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21 March 2015 Reply
I have an aversion to the Dummies series as well, but it's just a name. There's another series "Idiot's Guide to..." on many subjects; I'm not musically inclined and the author of "Idiot's Guide to Music Theory" really brought everything "down" to my level. (I admit I was desperate to grasp certain musical topics!)
Donald Knuth is a computer scientist who has written a series called "The Art of Computer Programming," of which there are several volumes. Everything is broken down to essential maths, code examples are written in an assembly language for a theoretical processor, I/O is presented in the form of punch cards... and it's all still relevant... I'm just not literate enough to make sense of what I read. Some folks state things low-level and universal. Some folks state things high-level, colloquial and accessible; this is what I need :) Despite this, I pull Knuth's book off the shelf after I feel like I've learned something just to review that low-level, universal, mathematical perspective.
Another great example is Simon Peyton Jones' TED talk on the British education system's focus on teaching computer science to young children. They teach middle-schoolers the quicksort by acting it out as a group! Brilliant! Trying to learn that in Pascal in high-school was... difficult. There's nothing complicated about algorithms, I just had the wrong book.