A Smarter way to learn javascript realtoughcandy

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript (Mark Myers) book review

A Smarter Way to Learn Javascript does what most technical educational materials don’t.

Rather than washing the concepts of computer programming in a cold bath of abstract and obtuse phrasing, author Mark Myers takes an approach that’s actually newbie friendly. No doubt, you’ve seen videos or read books that claim to be for beginners, but after a few minutes into the material, the instructor is throwing out dozens of ideas and terms you’ve never heard of and glossing over the concepts behind what’s being said. To add to the stress, the lessons often seem never-ending, page after page of dense information thrown at you to unpack. Cue frustration and demotivation.


A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript breaks that unfortunate trend.

Somehow, Myers got the memo that beginner books should be for beginners. Early on in my self-taught developer journey, I scooped up both A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS along with A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript.

Having no background in programming or computer science, these books made me feel like I could actually tackle this monster known as web development and do something with it. It was in stark contrast to some of the other books and video courses I had invested in, where I sometimes felt so overwhelmed I questioned if I was capable enough to actually be a programmer.

Most comprehension problems are just retention problems in disguise.

Mark Myers, A Smarter Way To Learn JavaScript
A Smarter way to learn javascript realtoughcandy
Read for ten minutes, code for twenty.

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript works for people for a few reasons. Number one, the lessons are very short, sometimes only a single page with a larger, readable font size. This makes “ingesting” the information so much more manageable. In fact, Myers himself recommends only doing a chapter a day, so that you’re comfortable with the concept before moving on to the next one.

The second reason I think A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript works is because of the online exercise portion. You see, the book is only part of the equation. The interactive online exercises have you practice various problems that focus on each book’s chapter, sometimes phrasing the same question in different ways just to make sure you’ve got it down.

For example, Chapter 19 introduces you to for loops. After you read about what a for loop is along with its syntax, you log on to the Smarter Way website, click on Chapter 19 and presto: you’re set up with 20 exercises to complete, all dedicated to what you just learned in the book (semi-pro tip: consider using Chrome for the exercises as Firefox and Safari have been particularly buggy for me on some exercises).

A Smarter way to learn javascript realtoughcandy
A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript isn’t just a book; it’s an interactive educational system.

Finally, A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript includes all the basics you need to get up and running with the language.

It’s very validating (pun possibly intended) when you’re able to read a chapter about validation, the DOM, conditional logic, browser control, and other technical topics and then implement it only a few minutes later. The feedback and payoff system of Myers’ approach may be novel, but it works.

Myers really does understand the problems many code newbies are facing. As he notes:

[…] [M]ost comprehension problems are just retention problems in disguise. If you get lost trying to understand variable scope, it’s because you don’t remember how functions work. Thanks to the interactive exercises on my website, you’ll always understand and remember everything necessary to confidently tackle the next concept.

A  Smarter way to learn javascript realtoughcandy
Mark Myers, newbie-friendly author of A Smarter Way To Learn JavaScript

With over 1000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this book continues to be a newbie classic. No hour-long lessons, no teaching in unnecessarily technical terms, just a dude who understands the plight of newbies and delivered a darn good book for under twenty bucks. Don’t sleep on this one!
-RTC

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