Reading this book will help you "get" Akka, to understand how best to approach programming with actors and futures. One unique feature of this book is that it is written in a refreshingly entertaining style for a tech book. As a sample, check out this snippet from the introduction to the chapter on futures:
We’ve come to the second great axis of Akka’s concurrency paradigm, the future. Futures have been around for a while now, but you’ve probably never seen them like this. These are futures on steroids; tiger steroids, laced with the blood of Superman, dripping with the testosterone of Batman, and in- fused with the power of Green Lantern’s Ring. If you’re not ready to have your brain set on fire, close this book, curl up in the fetal position, and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star softly to yourself until you’re good to go.
The future and the actor share a certain number of similarities as well as differences, but they are also designed to work together very well. In this chapter, we’ll see these similarities and differences as well as explore some patterns for tying the two components together.
I'm *surprised* to see that you found the style of the narration "entertaining". I personally found it disturbing, and at times simply annoying. However, within that sugar-coating there is a rather good book underneath. I'm trying to salvage that, by marking what all I find excessive. I hope Artima would like to see those notes.
To me, this book got to print without editing. I read my entertaining elsewhere, and for programming books I prefer concise, well flowing text. The "jokes" mostly stand in the way, and i.e. it takes some 60 pages to get anywhere practical in the book.
Luckily, there are new versions of Akka already out, and at some point the book should be revised. I hope the entertainment gets ruled out.
Frankly, I was expecting better of Artima. The "staircase book" (2nd ed) is an amazingly readable and well-flowing book.