct the programming bug on. So the faster they can locate the information the better for

The other books that are informative and talk about new advances are usually more interesting as the author is excited about the topic and wants to share all that they know. Therefore, as you can see your review needs to reflect what the author has in mind, as it will shape the content of your review.

You need to read in multiple passes to build up the gestalt of the structure and the mind of
the author

On the first pass, we are only interested in building a model of what the book is about and its structure. To do this you need to first look at the cover of the book. Note the title, author and any other pertinent information that might help you understand what the book is about. Book covers today attempt to give you all this information in small word bites in an attempt to entice you to buy the book.

On the back cover as there should be a short synopsis of what the book is about and what benefits you will derive from reading it. Jot down any keywords that you see, as they will useful later when you’re writing your review.

The Table Of Contents Gives You The Skeleton Of The Author’s Thought Process

Look at the chapter headings in the table of contents. This is where the author gives you the skeleton that he’s going to hang his thoughts and ideas onto. Again, jot down notes.

Attempt to reverse engineer what topics each chapter is talking about. If possible, attempt to
turn each chapter heading into a question this will help you understand where the author is
going with the book. Corporate programmers need to be able to find an exact piece of
information when they need it and they needed now. The table of contents is a quick way for
them to zero in the area where they need help. You as the reviewer must be asking yourself
what are the most critical questions a programmer wants to be answered. In the content
management software world of Joomla as well as the hottest languages that programmers
want to know about like AJAX, JavaScript, C, Ruby/Ruby on Rails, Java, Visual Basic. You
need to be able to differentiate and compare the book you’re reviewing with similar books on
the market today. You then must give reasons why or why not someone would want to buy
this particular book. So, this is where the table of contents helps you write your review better.

The Index Tells You Where All The Key Thoughts And Ideas Are Located

For a book reviewer, the index is a gold mine of information. If you look at the index in
actuality is a listing of all the main thoughts and the ideas for the entire book laid out for you.
This is a secret of books. They are ideas linked together and presented to the reader. Up to
80% of the book is made up of filler words. What you’re looking for are the key thoughts that
went into writing the book and its content. It could be anything from the simple word python,
an abbreviation like PHP as well as whichever other programming language related
keywords. You need to focus at this point, as each has individualized keywords that are
unique to the specific language. This includes C#, the old C++, and the newly created SWIFT programming language for Apple iPhones

Our language uses filler words to connect the various ideas and topics together. The index is the actual listing of the key concepts that the author is trying to get across.

Using a highlighter, you can mark key thoughts that you want to hit upon in your review and be able to find them quickly later.

Skim The Book

Here you are not actually reading the book but making note of any pictures, tables, and
highlighted text that you see as you go through the book. This should take no more than
about 10 to 15 minutes. You are building up in your mind a picture of what the book is about.

Read The Book

Do books properly you need to be able to read at a slow speed as well as a high-speed. Taking the Evelyn Wood speed-reading course or the Photo Reading program written by Paul Scheele would be of great benefit.

However, whichever method you decide to use read the book from cover to cover highlighting keywords and concepts. Yellow Stickier or Tab Indicators can be used as mini book markers to help you find this key information later while writing your review. Using different colour highlighters is another good way to differentiate key concepts by their importance and relevance.

Use The Proper Tools When Writing

Microsoft Word is a great piece of software for writing memos, business letters, and some
people are able to actually write entire books using it. However, if you want to do a good book review you need something that can organize your notes and lay them out in a logical
sequential order. In the old days, we used to use 3 x 5 cards to do this. However, you need
to have a lot of table space or a large open room to be able to sort through your notes.
Yellow stickier were used as well but require a large whiteboard or an empty wall.

Fortunately, Literature Latte created Scrivener that takes the best parts of the index card
method of note taking and the corkboard and combines them together to give you a place
where all your information can be dumped into in an organized manner to help you writing
your book review.

Short And Sweet

The book review should be short. A programmer doesn’t have time to read “War and Peace”
so your book review should be between 500 and 1000 words. This could be a daunting task.
Considering most of the books today dealing with computer technology are between 200 and
500 pages.

Therefore, this means you have to do a synopsis of the key ideas that the author is conveying in his book.

One trick you can do is taking the book cover synopsis and uses it as the basis of your review. From there flesh it out with the key concepts that you feel that the readers of the review would be most interested in.

Again, Scrivener can help you keep honest by monitoring your word count as you write. Use headers to identify the various the thoughts of your review. Organize them in a logical manner and at an introduction, conclusion, and you are finished. Remember to use the table of contents as well as the index to extract programming keywords you think are critical to the reader of this particular book.

In the conclusion, you should give a brief synopsis of what you talked about in the body and
introduction and then give your opinion and thoughts on how well the author wrote the book
and whether or not this is a book that someone would want to buy. Using the old-fashioned
two thumbs up or a star rating makes it a convenient way to convey this information to the

Final Thoughts

Writing a Programming book review does not have to be difficult. If you follow these simple steps you can get through your book get the information you need and create one that conveys the programming related information and answers the questions that the program wants to know and your opinion of how well the author delivered his message.

The system requires multiple passes through the book and using various tools to help you
gather and organize the critical information needed for your review. Using a software
package like Scrivener makes this process go much easier and smoother. Keep the review
under 1000 words and now you have a system that lets you write as many reviews as you
like or need.
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