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A Programmer's Bookshelf

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the good-question dept.

Books 362

An anonymous reader writes "With christmas just round the corner I have been looking for gifts for my geek friends. But what book? I recently found a simple page with one person's bookshelf and explain what's good and what's not. What do you think? Whats on a programmer's bookshelf? (or what should be and is not!)"

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362 comments

first post (5, Informative)

themusicgod1 (241799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238046)

goedel escher bach d:

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238103)

In the words of that eminent sage, Master Shake: "Hoop de damn doo!"

ASLAN DIES IN CoN : tL, tW & tW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238272)

Peter drops a rock on his head!

PARENT NOT OFFTOPIC! (5, Insightful)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238113)

Godel, Escher and Bach is a damned good book, and any self-respecting geek should have read it. Twice.
 
Other favourites include Capital by Marx, Crime & Punishment by Dostoeyevsky, Also Spracht Zarathustra (Nietzsche), The Fountainhead (Rand), The heart of a dog (Bulgakov) and Dubliners (Joyce).
 
If you're a programmer, the last thing you're going to want to read are code books.

Re:PARENT NOT OFFTOPIC! (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238173)

> The heart of a dog (Bulgakov)

So true, this is a classic. Also by Bulgakov - "The Master and Marguerita". And "The White Guard" is a good one, too, although a different style; less satirical, more earnest.

Re:PARENT NOT OFFTOPIC! (5, Insightful)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238246)

Godel, Escher and Bach is a damned good book, and any self-respecting geek should have read it. Twice.

Other favourites include Capital by Marx, Crime & Punishment by Dostoeyevsky, Also Spracht Zarathustra (Nietzsche), The Fountainhead (Rand), The heart of a dog (Bulgakov) and Dubliners (Joyce).

Those books are a little heavy to digest. I don't know about most people, but I would not want work as a gift, then to feel obligated to read 700 pages. I've read a few books by Dostoevsky, and they are not christmas books! Christmas should be about having fun, not getting a headache reading.

If you're a programmer, the last thing you're going to want to read are code books

I agree. It is like giving your mom a skillet for christmas because she cooks for you.

Picking the right gift requires knowing your friend. One of the BEST gifts I ever recieved was from a neighbors wife. She is an awesome baker. She filled up a tin with homemade cookies, her daughters helped decorate the tin. It was a gift they put their hearts into. They spent a few hours at my place, it was nice to talk, to listen about their year, and what they were planning for the new year. Fellowship is the best gift.

I also love getting christmas cards from friends who have moved away. It is a nice way to keep in touch with people.

Remember, it is the thought that counts. The gift is not important. What is important is someone cares about you.

And just as importantly... (4, Funny)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238056)

...do you group your books by color or by topic? Especially the O'Reilly books... does the Sendmail one go in your "mail server" books? Does the pink Python book go next to the pink CVS book or next to the red and white Ruby book? Decisions decisions!

Nice to see that he's got his Knuths... although, if he's like me, they get opened about twice a year.

Re:And just as importantly... (2, Funny)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238181)

That often? Mine get opened every 3 years or so, when I make another attempt at reading them...

Eivind (Eek).

Re:And just as importantly... (3, Funny)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238278)

The first 30-40 pages of mine are fairly wrinkled... the last 500 pages are as fresh and as clean as the day they were purchases. Ah well.

Now here's a fine tome [pmdapplied.com] . I hear the author is a really cool guy, too.

Frederik Brooks (4, Informative)

rassie (452841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238059)

The Mythical Man-Month by Frederik Brooks (clicky [wikipedia.org] ) has some very good insights which still hold true (the book was originally published in 1975).

Bookshelf? (0)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238060)

Who needs anything more than man?

Re:Bookshelf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238102)

Who needs anything more than man?

I occassionally feel the need to take help from woman, but time and time again she runs away in kernel panic. Oh I wish I could stick to use only man!

Re:Bookshelf? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238213)

Personally I need woman

There are so many options (5, Informative)

koltrane (925418) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238063)

It's hard to be specific when "a programmer" could write in a number of languages. Regardless, just about anything from O'Reilly is well worth the shelf space. I still have my original copy of "The Whole Internet"!

Re:There are so many options (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238147)

Hello Al. How's Tipper?

Re:There are so many options (2, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238258)

I reckon a copy of K&R is worth the shelf space and the money, no matter the programming language of choice. It happens to tell you about C, but the clear writing style and tidy code snippets are an example to all.

