PLUS: Without having sat the ISTQB ATTA exam (for which this book is a guide, and this is the bottom line of my review, really), I am learning a lot from reading this book. Given the obvious technical nature of the subject, and the depth of knowledge the co-authors have, I really like the relaxed way they have explained it (not "stuffy"), and with a good bit of techy humour thrown in too. This has really helped me to get into the topics.
The personal experiences of the authors (interspersed within the various topics) are valuable in helping to explain the point.
I think the exercises (mostly using a HELLOCARMS project described at the back of the book) are very good; the Debriefs are explained in good, thorough detail.
MINUS: A few mistakes in the book. I've got a 1st Edition copy from 2011 (only just bought it, so hopefully it's the only Edition?!), but it's got quite a few mistakes in it. As well as numerous typos, there's at least one incorrect answer to a Sample Question (I'm wondering if there's at least one more - TBC), others have comments on state transition diagrams being slightly incorrect, and - call me crazy - but Chapter 9 is called 'Test Techniques', when it should totally be Test Tools?!?! All these mistakes are ESPECIALLY shoddy given it's a book by Testers (who dig detail), AND it's by two of the world's leading names in Testing AND this book is a Guide to the ISTQB Exam. Unbelievable.
And the premise of this being a guide to the ISTQB exam brings me to my biggest annoyance with the book - Why oh why have the authors decided not to provide justifications for the answers to the sample questions? The questions are tricky, the subject is complex, the exam is Advanced level, this book is a Guide to the exam. Simply telling us the answer at the back just makes me a bit (more) annoyed - it does not improve one's understanding.
I am using this book to study for the ATTA exam but to be honest I am glad I will attending a course too.
Some of the sample questions have incorrect answers - now I know what you are thinking, perhaps I just didnt understand the question but I have spent a lot of time debating the same thing with myself and re-checking the book and in some cases the text directly contradicts the solution given. (example, chapter 4, samples question 20, answer includes item III, but this is a static analysis product, see page 268)
In addition to that, some of these "samples exam questions" relate to topics which have explicit notes in the text that they are not part of the syllabus - so why are they in there! (example, Chapter 4, sample question 10, loop coverage, see page 191)
And my favourite of all, there are sections in this book which begin a discussion on a purportedly important topic, the text then meanders into apocrypha and developer-bashing and the section comes to an end without having made any real point or defined any useful results. (examples, section 18.104.22.168 no useful results or definitions, developer bashing and apocrypha everywhere)
I will complete the reading of this book just so I can see examples of all of the sybllabus in action but I will not be too worried when I disagree with something outlined in the text.
However, I will eat humble pie if all of my concerns are nullified in any way. A fantastic way to do part of this would be to supply explanations to the answers for the sample exam questions (yet another drawback of this publication).
Just as a qualifier for my statements, I am very used to self-teaching - I achieved a first class honours degree in Mathematics by distance learning (but I will be lucky if I pass this exam!)