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A New Way to Learn

By Mary Rotman
October 8, 2008 | Comments: 2

One of the challenges in technical book publishing is finding ways to reach audiences beyond our core computer programming crowd. O'Reilly's publishing partner No Starch Press has recently implemented one such idea. Their newest series of books are Manga Guides, based on Japanese best sellers. These books will cover essential scientific and technical subjects like statistics, physics, molecular biology, calculus, electricity, and relativity in fun and entertaining ways, while still teaching the core principals of each topic.

As they say in a recent press release, "The English translations of these Japanese best sellers retain their Japanese character (look for wisecracking fairies and examples about ramen noodle prices) while remaining eminently readable and clear."

"I'm extremely excited to bring a touch of originality to subjects that are often dry and dull" said No Starch Press founder William Pollock. "Manga turns out to be an amazing way to teach technical topics like statistics, database design, and even molecular biology. The nature of manga is such that reading it is like listening to a live lecture; a bit of an odd lecture, perhaps, but a compelling one. The learning comes naturally and effortlessly as readers progress through each story."

For more information about these upcoming books, see the press release for the Manga Guides or visit the catalog pages for The Manga Guide to Statistics and The Manga Guide to Databases.

Sample pages from The Manga Guide to Statistics:


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This is hardly new. Mangajin magazine was doing this sort of thing on these shores in the 1990s. And, obviously, manga were used as teach tools in Japan for ... well a long time.

The first two panels there remind me of a style of Victorian novel - where giggling young women react in airhead ways to young men patiently trying to explain science or nature to them.


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