Sunday, April 11, 2010

Todd Lammle Vs. Wendell Odom - Which Textbook to Buy?

The reason why I am writing this review is to help you decide on which Amazon CCNA textbook to purchase. Specifically, Todd Lammle's (CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide: Exam 640-802) or Wendell Odom's textbook (CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802), Third Edition (Containing ICND1 and ICND2 Second Edition Exam Certification Guides).

I read all the reviews from both textbooks and I still couldn't make up my mind. So in the end, I bought BOTH textbooks and spent about $80.

I want to share with you my review of both textbooks and maybe, in the end, you can save yourself a few pennies and better your chance to pass the test without worrying or wishing you had bought the other textbook.

Like many of you, I looked on Amazon because well, they usually have the best prices of books plus, they provide reviews by individuals who bought the book. So after my research, I found that both Todd & Wendell's textbook, had the most reviews and the highest number of people ranking their text books in the 5's and 4's.



You would have thought I would have picked one and moved on. But I didn't. In fact, I was going back and forth between these two textbooks for quite some time. I waited a full two days before I made my decision. It was so agonizing for me in making what appeared to be such a simple decision; pick one and move on with it, I said to myself. Instead, I wanted to do the research to see if there were any reviews on these textbooks and so I looked on Google, Bing, Yahoo, but I didn't really find any review sites that would help me to make an informed decision or help me to better choose which textbook to buy. Even though both textbooks are less than $35, I felt this was a very important decision to make because I wanted the best chance to succeed in passing the test. I didn't want to spend the time studying for the material and then half way through the textbook, I regretted that I didn't purchase the other textbook. Plus, I wanted to make sure I took this test once and get a very high score like many of you want to as well I image.

Nonetheless, my anal and worrisome persona is your gain and hopefully, you can make a quicker decision than I did in making your decision on what textbook to purchase.

My review of Wendell Odom's Textbook:

Wendall Odom's textbook, CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802, is currently selling on Amazon for around $35. There are two textbooks for a total around 1400 + pages. My hang up with wanting to purchase Odom's textbook was the fact that his textbook are certified through Cisco and since the test and the nature of the job is based on Cisco's network infrastructure, then by default, it seemed like a no brainier. However, when reading through the comment reviews, some of the more negative comments were the material was too dry and too much overkill on a subject. Also, some of the other comments made was, too technical and didn't explain it clearer.

Some of the positives comments made were, the terminologies were similar on the test and what Lammle lacked in presenting the material, Odom covered more in depth. Some of the other favorable comments made were the material was well presented and covered what it needed to be covered for the test. In my opinion, I found this to be true. After reading Lammle's textbook, some of the topics that I didn't quite understand or material that Lammle covered, I was able to get more information from reading Odom's textbook. I also like Odom's practice exams, which were quite difficult for me and I scored low on the first two tests and then got better scores on the the third and forth test. The other aspect I didn't like about Odom's textbook was, I wished he had better examples on some of the subject matter, which I did like about Lammle's textbook.

My review of Todd Lammle's textbook:

I was leaning heavily on Todd Lammle's textbook, CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide: Exam 640-802, for two reasons, first his textbook had about 400 less pages than Wendell Odom's textbook. Second, there were more comments made for Todd's book and plus, he received a lot of '5' ranking scores. A lot of the positive comments made for Todd's book was the fact that he really explained the material well and concise and covered what needed to be on the test. There were also favorable comments made that his test helped them pass the test and they enjoyed the humor and easy to read and understand material.

Some of the negative comments made was, there seemed to be a good number of errors, mainly grammatical and some content related. I did find this to be true but not enough to really offset the overall content of the book. You'll find a lot of computer textbooks to have quite a number of errors as least I find this to be true.

What I really liked about Todd's textbook compared to Wendell's textbook was, what took Wendell 5 pages to discuss, Todd covered this material in about a page. I thought Todd covered what needed to be discussed in fewer pages than it took Wendell to discuss in 5 pages. I also liked the quick questions that Todd's book asked after each chapter and sometimes throughout the texts to see if you understood the material.

So which textbook should you buy? My recommendation:

You may or may not like my answer but this is probable your best chance to succeed in passing the do want to pass the first time right? Your decision on which textbook to buy is based on how you learn. If the way you learn is by reading thoroughly on a subject and you need to learn all aspects of a subject, then you should purchase Wendell Odom's textbook,CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802), Third Edition (Containing ICND1 and ICND2 Second Edition Exam Certification Guides). That is not to say that Todd Lammle's textbook does not cover everything. Mr. Odom's textbook is geared towards the reader who wants a complete and thorough understanding of the subject, which may or may not be covered on the test. The other advantage of the textbook compared to Todd's textbook is, you have better assurance that the material that is covered in the book, is certified by Cisco.

On the other hand, if you are someone who is able to learn concepts with a more narrow and direct approach to learning, than Todd Lammle's textbook,CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide: Exam 640-802, is the better choice. Not only that, there is about 400 less pages you have to read. Also, Todd's textbook is well written and has good examples and questions that help solidify your understanding of the material.

My last say on this subject is, for only $80, you can get two top quality training textbooks for under $100 dollars. Most of my computer textbooks are on average, $150 each and some of these textbooks don't even measure up to the quality of technical writing that is presented in both of these textbooks. So if you really don't want to take my advice, get both and you'll have that insurance and assurance that you have the best textbooks available.

Good luck with your decision and even better, good luck with your test!

I passed!