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What Is the Most Influential Programming Book?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the best-of-class dept.

Books 624

First time accepted submitter AlexDomo writes "If you could go back in time and tell yourself to read a specific book at the beginning of your career as a developer, which book would it be? Since it was first posed back in 2008, this question has now become the second most popular question of all time on StackOverflow. The top 5 results are: Code Complete (2nd Edition), The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, The C Programming Language, and Introduction to Algorithms."

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624 comments

Deitel & Deitel (3, Insightful)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304824)

'nuff said

Re:Deitel & Deitel (2, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304860)

Charles Petzold.

Programming Windows, First Edition
http://www.charlespetzold.com/pw5/ProgWinEditions.html [charlespetzold.com]

Sad. But TRUE!

Re:Deitel & Deitel (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305164)

Oooof. That hurts. That's

C++ version (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305146)

That would be my #1 choice. I've read most of the CS classics, and they're good. But I really *got* programming after reading Deitel's C++ textbook from cover-to-cover attempting at least half the exercises.

Petzold's Programming Windows comes second place.

Followed by Knuth's 2nd installation.

SAM I AM (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304826)

Sam Publishing's Teach Yourself C++ In 21 days was a teenage "favorite" of mine.

Bah! Pretenders! (5, Informative)

leftover (210560) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304844)

Everyone knows it: Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming"

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (0)

Chaosrains (1778770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304858)

If only I had mod points...

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304890)

Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson.

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305068)

Damn straight. You beat me to it.

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305170)

Got the first three volumes as a HS graduation present from my parents. Don't use it as much as I should, but that's because I'm not a programmer anymore.

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305178)

The only CS book where 99% of the people touting it have never read it!

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305190)

TAOCP is only useful for college students who want to look smart in the eyes of their clueless classmates.

In reality, it's terrible from a didactic standpoint. MIX is an impractical and verbose language, and an overall horrible way to explain algorithms to any audience. TAOCP is only interesting for the exercises, which most people will ignore for being too difficult to be solved during a casual read.

The only reason this book makes Top N lists is because people are intimidated by it, and peer pressure prevents them from treating it like the mess that it is.

Re:Bah! Pretenders! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305266)

MIX was intentionally problematic to avoid dependencies on platform assumptions that might not be portable -- a questionable tactic, but it was intentional. For the rest, it's a valuable reference (I've used it since college), but not really didactic.

My two cents.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304852)

My top 2: Numerical recipes in 'C', Press et al, and Discrete Mathematics, Dieker and Voxman.

Re:My two cents.. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304972)

More influential is CJ Date's [wikipedia.org] An Introduction to Database Systems. Many C and other structured programs have used numerical recipes or inspiration from NRiC, but all database systems written or revised since 1977 are directly (and indirectly) influenced by aItDS.

Though the most influential programming book overall [slashdot.org] is K&R.

Re:My two cents.. (1)

1729 (581437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305010)

My top 2: Numerical recipes in 'C', ...

Yep, that's an excellent example of how NOT to write numerical computations.

Visual Basic for dumbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304856)

There i said it.

Re:Visual Basic for dumbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304908)

You spelled 'dummies' wrong, so now I have to wonder if you really meant that.

Re:Visual Basic for dumbies (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304946)

You misspelled "dummies", dummy. You said it, all right.

The C programming language (4, Insightful)

drodal (1285636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304864)

by  k and r

Re:The C programming language (2)

swinefc (91418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304886)

First edition, K&R. None of this ANSI standard stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_C_Programming_Language [wikipedia.org]

Re:The C programming language (2)

mikewas (119762) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304998)

Some of us keep both the Old Testament & the New Testament on our desks

Re:The C programming language (0)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305020)

Which does nothing to further your mastery of coding.

Re:The C programming language (2)

sbraab (100929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305070)

I prefer to think of them as the King James and New International Version. Sometimes, though, you have to go back to the original TeX manuscripts and do your own rendering.

Re:The C programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305158)

They were typeset using Troff.

Re:The C programming language (1)

jomcty (806483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305072)

Amen brother. Amen.