3 names, "Gödel, Escher, Bach" (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238076)

GEB is simply amazing and really makes you think. It is a large tome but it was well worth the read when I read it in high school. It influenced me musically, mathematically and gave me insight to become a computer programmer.

It's a very common book and can be acquired cheaply on amazon [amazon.com] , ebay [ebay.com] and the wiki [wikipedia.org] .

I also heavily recommend getting to know this site [hamiltonbook.com] if you're willing to search through lists of books for good deals.

Re:3 names, "Gödel, Escher, Bach" (1)

steevc (54110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238241)

I need to read that one again some time. I didn't fully get it the first time.

First I need to finish off my Neal Stephenson and then dive into the pile of books I've accumulated. I have a few technical books that I use mainly as references. For fun I read techie fiction (Stephenson, Iain Banks), humour (Pratchett) and assorted non-fiction. I'm currently catching up on some history that I missed out on at school. There's so many popular science books out there that can get you into totally new fields.

THHGTTG! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238090)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - for those moments when you're sick and tired of programming.

Re:THHGTTG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238216)

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."

Gifts for Christmas (4, Insightful)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238091)

With christmas just round the corner I have been looking for gifts for my geek friends. But what book?

Just because your friend is a geek does not mean a book is the best gift! Picking tech books can be difficult. You need to know what your friend is interested in. If your friend knows the topic a book covers, it won't be useful. If the book is outside the scope of what your friend does, the book won't get used. Even within a language, there are so many topics that just because you hit the right language, does not mean the book would be useful. If you want to get a book, but a cheap $7 trashy novel that will be filled with laughs, and add a $50 gift card at your local bookstore. That will probably be cheaper than some of the $70 books out there. The cool thing about giving the $7 novel is you're giving a piece of yourself. It should be a book that made you laugh and think. I'd suggest Catch-22. It will provide lots of laugh out loud moments. You should pick a book you liked and want to share with your friend.

Christmas is not about gifts or materialism. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Spend time with your friends, listen to how their life is, their year. Celebrate with them. Be happy. That is the greatest gift you can give. People don't need more objects. People need to feel loved.

Re:Gifts for Christmas (1)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238122)

Christmas is not about gifts or materialism.

Ha ha ha. You must be new here.. (and by here, of course, i mean to the 20th and 21st centuries...)

Re:Gifts for Christmas (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238253)

Christmas is not about gifts or materialism.

Thanks the new 'War on Christmas' meme, Christmas is now about body armor and vitriol.

Buy your Christian geek an E-Tool. No, that's not a trendy electronic gadget, it is an 'entrenching tool' (folding shovel). Once they're firmly entrenched, no amount of logic or compassion can dislodge them.

CLRS (2, Interesting)

Shano (179535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238093)

Aside from Knuth, which is more showing off than anything (not that the guy isn't a genius), one of the best algorithms books is Introduction to Algorithms, by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest and Stein. I'd generally suggest algorithms over language-specific references, although modern class libraries tend to implement the best ones already.

Other than that, I suppose your favourite collection of O'Reilly titles. I find Java in a Nutshell useful, as I prefer the dead-tree version to the online documentation. Many of the books on the webpage are language or library references, which are good, but very dependent on the programmer's interests.

Dilbert books are always good, of course.

Re:CLRS (1)

sam1am (753369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238280)

CLR[and now]S [mit.edu] is great even if the implementation is available in a class library: it really can help you pick the best algorithm for a given task.

Where are the following? (3, Informative)

ad0le (684017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238095)

C++: The Complete Reference by Herbert Schildt & Thinking in C++: by Bruce Eckel.

In my opinion, the best c++ books out there.

Scott Meyers (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238166)

I consider Scott Meyers' books (Effective C++, More Effective C++, perhaps Effective STL) pretty well essential for good C++. They don't teach you the language so much as how to use the language.

Scott's books might be called "how to get around the deficiencies of C++".

Re:Where are the following? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238171)

C++: The Complete Reference by Herbert Schildt

Haven't read Schildt's C++ book but his C Book used to be notorious.
Check Seeb's review [plethora.net]
Most of these errors must have been corrected by now, however.

