Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (International Edition) Stuart Russell Peter Norvig @ Rm80.00
Paperback: 1132 pages Publisher: Pearson Education; 2 edition (13 Jan 2003) Language English
The only misleading or confusing feature of this book is its subtitle. "A Modern Approach" may have been the case when it was written, but certainly isn't now.
This is the first serious book on AI that I read, and I found it to be extremely well written with the occasional lighthearted comment which made it relatively easy going.
In terms of entering the field today it is probably best read as a good solid primer in traditional AI methods which are still widely used and very useful in a variety of programming tasks.
It is very good at demonstrating the limitations of traditional approaches to AI relying on propositional calculus etc.
The only drawback is that it is limited to these domains. No treatment of evolutionary computation or anything related is provided, and modern multi-agent simulations are barely mentioned.
Overall this is not really a book to read if you want an overview of AI. It is better for getting a good solid understanding of the fundamentals.
My only gripe about the book (which really isn't about the book at all) is that the code base (which is still available online) is very out-of-date and getting it to work on (e.g.) modern versions of Linux is more trouble than it's worth. You're better off writing the programs yourself if you want a really good understanding of them.
Poor Place To Start Learning AI
This is not the best place to start learning about AI. The book is poorly written (to the extent that it can become confusing). There is also quite a lot of Maths (OK, you will have to come to terms with this eventually, but it is extremely offputting when one is trying to gain an overview of a topic). Better books to 'start with' are Alison Cawsey's 'Essence of AI' and 'Understanding Intelligence' Pfiefer & Scheier.