In a heavily-populated field of Mac and iOS computer books, Brad Miser’s new Teach Yourself Visually MacBook Pro (TYVMBP) stands out as something refreshingly different from the run-of-the-mill.
Eschewing the usual formula of mainly descriptive text supported by screenshots, photos, and graphics, TYVMBP promotes its pictorial and graphic material from a supporting role to star billing, with just a short, descriptive paragraph or two introducing each topic, then letting the pictures tell the story via. point-by-point bulleted captioning.
The illustrations in TYVMVP are still primarily screenshots, but rendered in full color on good quality (although not glossy calendared) paper. It’s a form of presentation that’s both attractive and informative. In short, it works.
There’s an added bonus with this book if you’re an aircraft buff, as I am, since author Miser is evidently a fellow enthusiast, with many of the photos he’s reproduced in screenshots being of interesting airplanes.
The old “A picture is worth words” proverb gets a good workout in TYVMVP, and if you’re a visual learner, this book should be right up your alley.
My only major criticism of TYVMVP is that one that’s also applied to another Brad Miser book I recently reviewed here — MacBook Pro Portable Genius, 4th Edition — in that for a volume with “MacBook Pro” front-and-center prominent in its title, there’s precious little content pertaining directly to Apple’s high – and laptop hardware. A few pages with information about the Pro’s controls and ports and configuring the trackpad are pretty much all there is.
Consequently, a more appropriate title would’ve been “Teach Yourself Visually OS X Mountain Lion,” because the book is almost exclusively focused how to get the best out of Apple’s operating system software, and would be equally useful to users of any sort of Mac capable of supporting Mountain Lion. Which of course broadens its appeal, but someone buying the book on spec and anticipating a lot of MacBook Pro specific hardware content is going to be disappointed.
TYVMVP is pitched primarily to beginner and novice OS X users, but a lot of Mac veterans are finding themselves obliged to relearn a lot of stuff with all the changes Apple has made in OS X 10.8 Lion and 10.9 Mountain Lion, so in that sense we are all pretty much novices these days.
The 360 page book is structured in four parts, conveniently color-coded, and titled “Part I: Discovering MacBook Pro,” “Part II: Getting Connected,” Part III: “Using The Internet,” and Part IV: “Going Further With MacBook Pro.”
There are six chapters in Part I, three in Part II, for in Part III, and concluding with the six chapters of Part IV. The part and chapter titles are pretty much self-explanatory, and I’ve included a Table Of Contents as an appendix at the end of this review.
It’s unlikely that many readers will go through this book cover to cover, but it makes interesting and informative browsing, and pretty much everyone from newbie to veteran will learn things they didn’t know from among the more than 175 tutorial topics covered, presented in mostly concise two-page lessons.
Aside from the aforementioned caveat about there being very little MacBook Pro specific content, I quite like Teach Yourself Visually MacBook Pro, and am comfortable giving it a strong four out of five rating. It’s not an inexpensive book at US$29.95/Can$35.99 (memo to the publisher: the Canadian dollar has been worth more than the greenback throughout most of 2012, and is starting 2013 strongly as well)/and £21.99 UK. But it’s an excellent reference for the visual learner demographic that is its target audience. TYVMBP is also available as an e-book.
Teach Yourself VISUALLY MacBook Pro
Publisher: Visual; 1 edition (October 30, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9 inches
Amazon.com price – $19.79:
More info (PDF):
Appendix: Table Of Contents
Part I Discovering MacBook Pro
Chapter 1 Exploring MacBook Pro
Chapter 2 Looking Through the OS X Finder Windows
Chapter 3 Managing the MacBook Pro Desktop Space
Chapter 4 Working on the Mac Desktop
Chapter 5 Working with Mac Applications
Chapter 6 Personalizing MacBook Pro
Part II Getting Connected
Chapter 7 Connecting to a Network and the Internet
Chapter 8 Connecting MacBook Pro to Other Devices
Chapter 9 Traveling with MacBook Pro
Part III Using the Internet
Chapter 10 Using iCloud Online Services
Chapter 11 Surfing the Web
Chapter 12 E-Mailing with Mail
Chapter 13 Communicating in Real Time
Part IV Going Further with MacBook Pro
Chapter 14 Printing on Paper or Electronically
Chapter 15 Managing Contacts
Chapter 16 Managing Calendars
Chapter 17 Maintaining a MacBook Pro and Solving Problems
Chapter 18 Enjoying Music and Video with iTunes
Chapter 19 Using a MacBook Pro with iPhones, iPods, and iPads