|The stupid question is the question not asked|
I've been hacking at this book for a little while now, and I am pretty impressed with it. The firs thing that struck me about it was just how available the meat of the book was.
I never studied much math (at least not this kind of math, I was going to be an automotive engineer) or biology in College. Yet, when reading this book, I grokked almost all the concepts, and was able to surmise from context just what tha authors were getting at when I did not.
You might be surprised that with a title like Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills that a decent size portion of the book is actually dedicated to perl. There is some coverage of Python and Csh scripting as well. In general, however, this book is not intended to be read as a "perl book" like, say, The Camel would be. Nay, it is intended for people wanting to move into bioinformatics who need to begin to learn things like perl and unix.
That having been said, this book even provides an excellent (if terse) introduction to Unix, the shell, and even perl. Seems to me, just about any Scientist could pick this book up and begin hacking perl, or begin to think about bioinformatics from a practical or applied point of view. Certainly one could begin to understand the relevant terminology after reading this book.
Being an OReilly book, I naturally approached it with a higher expectation than I do with, say, Que or Sams. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The authors appear to be Linux (redhat) Zealots, and as such, the tone of the book is friendly yet comprehensive, jovial yet casually serious. You understand what I mean if you've read many of the other ORA books.
I have made recent posts discussing my flirting with Bioinformatics and going back to school. If that thread struck a chord with anyone, I'd really suggest dropping the $25 on it. It's a good 1-2 day read and you'll probably even learn something. :-)