After reading so many of these book reviews and wondering if they were accurate, it's time to contribute, help others and affirm that reviews regarding this book are indeed accurate. While I resented buying anything that says ..."for dummies" on it and have absolutely avoided doing so in the past, I must say that when I got my hands on this particular dummies book I was pleasantly surprised. While the others are mindlessly verbose for filler, this one is not. The writer sticks to what you really need to get started using this powerful application. It's was a classic situation: I needed a fast start and had to produce something useful in an unreasonably short timeframe. It worked. I've used this book as the starter and also purchased "a very heavy" book for the advanced work I yet need to do. It's a useful two-pronged approach that works. Thanks to Doug Wolf for some very nice, concise work!
Well this book is just what it professes to be, a book for the people who said "I've got this big program, now what?" It'll get you going on creating your first reports and getting productive on Crystal reports rather nicely and quickly. Especially if you already have reporting tool experience (just as simple as knowing how to use MS Access reporting tool or something else) you'll find it so easy to follow along! However if you're a power user, such as an Enterprise administrator or developer looking to add Crystal Reports data to your apps this book won't completely satisfy your needs, be prepared to step up to one of the more complete references after you're done with this book. Still though you'll want to start here. (Just as a side note: the price for Crystal Reports 8.5 the Complete Reference is cheaper here at Amazon.com than anywhere else including shipping).
This book is fine for the casual user of Crystal Reports. It has good examples and directs the reader firsthand through some of the really tough topics, like drilldown and cross-tab reporting. While it is an excellent introductory book for the novice, I really can't recommend the book for a more professional user. The book lacks the depth of content required for such a complex tool as Crystal. The book for that is Peck's "The Complete Guide to Crystal Reports 8". The thing this book really lacks for the casual user is possibly a section on conversion of earlier versions of CR to version 8. Otherwise, it is an outstanding way to dive right in to report building the Crystal Reports way.
If you want a great Tutorial on how to use Crystal Reports 8.0 or 8.5 this is the book for you. Once you get a good feel for the product and you need to delve into more complex reporting needs and scenarios the product manual would be your next step... or other reference books such as CRYSTAL REPORTS 8.5 - The Complete Reference, published by McGraw Hill/Osborne.
Continuing the high standards set in "Crystal Reports 6," Wolf makes fast work of learning and using Crystal Reports. The updates in the books clearly coincide with updates to the software while giving beginners immediately useful tips and tools.