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At number three we have a title in the Social media & web marketing category - Sams Teach Yourself Google Analytics. This is a title for beginners which takes you through a series of 24 10-minute lessons. It merits its 5-star rating for its clear explanations and logical presentation. The bottom line is that it is:
"Recommended for anyone who has never used Google Analytics or has only encountered its top-level features and facilities."
Our choice of book in the hardware platforms category comes in at number two which is fitting as it encompasses hardware and programming. The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Discovery Book (No Starch Press) is aimed at new users of LEGO robot kits which are an excellent introduction to robotics and programming - and the popularity of the book review reflects not only the merits of the book but also the success of he Mindstorms NXT kits. Lucy Black recommends this book, and awards it a top rating for being a "well thought out and implemented book that lives up to its title of being a "Discovery Book".
It is fitting that we have a programming title as Best Book of 2010. So the question is which language has commandeered the top slot. It is Ruby and the book is Metaprogramming Ruby, by Paolo Perrotta, published by Pragmatic Bookshelf. So why did Ian Elliot conclude "If you program in Ruby buy a copy of this book". Well you'll have to read the entire review to appreciate all the argument but there are three reasons:
Ruby is special and this book explains what makes it special and how to make use of these special abilities.
Metaprogramming is dangerous and can easily lead to a mess but this book succeeds making scary stuff seem very reasonable.
The book's approach which takes the form of a tutorial between a master programmer and his increasingly skilled assistant is sufficiently well done for it to help in explaining some fairly complicated ideas.
This review is also a good fit as our Book Review of 2010. Like all our reviews it is entirely impartial and never sycophantic. Despite giving it a 5-star rating Ian comments " ... there were times when I really would have liked a quick simple and direct explanation of what is going on." The review gives you enough information to decide if it book you might want to buy - which is a case of deciding whether you are the right reader as well as evaluating the book's intrinsic qualities. You won't necessarily want to buy every 5-star book since you might not fit the audience profile it is aimed at.
During 2011 we intend to bring you hundreds more reviews of books - titles that may be good, bad, mixed or simply average.
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