Head First PMP Book Review – Should You Buy It?

Head First PMP 3rd Edition Book Review

Head First PMP

Title: Head First PMP

Latest Edition: 3rd Edition

Based On: PMBOK Guide 5th Edition

Amazon’s Best Seller?: Yes

Kindle Edition Available?: Yes

Authors: Jennifer Greene, PMP & Andrew Stellman, PMP

Published By: O’Reilly Media

Publishing Year: 2013

Pages: 894

Short Description: A Learner’s Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam.

 

I have written this post to do Head First PMP 3rd edition book review. This book is based on PMBOK Guide 5th edition. Let me give you an overview of the book, how well it is written, and what are its pros & cons. You can also read my article on Head First vs Rita Mulcahy, Andy Crowe and Kim Heldman that compares this book against other best selling books.

 

Head First PMP – A Brain Friendly Guide

I was an avid reader of fiction books till I was in college. Nowadays, I rarely read fiction books. My priorities have changed. Although, my reading propensity has not diminished, but my preferences have changed. These days, I read books on varied subjects.

My first brush with this book happened in the year 2010. One of my training partners gave me the book to read. I started the book and completed it within a day. I just loved the way it was written. The book brought back memories of my college days. It is a regular subject book that has a flavor of fiction. I wish this book should have been published in the year 2005 when I did my PMP certification.

Let us come to the current day. In last few years, I have read and referred to this book a number of times. After 2010, a new edition of the book has been published and I have kept myself abreast with the new edition.


Head First PMP Study Guide

The book is written in a very light and engaging manner. The language is easy to understand and lucid. Apart from the simple & easy language, the book explains the subject through numerous diagrams, charts, and figures. The authors of this book have written a few other books also. All their books follow the same easy-to-understand theme. if you have studied & liked any of their other books, you would love this book also.

Unlike many other books on the same subject, you can read this book without much boredom or exhaustion. As you read the book, you get instant understanding of the PMP Exam topics. Every chapter of the book starts with a small story. The authors use this story as the center point for explaining the PMP topics. They explain the topics through a series of small examples and anecdotes that are based on the initial story.

In every chapter, there are small exercises, crosswords and fill-in-the-blanks, that are very useful in remembering the PMP concepts. At the end of every chapter there are sample PMP questions that gives the reader a thorough revision of the chapter.

The biggest strength of this book is also its weakness. The language of the book is simple and easy, but it is written casually. The casualness helps in understanding the topics quickly. However, at the same time, it gives a false sense of confidence to the PMP aspirant. Many aspirants start feeling that the PMP exam is easy. This can be detrimental for the exam preparation and could lead to undesirable consequences.

The Head First PMP is written in a manner that helps the reader in understanding the project management concepts quickly and easily. But, its structure & language is very different from the PMBOK Guide. This sometimes creates problems for the readers. I have noticed that some readers are not able to correlate the book’s concepts with the Guide’s terminology. The correct understanding and the usage of the Guide’s terminology is important for passing the PMP Exam. Otherwise, the Exam questions might go wrong.

Overall, Head First PMP is a good book but it may not be suitable for everyone.

USP

The book teaches the PMBOK Guide concepts through visuals and small exercises.

Pros

  1. This book based on the idiom “a picture is worth thousand words”. It is replete with diagrams, figures, charts & pictures that enhance the whole learning process.
  2. This book continuously probes the reader with mid-chapter quizzes, crosswords & exercises. This helps in long term retention of the learned concepts.
  3. This book provides memory joggers, small hints, tricks, and tips for attempting the PMP exam questions.
  4. It is very easy to study, understand and finish the book. Even students with very little project management experience find it easy to read.
  5. Overall the book creates a very good learning platform.

Cons

  1. The flow and language of the book is a bit casual. At many places, it does not capture the essence of the PMBOK Guide.
  2. Many PMP exam topics are not covered in sufficient detail. So, you need to refer to other sources to complete your study.
  3. The book has many minor mistakes that are not in conformance with the PMBOK Guide. These mistakes, sometimes lead to wrong understanding of the PMBOK Guide’s concepts. It is advisable to read the Guide after studying this book.

 

PM-by-PM Rating

Ease of Study:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Coverage of Topics:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Questions & Exercises:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Conformance to PMBOK® Guide:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Exam Focus:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Price:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Final Rating:4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

 

PM-by-PM Recommends

Head First PMP is a good book for the PMP Exam preparation especially for students whose native language is not English. The book is writen in a simple and lucid manner that appeals to most of the people. It is one of the best selling PMP reference book.

Head First PMP is a good companion book for the PMBOK Guide. You can start your PMP preparation with this book and start reading the PMBOK Guide after finishing this book.

Click Here to Buy the Book in USA Click Here to Buy the Book in UK Click Here to Buy the Book in India

 

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Disclosure: I have not received any compensation (in cash or kind) from the Authors or the Publishers or anyone else associated with the book for writing this article. But this article contains affiliate links – it means that, if you click & buy from these links then, I will receive a small commission. This commission helps me in maintaining this blog for free. However, you don’t pay anything extra. I do not actively use this book since I am already certified. But, I recommend only those products that I believe will definitely help the certification aspirants.