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Book Review:
The Little Mac OS X Book

The Little Mac OS X Book, by Robin Williams. 802 pp. Peachpit Press, 2002. $29.99.

Beloved Mac writer Robin Williams rides to the rescue of new and new-ish users of OS X in The Little Mac OS X Book. The book stretches the definition of “little” at 802 pages, but readers making the transition to OS X will be glad that Williams allowed the length to expand to better serve the subject.
This latest entry in her best-selling series of Little Mac books (The Little Mac Book is now in its seventh edition; The Little iMac Book, in its third) covers the OS X experience from finding your way around the desktop and keyboard to using applications, sharing files and managing fonts in OS X and Classic.
The book is designed to accomodate both beginning and experienced Mac users. For readers who just got their first Mac or just installed OS X and don’t know where to start, there’s an overview and tutorial. Old hands at OS 9 are directed to the “Where Did it Go?” appendix, which shows where to find the OS X versions of favorite OS 9 features.
Each chapter deals with a theme, such as selecting, moving and copying files. (Think you can rely on your OS 9 instincts? Better take a look at the chapter.) To make sure you’re digesting what you’re reading, there’s a quiz after each chapter. However, don’t get the idea that Williams expects you to plow through the book from beginning to end. She actually encourages skipping around, and makes it easier to skim by placing a large grey dot at the top of the pages that contain essential information. An especially well-designed index makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
The book features plentiful, well-annotated illustrations and useful sidebars, including a guide to the most common three letter file extensions - for example, .xls is an Excel spreadsheet. Williams’ clear, friendly style supports and reassures readers without talking down. Very highly recommended.
– Elsa Travisano

Copyright ©2002 by Elsa Travisano. This article originally appeared in the October 2002 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.