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Book Review: Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd Edition

I recently had the opportunity to look through a copy of Cisco Routers for the Desperate, 2nd Edition, written by Michael W. Lucas and published by No Starch Press.

Having worked fairly extensively with both Cisco routers and Cisco switches (see this tag archive for my Cisco-related posts), the information provided in this book was well below my knowledge level. It’s highly likely, then, that this is not a book that I would have purchased for my own personal use—simply stated, I’m not in the target market for this title. Instead, it’s administrators who have very little prior exposure to or experience with Cisco routers and Cisco switches who are the target market for this book. And for those people, this is a book that will get them started down the path of configuring and managing Cisco network equipment.

The book is comprehensive and thorough in introducing concepts that would be new to future network administrators, making sure that the basics are covered before moving on to other topics. The author does a good job of explaining each concept in an order that I felt was logical and made sense (again, trying to think like someone who would be new to this environment). On the down side, I personally felt the book could have used a bit more information in some areas, and I think the inclusion of BGP and HSRP was a stretch for the target audience. It’s my opinion the space taken on BGP and HSRP would have been better used to provide a few detailed examples of some of the concepts or configurations.

These “drawbacks”—and I use that term very loosely—don’t outweigh the overall usefulness of the book for the intended market. The author and the book have a strong focus on getting new users comfortable in the environment, so if you are brand new to managing a Cisco router and need somewhere—anywhere—to get started, Cisco Routers for the Desperate might be just the right starting place. For the more advanced users out there, this book wasn’t written for you, and you’re better off looking elsewhere for the in-depth content you are seeking.

Disclosure: No Starch Press provided a copy of this book for review at no cost. The fact that the book was provided at no cost did not influence my review.

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