My Useless Books Page
Books and what I think of them:
Books I like:
- The C Programming Language
- The canonical book. There are errors, but the book itself does
a masterful job of describing and teaching C, and providing good,
solid exercises. Short, but sweet. Also stunningly complete, considering
that most books on C are at least twice its size, with half the
- C Traps and Pitfalls
- Written by Andrew Koenig, this is a very solid book. I have never
found an unintentional error in it. As a testimony to the real
danger of the pitfalls, when someone posted a bit of the code,
asking what was wrong with it, to comp.lang.c, I saw no fewer
than 20 responses, of which at least one was correct. Koenig,
of course, explains them all correctly. (Actually, he admits to
an error that I'm not entirely sure I comprehend in an example
involving trying to jump to address 0, but I honestly don't comprehend
the syntax well enough to see the error.)
- Expert C Programming
- Written by Peter van der Linden of Sun. This book is unique in
that the earlier version I have (a first printing, I believe)
is chock-full of errors, but I reccommend it strongly. The errors
are, with a few exceptions, mostly typos. None of them will produce
more than a moment's confusion in an experienced programmer. However,
the discussion on other topics is excellent, if a bit Unix-centric.
(Which is hardly a flaw, IMHO.) A further note: I got a second
copy, much more up to date, and I am unable to find a single error.
Very good book!
- Programming on Purpose
- Selected essays written by P. J. Plauger. All of them are excellent.
There are actually three volumes of this; volume I is on software
design, volume II is on software people, and volume III is on
software technology. No manager or engineer should be without
at least a few of these essays.
- The Mythical Man Month
- A very insightful book on how and why programming projects run
over budget, and how to control this. The 25th anniversary edition
corrects what the author now feels is a mistaken belief that he
had 25 years ago; even if you have the old version, it's worth
it just to see how graciously he can admit to the error, and to
see his discussion on what's changed since the first edition.
Books I dislike:
- C: The Complete Reference
- One word: tripe.
- The Annotated ANSI C Standard
- It's plausible that someone could manage to go through a two hundred
page technical document without once clarifying its meaning. It's
amazing that one can contradict that document so frequently.
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