Also check the ACCU reviews [accu.org]

MFC Programming from the GROUND UP 2nd Ed by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Jul 1999)
C++ from the Ground Up (2nd ed) by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Mar 1998)
Java Programmers Reference by Joe O'Neil & Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Mar 1998)
Windows NT 4 Programming from the Ground Up by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed May 1998)
C++ from the Ground Up by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Sep 1998)
Expert C++ by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Sep 1998)
STL Programming from the Ground Up by Herbert Schildt [Not Recommended] (Reviewed Jan 2000)
C: The Complete Reference 4ed by Herbert Schildt (Reviewed Jul 2000)
C/C++ Programmer's Reference 2ed. by Herbert Schildt (Reviewed Sep 2000)

Most of his books have a "Not recommended" review.

Re:Where are the following? (1)

ad0le (684017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238229)

Wow, I use the 3rd edition of this book as my bible... (Mostly due to the STL information presented). I will seriously consider looking elsewhere. My first introduction to OO and programming in general was Delphi (Borland's Object Pascal). This was the only book that came across in a clear fashion for me. Given your knowledge of C++ books, do you have any recommendations?

Re:Where are the following? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238260)


Given your knowledge of C++ books, do you have any recommendations?


Stroustrup's 3rd Edition C++ PL is the best if you have already know some
C++. It's the absolute bible, like K & R's book for "C".
However, if you are a beginner at C++, then the book by
Accelerated C++ by Andrew Koenig & Barbara Moo is very good.

For just STL, Nicolai Josuttis's book is highly recommended.

For the latest C++ template tricks (the kind used in boost),
Andrei Alexandrescu's Modern C++ design is very good & detailed.

Re:Where are the following? (1)

TimTheFoolMan (656432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238309)

I have done reviews of several of Schildt's books, and if you have read one, then you have virtually read them all. I have even seen the same programming errors repeated between books that were supposedly covering different compilers. The link above gives several classic examples.

There are a ton of C/C++ books out, and half of them are decent reads. The other half seem to be written by Schildt.

I would steer clear of this particular "book machine."

Tim

Re:Where are the following? (3, Informative)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238235)

I'd not pick any of those two before Effective C++, More Effective C++, Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms or The C++ Programming language. After you've programmed in C++ for six months, all the introductory stuff from the books you mentioned becomes a waste of paper, while the books I listed are still useful to a professional programmer.

Also, read this excerpt of the alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ FAQ:

6: Why do many experts not think very highly of Herbert Schildt's books?

A good answer to this question could fill a book by itself. While no book is perfect, Schildt's books, in the opinion of many gurus, seem to positively aim to mislead learners and encourage bad habits. Schildt's beautifully clear writing style only makes things worse by causing many "satisfied" learners to recommend his books to other learners.

Do take a look at the following scathing articles before deciding to buy a Schildt text.

http://www.lysator.liu.se/c/schildt.html [lysator.liu.se]
http://herd.plethora.net/~seebs/c/c_tcr.html [plethora.net]

The above reviews are admittedly based on two of Schildt's older books. However, the language they describe has not changed in the intervening period, and several books written at around the same time remain highly regarded.

The following humorous post also illustrates the general feeling towards Schildt and his books.

http://www.qnx.com/~glen/deadbeef/2764.html [qnx.com]

There is exactly one and ONLY one C book bearing Schildt's name on its cover that is at all recommended by many C experts - see Q 25.

O'Reilly Books (1)

kf4lhp (461232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238098)

Notice that about half of the books are O'Reilly...

Get 'em the pocket references. Mine never make it back to the bookshelf; they just live on the desk on top of my monitor.

Missing: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238099)

A stash of porn magazines.

Re:Missing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238215)

Or DVDs labled: 'TAFKA Prince' so no one will accidentally see it! ;)

What kind of geeks are they? (2, Interesting)

skurk (78980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238101)

Programmers? Hardware hackers? Gamers? Gadget geeks?

If your friends are into 3D programming or game development, I recommend some books about OpenGL.
I know I want this one, "OpenGL Game Programming":
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/076153330 3/qid=1134394525/sr=8-8/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i8_xgl/202- 6834711-0899839 [amazon.co.uk]

..or maybe even "Open Source Game Programming: Qt Games for KDE, PDA's and Windows":
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/158450406 4/qid=1134395013/sr=2-3/ref=sr_2_11_3/202-6834711- 0899839 [amazon.co.uk]

If your friends are into hardware hacking, I recommend "Apple I Replica Creation":
http://books.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/03/ 0429213&tid=222&tid=6&tid=3 [slashdot.org]
I own this book myself and it's pretty cool, it covers almost all the DIY basics for building an 8-bit computer. How cool is that?