The One Book All Coders Should Read (5, Insightful)

SpinningAround (449335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304870)

Is Fred Brook's "The Mythical Man-Month".

Re:The One Book All Coders Should Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305022)

The One Book All Coders Should Read

You can't be a Good Coder (TM) unless you've read the books I have read!

Re:The One Book All Coders Should Read (2)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305112)

I thought about this one as well but I decided not to post because TMMM is really about program management, not programming, per se. Still, it is a fabulous book that every engineer and manager should read, study, and practice.

It is about programming (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305204)

I thought about this one as well but I decided not to post because TMMM is really about program management, not programming, per se.

It's about programming in the sense that it helps you recognize when you are entering a project that will spiral down, so you can avoid emotional attachment or get out if possible.

And from the other angle if many developers have read it they can help steer the project away from that course early.

Re:The One Book All Coders Should Read (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305156)

I've read it. It was also in the top 10 in the full article.

Re:The One Book All Coders Should Read (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305282)

That's the one I was going to suggest. Programming is about more than coding, and TMMM covers a lot of the stuff that a lot of programmers seem to lack.

Apple ][ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304874)

My first programming book was actually Assembly Lines: The Book by Roger Wagner. I had taught myself Apple Basic but my code was too slow. So I got this book and learned my first assembly programming (8-bit 6502). It had a major influence.

Gang of Four (2)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304876)

Great book on design patterns, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software [wikipedia.org] .

There's also this ruby-flavored version, and since I've been on a ruby kick for quite some time now, I devoured it within a couple of days. It's called Design Patterns in Ruby [designpatternsinruby.com] .

Hope somebody hasn't heard of these, they'll get a damn good read (or, two, if you take on both). Although for the majority of Slashdot, I'd be really surprised if this recommendation doesn't come from a million people. The original GoF made it around quite a bit.

Thanks, GoF, for all the Java and C# bloat. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305016)

History will show that far more harm than good has come out of the GoF book. The fact that some Java and C# practitioners consider it to be a "holy book", and have then proceeded to apply its suggestions EVERYWHERE possible (even when this is a horrible idea), has rendered it so harmful.

It was easier to work with spaghetti C, Pascal, Fortran and BASIC code in the 1970s and 1980s than it is to work with the excessively-architectured and bloated Java and C# code written in the 1990s and 2000s that's rife with every "design pattern" imaginable.

Only a GoF advocate can take a simple problem that can be solved in three or four lines of Java code and turn it into a situation where ten classes implementing seven different patterns are used. In a moderately complex software system, this will result in extreme bloat and very convoluted code.

At least the C++ community saw it for the bullshit that it is. While they went somewhat template-crazy at times, at least they managed to avoid the sheer stupidity of "design patterns", for the most part. That's probably why most real software today is written in C++.

Re:Thanks, GoF, for all the Java and C# bloat. (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305186)

At least the C++ community saw it for the bullshit that it is. While they went somewhat template-crazy at times, at least they managed to avoid the sheer stupidity of "design patterns", for the most part. That's probably why most real software today is written in C++.

Ouch. So you're one of those then eh. I love how you say the C++ community saw it for the bullshit that it was, but then leave out the part where there have been hundreds of books published that relate the GoF patterns to C++. But then, I guess the Java community probably wrote those books too.

Re:Gang of Four (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305074)

Great book on design patterns, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software [wikipedia.org] .

I was going to mention Design Patterns too, but you beat me to it. I second the vote. Along with The C Programming Language and Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment one of the best programming books I've ever read.

Re:Gang of Four (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305172)

Yeah, this book changed my career. I think it's by far the best book in my software design collection. I've read it > 5 times, and I still pull it out from time to time and read a chapter or two.

Software Tools by Kernighan and Plauger, 1976 (2)

Doctor-R (885000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304882)

This book shows how to build software tools to bootstrap from a crummy environment (FORTRAN on IBM 370) to a much more productive environment. Stop whining, get coding, build tools. Expounds on tool pipelines based on Unix pipes. .

