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Some people believe that the only way to get a great education on a certain subject is by enrolling in some sort of classroom based environment. While there is certainly something to be said for consistent student/teacher communication face-to-face, it is not necessarily the most optimal method for every subject. Computers are particularly well suited to self directed study; There are rarely any special tools required for study, and since all of the action takes place on a computer screen practice and studying can take place without the need for worksheets, tests, and things of that nature.
Computer books are often written by teachers and professors themselves, and if well written contain what amounts to a complete curriculum on the subject it intends to teach. Trying to learn a programming language or complex graphic design program is very difficult without some sort of written assistance. The learning curve in these kinds of environments is extremely steep. The interface will likely be unintuitive and require significant study to manipulate correctly; computer books often have step-by-step instructions accompanied by diagrams and images, an especially huge help for the novice.
For those that live in a fairly substantially populated area, chances are there will be excellent access to computer books on just about any subject one of the local bookstores. For those in more remote and rural areas, ordering them from an online book retailer may be a more feasible option. Of course, one of the best things about the nature of the internet is all of the user generated content it naturally produces. Many people publish their own books and writings online to be distributed at absolutely no cost. With some judicious searching, one is actually quite likely to find excellently written literature by well informed individuals on most computer-related subjects.
When using a computer book to further one's understanding of a subject, it seems inevitable that obstacles are encountered. If help is required, while you can't consult the teacher for an explanation of its contents, but there are many talented and helpful people on message boards worldwide who are happy to be of service. One shouldn't be afraid to rely on the expertise of others during frustrating times. Each of us learns and interprets things differently, so the book should be used primarily as a guide. One should feel free to explore and experiment on their own, as it is during these times that often the most is learned!