And ofcourse, for the gadget freaks you have ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com] and Nerdorama [nerdorama.com] ..

Perl Best Practices (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238114)

By Damien Conway , O'Reilly ISBN 0-596-00173-8

I'm hoping that they make a series of 'Best Practices' with a C/++ and Python too. It was quite expensive at $40 but I bought local. Totally packed with amazing nuggets of things you never knew you never knew ;)

What ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238117)

No BOFH?? I thought that was required reading .. and in lieu of that, how about Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary? .. Granted they are not programmer litterature in the strictest sense, but where else are programmers going to get inspiration for all these mean little tricks and the sunny disposition?

See MIPS run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238119)

Warms my heart to see that on a bookshelf.

According to Hackers... (1)

kid-noodle (669957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238120)

Green Book, Lucious Orange, Pink Shirt Book, Devil Book, Dragon Book, Red Book (aka. the Ugly Red Book that Won't Fit on a Shelf). Now I'm going to go kill myself.

Re:According to Hackers... (1)

acoster (812556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238222)

I always wondered why the so called "hackers" in the movie needed a book on Compilers... at least they didn't carry the "Green book with red things on it" (Cormen). That book, by the way, is a must-have on any programmer's shelf. I've got it myself, along with C the programming Language, Programming Perl, Cryptography (by Trappe and Washington), Programming Challenges and Algorithm Design Manual (is this the red book that the "hackers" carried?) by Skiena, Algorithms in C, Expert C Programming. I also have lots of non-tech books, like Cryptonomicon (erm... ok...), lots by Vonnegut, and some Mad magazines.

Nothing (2)

ChetOS.net (936869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238124)

I don't have anything on my bookshelf. I use google to find programming resources. This saves me from piling up books on very old technologies. It is also easier to search a web site than it is to load the Book On CD and search that.

Actually, I do have an O'Reilly CSS book in my drawer, but I never use it (because I cannot search it).

Re:Nothing (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238169)

I don't have anything on my bookshelf. I use google to find programming resources. This saves me from piling up books on very old technologies. It is also easier to search a web site than it is to load the Book On CD and search that.

While I have several books, I feel the same way. I'm highly suspicious when I walk into a developer's office and see the two dozen ".NET" books on the shelf, the spines giving all appearances of never being violated. This is pretty much par for the course, though : Stock your bookshelf to give the appearance of a professional, when in reality it's just filler that is very unlikely to have ever been read.

Indeed even many of the "classics" fall under this umbrella. The Mythical Man Month, Peopleware, and Code Complete are fantastic books, and everyone and their brother lauds them, yet if you talk to people you discover that, overwhelmingly, they haven't actually read them: It's just a meme to these people to talk about how great those books are. [Note: They ARE great books. Well, the MMM could have been condensed into a blog entry with little loss of value, and Peopleware could easily have been turned into a couple of blog entries, but nonetheless]

Sidenote: Many Microsoft Press books come with a CD with an electronic copy of the book for searching and electronic access, as well as sample and promo material. Of course most developers wouldn't know this because they never actually cracked it open.

Re:Nothing (5, Funny)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238269)

Actually, I do have an O'Reilly CSS book in my drawer, but I never use it (because I cannot search it).

You do know that books had Indices before databases, right?

Bookshelves (4, Insightful)

BioCS.Nerd (847372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238135)

I'm just a budding programmer, so my bookshelf is fairly skimpy (5-6 books -- mostly accumulated from class). However it seems to me that you're best to buy books that won't be dated as quickly, such as those that are more conceptual (e.g. design patterns, cookbooks, and Art of Programming type books). For everything else, O'Reilly Safari [oreilly.com] digital book collections are the way to go. I've found it has taken a little time to get used to not reading books on dead trees, but the convenience pays off.

Garfield (4, Insightful)

Snap E Tom (128447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238151)

> Every good programmer loves garfield?

I assume the article writer was asking a question. The answer is no.

Some interesting books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238155)

Bruce Eckel has some great books here [mindview.net] . I use them as reference for OO stuff. There is also Windows Internals [sysinternals.com] , great book, for windoze code monkeys.

Draw circle on desk, Bang head, Repeat (1)

satcomdaddy1 (938185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238158)

Too general a question. I wouldn't know what books to get my OWN geek friends-'cept this one guy--the little sellout wants an entire .NET library.