The correct order (5, Interesting)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304894)

The correct order should be:

  1. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs [mit.edu] by H.Abelson and G.Sussman with J.Sussman
  2. Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics [mit.edu] (sic!) by G.Sussman and J.Wisdom with M.Mayer
  3. Operating Systems Design and Implementation [wikipedia.org] by A.Tanenbaum and A.Woodhull
  4. Modern Operating Systems [wikipedia.org] by A.Tanenbaum
  5. The Art of Computer Programming Volume 1 [stanford.edu] by D.Knuth
  6. The Art of Computer Programming Volume 2 [stanford.edu] by D.Knuth
  7. The Art of Computer Programming Volume 3 [stanford.edu] by D.Knuth
  8. The Art of Computer Programming Volume 4 [stanford.edu] by D.Knuth

I am sure that The Art of Computer Programming Volume 5 [stanford.edu] by D.Knuth will be next on the list. I have seriously been counting the years to the estimated 2020.

I only regret that Gerry Sussman hasn't written more books and hasn't recorded more talks. I will buy everything he writes and I will listen to everything he says. Please, Gerry! If you read this then please drop everything you do and just start talking to the camera. I have watched your every talk and lecture that I could possibly find on the Internet many times - from the 1986 lectures at MIT to your lecture on mechanical watches. I seriously believe that everything you say should be recorded for future generations. I don't know anyone else who can talk about anything at all and I listen breathlessly like I was hypnotized. I'm sure that many people here could say the same. Let this be an open letter to Gerald Jay Sussman: Please write more books and please record more lectures for the sake of the future of computer science. And thank you for your outstanding contribution that you have made so far. It is something that has shaped literally generations of passionate enthusiasts of programming. Thank you.

Re:The correct order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305134)

Not bad for a Mensa babe.

Re:The correct order (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305230)

It's a good list but I feel like you shouldn't have operating system design over TAOCP, most programmers are operating at a level of abstraction these days over the base operating system in a way that makes that knowledge less valuable.

Most influential on me... (4, Interesting)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304896)

John von Neumann: Theory of self-reproducing automata, 1966

Debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304902)

http://www.amazon.com/Debugging-David-J-Agans/dp/0814474578 [amazon.com]

Pretty good book. I dont buy many. The others have already been mentioned.

Read it. It puts into words how to debug things.

Learning Perl (2)

ltcmus (661027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304906)

Great starter book for non-cs types.

Re:Learning Perl (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305154)

Actually, if you want to go with perl all the way, then it'll be three - Learning Perl, the first edition of Advanced Perl Programming and Mastering Algorithms in Perl. Or, picturewise, the llama book, the panther book and the wolf book. As good a start as any, perhaps, but in no way substitute for Knuth.

The Art of Unix Programming (3, Insightful)

egork (449605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304918)

Re:The Art of Unix Programming (1)

1729 (581437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304990)

A better one is The UNIX-HATERS Handbook (http://simson.net/ref/ugh.pdf). Until you realize how terrible[1] Unix is, any program you write is suspect.

[1]: Yes, like most folks here, I use Unix-like systems almost exclusively. Donald A Norman sums it up well in the Foreward: "A horrible system, except that all the other commercial offerings are even worse."

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304924)

I am also very excited about SLAUGHTERHOUSE FUENF !! Anything with VP, really !! Messy, messy thing. De-programming especially is a bitch !!

C64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304926)

The Commodore 64 Programmers Guide

Re:C64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305038)

The Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide, if you please.

Code Complete (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304934)

This went a long way towards making me better at programming larger, non-academic-assignment programs.

IPC in UNIX: The Nooks and Crannies (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304936)

The value of book largely depends on your skills at the time... "Code Complete" was pretty good, but you need to be already an adept programmer to see the value of its advice.

I really wish I had read "Interprocess Communications in UNIX: The Nooks and Crannies (2nd Edition)" earlier. It's not the thickest book but it is the most information dense one I own. In today's environment of multicore and SMT CPUs, any programmer should have a deep understanding of IPC. An excellent partner to a good C book.

