As a Java programmer I need to learn algorithms (for programming Challenges). I read some Head First Series (JAVA owned by me) and they are pretty brain friendly. So I was wondering is there any algorithm book that will be simple to understand and also goes to the crux of each algo.
Personally I learned with Algorithm Design Manual by Steven S.Skiena, and currently use Algorithms In a Nutshell to as a quick reference for algorithms I don't implement to much. Algorithms In a Nutshell uses both Java, Ruby, C, and C++ for its code examples but being a Java coder you shouldn't have too much trouble reading the C/C++ code snippets. And even if you couldn't read them, they aren't essential for understanding the algorithm, a full description is available purely based on text and pictures.
I found this
to be very helpful during my second year at the university.