The best bet would be the good old impersonal gift card.

Or Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe, or a Far Side gallery.

what about (1)

BlackShirt (690851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238161)

e-books on your folder? These might be free of charege but for a good content no price is too high. Right?

How about a collector's item? (2, Interesting)

nothingbutcoupons (923501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238168)

What about the first printing of Kernigan and Ritchie's, "The C Programming language"?

THAT would look nice on a bookshelf.

Re:How about a collector's item? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238212)

I have one I keep next to my Bell Labs Unix manuals. Nowadays I refer to it as "The Yellow Book".

Other Books (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238176)

This is a very nice collection. I think Cormen and Rivest's Algorithms Book would be a nice addition. It prefers pseudocode to Knuth's MIX and so it is easier to create implementations in high level languages. What is missing are: Books on X Windows Programming (assuming O'Reilly still publishes them), OpenGL (Programmer's Guide and Reference), Books on Lisp/Scheme (SICP, SAP, Common Lisp by Steele, Dyvbig). Numerical Recipies in C (one of the great books of all time).

Joel on Software's Book List (4, Informative)

Poeir (637508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238178)

Joel on Software posted a very useful book list [joelonsoftware.com] , which extends more to the management of programming than to any specific language. This makes it more generally useful than yet another C book.

There is no such thing ... (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238179)

... unless you have infinite space and money. Nobody's a "programmer" these days. Your choice of books depends on what you're doing: embedded microprocessor systems, php server pages, capturing and analyzing video, etc. I have hundreds of books on everything from java to html to Flash to Visual C++. Not having enough space to keep them all at hand, I pack the ones not in current use away and when I start doing that type of work again, I bring them back out. About the only universal books I can think of are the Knuth series, or the "Mythical Man-Month" types, and even those you won't typically consult more than once a year, or at least that's my experience.

And to deal with your PHB ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238184)

... I recommend The Prince [amazon.com] .

ACCU Reviews (2, Informative)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238194)

Always a good idea to check the book review at ACCU [accu.org] before you buy any book. The reviewers here are mostly experts in the subject matter.

Data Structures (1)

harish.babu (734713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238197)

I have found the book Data Structures Using C and C++ by Yedidyah Langsam,Moshe J. Augenstein,Aaron M. Tenenbaum quite useful while dealing with data structures.

On the Edge - History of Commodore (2, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238205)

Not just because I am a Commodore fan, this book, On The Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore [commodorebook.com] is turning out to be a really good read with a lot of inside history from many Commodore employees including Check Peddle, Dale Luck, Bil Herd, and RJ Mical.

A lot more adventure and excitement than I had expected. Also gives a different (sometimes flattering sometimes not) of Apple, Atari and Radio Shack.

Depends if you want how-to or mind expansion (1)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238206)

If you just need reference material on C# or HTML or C++ or whatever, then go for O'Reilly books--or the equivalent--for what you need to know.

But if you want to expand your mind as a programmer, then go for books like:

Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming (Norvig)
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (Abelson & Sussman)
Thinking Forth (Brodie) - One of my favorites; read even if you don't care for Forth.

Java Examples, just say no (1)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238209)

I can't believe this book made it on here. Java Cookbook is also by O'Reilly and is many times better for real world examples. In fact the whole Cookbook series more useful than the api docs in many cases.

The Pragmatic Programmer (1)

Pray_4_Mojo (13485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238219)

One of the better books to buy is the Pragmatic Programmer.

Its an easy, relaxed read.
Its broad scope gives guidance for programming novice and expert alike.
It teaches you to appreciate your own craftsmanship as a developer, and discusses (in generalities) the tools you need to master to be called a 'software developer'.
It also includes good starting points (recommendations) for things (like Subversion or CVS for source control, Perl for Macros)

All in all, I would recommend it as a must-have for serious programmers.

Re:The Pragmatic Programmer (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238327)

I'm going to have to second the fact that the books putout by Pragmatic are bar none. I've got a shelf of animal books and the fact that I can get updated electronic copies is nice too.

Google Books (1)

stavromueller (934803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238254)

Honestly, as a full-time web developer in PHP/ASP/SQL/Flash/Java, I don't use books. I use Google 99% of the time I need to know something. So my bookshelf is full more of Douglas Adam's books than O'Reilly, for instance. If I had to buy a computer oriented book however, it would definetely be from the O'Reilly publishers.