K&R C (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304938)

The C Programming Language [wikipedia.org] by Kernighan and Ritchie (popularly known as "K&R") is certainly, objectively (puns intended), and probably demonstrably, the most influential programming book. It was a strong, probably primary, influence on every one of the titles suggested in this story. Indeed, it is something like the "ur-text [wikipedia.org] " of modern programming - the vast majority of all programming, since it was first published in 1978. It has influenced programs, programmers and programming books. The influence dependency tree of programming books revolves around K&R.

I say this despite (or perhaps as demonstrated by) the K&R block brace style, which I abhor. It saves a line to destroy column coherence. And despite popularizing the unitary "var++" (eg. in for() loops), rather than the semantically more consistent "++var". And a hundred other quirks Kernighan and Ritchie infected into programming (and programming books, and thereby programmers). The persistence of which is just part of the ample proof of K&R's paramount influence.

Re:K&R C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304968)

I worked at Bell Labs and sat around the corner in the building from them in the 1980's.

Re:K&R C (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305034)

Were they the wild and crazy guys of story and song?

Re:K&R C (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305126)

In spoken conversation, did they speak as succinctly as they wrote C? Or did they say articles and occasional runon sentences :)?

Did you ever hear them defend their braces style? Why not
foo()
{
        bar();
}

? And why semicolons instead of periods? If only I had a time machine...

Re:K&R C (0)

joe_kull (238178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305012)

Wow, 1978? That's only ten years after the first volume of The Art of Computer Programming.

Re:K&R C (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305100)

And in that decade tAoCP influenced many. But K&R influenced many more. tAoCP influences people at the highest levels of programming; its influence on the masses is diluted - and felt more after its influence passes through K&R. K&R influences many, and influences them more.

If tAoCP influenced more programming, programming would be better. K&R just influenced programming to make more programs.

Re:K&R C (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305188)

...And despite popularizing the unitary "var++" (eg. in for() loops), rather than the semantically more consistent "++var" ... You do realise that ++var and var++ are both valid C and do different things, right?

Re:K&R C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305268)

He almost certainly does. They do different things and that was, I think, his point.

Re:K&R C (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305270)

...And despite popularizing the unitary "var++" (eg. in for() loops), rather than the semantically more consistent "++var" ...
You do realise that ++var and var++ are both valid C and do different things, right?

Q.E.D.

Commodore 64 Programmers Reference Guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304948)

I still have mine. Schematics in the back. First edition (Had a c64 with a 4 digit serial number)

Taught me the machine, how it worked inside and out by the time I was 8 years old.

Two thumbs up would recommend.

Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304956)

...so you can spot the BS and hysterical religion when some idiot consultant comes up with their new XXX driven development or Agile methodology, or tries to replace on perfectly good framework, set of design patterns or tools with a new one that promises to be the best thing since sliced bread.

But seriously I think it's important to start kids young. My first books were on Apple IIe BASIC. In those days BASIC was what a lot of kids had access to. I saw LOGO later. I wouldn't change that. I'd change the books and systems I tried to use as a teenager and young adult though - MFC and Windows coding was such a waste of time given where my career went. And I never got far.

Agree with the previous AC about Mythical Man Month. Love the classic idea of a manager who needs a baby to meet a 1 month deadline throwing 9 women at the problem instead of one woman for 9 months. But I think you can get the gist without reading a whole book about it.

K&R is iconic, but not a good beginner's book at all, and while it does cover some things in great depth it does leave plenty out and is well dated now. Worth reading, but not first. It's good for understanding how the guts of the machine work but as C has been in decline for some time some of today's new coders will likely never use it.

I've never actually read Code Complete, but it sounds like a good introduction to a lot of ideas if you've not done a degree.

Re:Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305196)

The gist of MMM is not anywhere near what you say. Even if we just wanted to cover that single chapter, the points is not just that you can't add more people to speed up a process, but that adding more people to a late project make the project go even later.

And still you'd be missing at least two chapters that are at least equally as important:
-There Is No Silver Bullet
-Plan To Throw One Away

Which are what makes Brook's little green book timeless, despite how badly some other chapters have aged. This is why MMM sits in my small bookshelf at work, along with Peopleware, Pragmatic Programmer, Lessons Learned in Software Testing, Go4 and Agile Software Development Principles, while K&R stays at home: More a piece of history than something I need today.

