I can sum this review up simply by saying "I wish all learning material was written in this way!".
My background is in graphic arts, and I've always found it a struggle to maintain interest and concentration in verbose books where the text just blends into an angry swirl after about 10 minutes. I just ended up reading the same paragragh again and again, without actually taking anything in.
The Head First series is like a breath of fresh air... It cleverly sneaks under your radar, and ends up teaching you without you even noticing! It uses a variety of teaching techiques and it's style is relaxed and informal. It is genuinely the first book of it's genre where I've actually wanted to keep reading to see what's going to happen next.
I bought this book (along with Java All-in-one Desk Reference for Dummies
) and so far I haven't found any need to go further. Head First gives me the confidence and, if I require, the Dummies gives me the more in-depth, technical information on the specifics.
Both books have a great sense of humour, but Head First Java wins by a mile for it's innovative and successful approach to making the stuff stick in your head.
It isn't for seasoned programmers but for the average Joe like me, it would get my vote every time :-)