So as I study for the ASE I am reading the new HP Press books (that were purchased as bundle) for the test. Before this I was reading the older HP material that is in a wire bound book and was nothing more than HP copying crap from their website, print and wire bind it to a book. It was very dry, out of date, laced with grammatical errors and multiple configuration errors. Needless to say, the material is crap and I was excited to see that instead of trying to not be “Cisco Like” they joined the crowd and hired authors. Here is my review in comparison to the crap material that I read before…

The original “Implementing A/E-series” books were nothing more than a bunch of reprinted material from their website that included all kinds of configuration examples. This is great…for a classroom. However, for those self-study this is the single most miserable material that you can read because all it does is simply show you the configuration and little to no explanation.

The HP Press books, thus far, are clearly written and take on a Cisco Press feel. In fact, I will go on to say that HP Press just simply copied the layout and changed a few things from the Cisco Press books. This isn’t a bad thing because Cisco books are excellent (Given the authors aren’t arrogant pricks who refuse to see the issues in their books, such as the CCDA self-study guide). Also, Cisco figured out that if you make the material openly available for people to self-study they will get your certifications and promote your product and this is one of the many driving forces behind Cisco dominance.

The author, Richard Deal, is a Cisco guy himself so I come to expect that he has read Cisco Press books and put a lot of influence into the HP Press books that is Cisco centric and also it seems he has improved on some areas where the Cisco material lacks. As I read through the book I understand what he is saying and he explains things in a manner that isn’t completely dry so it helps you to keep reading.

The layout of the chapters I find a little weird but I am sure there is a reason for this. The end-of-chapter tests are good and at the end of the book you have a sample test to gauge your knowledge. All-in-all I believe that if HP Press can produce this quality material over and over again you’ll have more freelance self-study guys take up their certifications and perhaps help drive more HP Procurve solutions. However, only time will tell because it seemed for a while that HP had a “Anything but Cisco” mentality. I felt this would change when I had to call them to get the recommendations on the books for the ASE and even the rep was confused. My only response was “Why can’t this be more like Cisco?” and her response “We hear that ALL the time and we’re working on it”

If you can’t beat them, join them.

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