The Design and Evolution of C++ (1)

AddisonW (2318666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304962)

The Design and Evolution of C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Evolution-C-Bjarne-Stroustrup/dp/0201543303 [amazon.com]

This is the book that turned me into a grown up in the world of computer languages. It is the book that brought unparalleled insight and wisdom into every other computer language book, discussion about computer languages, or actual real world use of computer languages since reading.

Re:The Design and Evolution of C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305004)

The book was amazing...

However it does make pretty much any Internet C++ discussion too painful to read with idiots babbling about how come C++ "doesn't have bulletpoint X yet".

It's too bad there isn't some alternate Internet where only people who have read that book can post about C++ and none of the shitty Perl, Python, etc hacks that are drawn like swarming annoying insects to a wonderful picknick.

Re:The Design and Evolution of C++ (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305054)

Python's not THAT bad.

Stroustrup is a good author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305060)

For a nonnative english speaker, Stroustrup has a very good command of the english language. It gives appreciation of good code.

If I could turn back time (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304964)

If I could go back in time that far, I wouldn't be worried about telling myself to read some book, I would tell myself to buy MSFT stock in 1981, and Apple stock in 1983, and sell short in October '87 etc

If you could turn back time (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305006)

You kidding? You don't even need to go that far back to rake in dough on stocks.

Wish I was paying attention to things when Google came around..

K&R (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304974)

Next question?

K&R (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304980)

K&R as far as long-lasting impact. But my sentimental favorite? Doug Cooper's "Oh! Pascal!" I still have a copy of it.

Death March (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37304982)

Anyone embarking on any career in IT should read Edward Yourdons Death March. Learn to recognise, and not contribute to, flawed projects. You can be as technically savvy as they come but no amount of technical skill will allow you to code your way out of a truly f@#!ked project.

Z-80 Assembly manual (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304986)

The most influential programming book I owned was the first one I owned: The Z-80 Assembly manual. That got me started on real programming. The TRS-80 may not have been a great machine compared to what we have now, but it was a great bare-bones-metal learning tool.

agree (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305290)

the first 'programming books' that i read were "family and home office computing magazine", typing shit into a ti-99/4a.

then there were the kids programming books with simple ass little projects.

later on, there was Babbage's , and the giant purple MSDOS book by Microsoft that nobody remembers

then the Turbo Pascal 7.0 manual, with its introduction to object oriented programming.

these grown up "classic" books are just a bunch of egg head bullshit. especially Knuth, the hipster's guide to fucking up software (TeX being the fixed gear cycling of the computer world)

It's one not on the list (2)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304992)

It's "I, Robot" from Isaac Asimov. How many read that book early on and thought "I can do better than those three rules"...

IBM System/360 Principles of Operation (2)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37304996)

The book that started it all.

Re:IBM System/360 Principles of Operation (0)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305084)

I would argue that Euclid's Elements was the book that started it all. Without it your (or at least my) first program wouldn't have been a simple little ditty to compute the area of a circle using RSTS/E Basic+.

Re:IBM System/360 Principles of Operation (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305168)

Yeah, not the Ned Chapin horror. He's one of those people who can write and write and write and not communicate a single clear concept.

Stackoverflow answered this one already years ago (1)

the-matt-mobile (621817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305014)

Strange. 10 years ago I used to get my news from slashdot first. Now, not so much anymore. This list is pretty exhaustive and has more backing than I expect you'd find anywhere else, including here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1711/what-is-the-single-most-influential-book-every-programmer-should-read [stackoverflow.com]

the Most Influential Programming Book? (4, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305030)

Dianetics.

Re:the Most Influential Programming Book? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305284)

I think they call that "re-programming".

C64 related books (1)

VanessaE (970834) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305062)

Namely, the C64 Programmer's Reference Guide, and more importantly, Machine Language for the C64 [...] by Jim Butterfield.

Oh! I know! I know! (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305090)

The one you read? As opposed to hollow out to keep a flask of scotch in it?

