Top critical review
some useful ideas, but lots of fluff, and bad editing
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2012
I've read about 70% of the book and I think its usefulness is winding down for me. I disagree with the reviewer that said everything here is for entry level QA staff. I've been doing software engineering (development and test engineering) for about 24 years now (about 7 years of that as an agile tester) and a lot of this book is new to me. The real value here for me is the material on the tourist metaphor of testing, or what Whittaker and others call "touring tests" (pun intended). These are essentially "styles" of tests that any experienced test engineer has used in the past. But what's new is the focus on testing a product through these tours.
Most software organizations split up testing responsibilities in a way where one test engineer is assigned a feature, and then he tests that feature from a lot of different angles - acceptance tests, error tests, stress tests, etc. Whittaker's approach, as espoused in this book, is to turn things 90 degrees around. Instead of the classic way, give a test engineer one angle and then have him test all features from that angle. This exercises connections between features, which is where more bugs (supposedly) live.
That's the thesis, and most of rest of the good part of the book is material to help explain that and flesh it out. Unfortunately, there's also a lot of material that's just filler, like poorly-written blog articles from Whittaker's coworkers. A lot of the rest of it sounds like his own blog posts, too, and one whole appendix is literally that! As an aside, I've gotta say that's a great job if you can get it - reuse material you wrote at your day job, and get paid a second time to publish it in a book. Awesome!
Unfortunately, for such a detail-oriented guy in a detail-oriented field like software testing, there are a lot of mistakes in Whittaker's text. The editor, assuming they actually paid one, did a distractingly poor job, at least on the Kindle version of the book. And the sections written by Whittaker's non-writer coworkers read just like emails - typos, grammar errors, inconsistencies, and all (the guy who uses backslashes when he means forward slashes is adorable when you consider he's paid by Microsoft). The writing feels very authentic for a blog, but not up to professional-grade standards for a book.
Inside this tiny book is a focused 60-page monograph struggling to meet an editor who can dig it out and reveal its genius to the world. There's some good stuff in here, but you'll have to work for it.
EDIT: Apparently I put this review on the paperback version of the book. I actually read the Kindle version of the book. I assume the text is the same, and since I didn't comment on the binding or page material, this review should be just as relevant.