Why do Programmers read books? (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238255)

I've always wondered why the programmers around my office read so many programming books. It seems strange that people so into technology like hunks of dead tree.

I'm not really a professional programmer but can put together quite a bit of C#, ASP.Net, ASP, VB, Javascript, Perl etc. Forgive me, I'm an Engineer.... Anyway, I'd much rather read online tutorials or MSDN help articles than programming books.

What am I missing?

Re:Why do Programmers read books? (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238290)

When I get that laptop integrated into my shitter, I'll stop buying dead tree. That and the fact that it's much easier to take a book with me to wait somewhere than a laptop. Maybe a PDF reader would work but I stare at a computer screen all day long and most of the night. Sometimes I just need to curl up in bed and read a reference.

I also have a nasty habit of reading less of a tech book when I have it in electronic format. I tend to want to try things right then instead of reading through a bit more.

It's also nice to have a shelf of animal books for the geek legions to oooh and ahhh over ;)

Re:Why do Programmers read books? (1)

lagerbottom (704499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238299)

I would guess it's because while online tutorials are great for getting started or simple introductions to a "new thing", or a quick glance to see what properties belong to what class, nothing beats being able to really dig into a subject in a way that most online tutorials fall short of. Not to mention, personally I can't read on a monitor for hours on end.

Ideas (1)

Strixy (753449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238259)

If your looking for Linux books, "Linux Server Hacks" or "Liux Desktop Hacks" put out by O'Reilly have really been valuable.

My copy of "PHP Phrasebook" by Christian Wenz is in need of repairs already. It just came out two months ago. (Apache Phrasebook is due to follow soon).

"Css Pocket Reference 2e" by Eric Meyer (O'Reilly) is not organized very well, but again, I've used it so much already that it needs to be rebound.

How about a subscription to a magazine like "Linux User & Developer" or "Linux Magazine". (Oh, can somebody tip my wife off on that idea, please!)

And there is a fantastic book that I really want for Christmas, "Linux Toys: 13Cool Projects for Home, Office and Entertainment " by Christopher Negus. "Projects include transforming an answering machine into an e-mail converter, building an MP3 music jukebox, building a car entertainment center, and creating a TV video recorder/player."

The Soul of a New Machine (3, Informative)

khendron (225184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238279)

This book is on my shelf and is a must read for anybody working in tech.

It is not a technical book. It is a non-fiction novel about a team of engineers building a mini-computer back in the early 1980s. The book might be 25 years out of date from the technical point of view, but few books capture the essence of the engineer's mind and commitment as well as this one does.

Where to begin (2, Informative)

narcc (412956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238317)

Some treasures on my shelf:

D. Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming (Volumes 1-3)
D. Berlinski, A Tour of the Calculus
D. Berlinski, The Advent of the Algorithm
G. Polya, How to Solve It
P. Beckmann, A History of Pi
G. Lakoff & R. Nunez, Where Mathematics Comes From
Aho & Ullman, Principles of Compiler Design (1st Ed.)
Aho & Sethi & Ullman, Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools
P. Freiberger & M. Swaine, Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer
H. Sheldon, Boyd's Introduction to the Study of Disease
C. Petzold, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Anyone of these would have made a good gift for me -- and I'm sure other geeks would appreciate these as well. That is, if they don't own them already.

On a related note: The conference proceedings from the ACM SIGCSE add quite a bit to my library every year. The membership is very affordable and makes an excellent gift (provided, of course, that the geek in question is not already a member of the ACM). I'm not sure about the other SIGs, but you certainly get your dues worth out of SIGCSE.

O'Reilly's Mastering Regular Expressions... (1)

Wiseazz (267052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238319)

Second edition. A good general reference with specific implementation notes for Perl, Java, .NET, etc. It is by far the most thumbed-through book on my "shelf" (aka, "The pile of books on the corner of my desk"). Good for beginners or experts needing a handy reference.

You wouldn't think so, but it's also a good cover-to-cover read, provided you're interested in that kind of thing.

By Jeffrey Friedl [regex.info]

Books for Developers (1)

Tooky (15656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238320)

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Gamma et al
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, Fowler et al
Domain-driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software, Eric Evans
Test Driven Development: A Practical Guide, Dave Astels
Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Michael Feathers

And slightly off the wall...

Object Thinking, David West
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