Practical C Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305092)

Practical C Programming by Oulaline

Advanced Unix Programming, by Rochkind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305102)

My first Marc Rochkind explains the Unix environment and the shell in such a way that you can write your own. It was simply awesome when I was in college. I had a very good understanding of how to write a program to do anything on Unix after walking through that book. Great reference, too.

Second was the "dragon book" (Aho, Seti, Ullman).

Third was Richard Stevens "Unix Network Programming" (before there were multiple volumes).

For me it was: Choose your Own Adventure books (5, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305104)

I never read any programming book that has helped me significantly. But I remember copying code from magazines on a TI-99 before I knew how to do multiplication. I just copied the code one line at a time, and it either ran or didn't. The best thing I could do was print rockets. I didn't understand anything until I was 12 and got the IF-THEN statement. Once I had that, I was able to write branching games similar to my Choose your Own Adventure Books. After that the world was wide open.

How To Win Friends And Influence People - Carnagie (3, Insightful)

2TecTom (311314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305124)

In terms of success, people skills are more useful than programming skills.

Agreed (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305218)

In terms of success, people skills are more useful than programming skills.

I completely agree with you. It's nice to see someone contribute to this discussion who is so clever and intelligent.
Clever, intelligent, and handsome -if I might say so.

The Unix Philosophy (1)

i58 (886024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305142)

If you haven't read this you're missing out. It's the "why" that you won't find in a mere programming book. They all focus on the "how". It really opened my eyes, and I give a copy to every person that interns with me to read. http://www.amazon.com/UNIX-Philosophy-Mike-Gancarz/dp/1555581234 [amazon.com]

The UNIX Programming Environment (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305198)

UNIX and Unix 4ever

Any high school geometry textbook (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305214)

Seriously, doing proofs taught me more about logic and algorithm and problem solving than anything else. But yeah, also K&R.

Stevens: Unix Network Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37305220)

Vol 1 and Vol 2. Plus TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, 2 and 3.

If you are doing any network programming, these books are amazing. Plus it all applies to Unix, Linux, Windows, and Mac.

Turbo C Reference Guide? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305250)

My first computer was a Commodore 64 and I learned programming and general computer use on that, and most stuff was either Basic or Machine Language on that. When I got an XT and wanted to learn programming, I looked at both Turbo C and Turbo Basic in the local Radio Shack store (they were side by side on the shelf and exactly the same price, as I recall) and bought Turbo Basic because I figured I knew a bit more about Basic and it would be easier to get started doing things.

In hindsight I should have bought and learned Turbo C instead. I got to be pretty darn good with Basic programming and wrote some cool stuff with Turbo Basic (including some "shareware" that made a pretty decent buck for a while), but some years later I discovered two things:

1. C wasn't very hard to learn; in fact it took me less time to "get started" with C than it did when I started learning Basic programming on the XT.

2. I could do some cool stuff with Basic but similar stuff could be done more easily and directly with C. In other words, stuff that required a lot of "bending" in Basic could just be done in C without much fuss at all.

So in hindsight, I wish I had read the Turbo C Reference Manual when I first got my XT.

Divide it into 3 categories (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305252)

I would say you would have to have 3 separate categories for this particular award:

1. Best computer science/algorithms book
Here I like MITs Introduction to Algorithms book and of course, Dr. Knuths tomes

2. Best programming(as in turning algorithms and ideas into computer code) book:
I am partial to Peter Van Der Lindens work, but thats just me.

3. Best book about computing in the "real world"
My vote goes to Mythical Man Month.

Should go to the right (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305276)

No different from any other slashdot poll.

BASIC (1)

KingKaneOfNod (583208) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305278)

I don't remember any of the book titles, but I do remember borrowing many BASIC books from the local library, entering all the sample code into GWBASIC and then playing around with it to see what I could make it do. I suppose if I'd never found those books I probably would never have gotten into computer programming.

After that there weren't really any books; when I moved onto Pascal I learnt from some tutorials I found on a BBS, then I learnt C from internet guides and Java from university. Who reads books anymore when all the information you really need to learn this stuff is on the internet, easily locatable via Google?

Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0: Programmer's Guide (1)

fogbrain99 (1122057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37305306)

Influential: Having influence. Nuff said.
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