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Re: What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?

by JavaFan (Canon)
on Oct 26, 2011 at 21:45 UTC ( #934002=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?

My recommendation would be "Advanced Programming in the UNIX environment". It doesn't contain any Perl, but it has done more for my understanding of Perl than any of the several dozens of O'Reilly books I own.

Of your list, I've only read one, so I cannot compare.


Comment on Re: What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?
Re^2: What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?
by ForgotPasswordAgain (Deacon) on Oct 26, 2011 at 22:18 UTC

    Indeed, any book by W. Richard Stevens is well worth reading. His writing style is as lucid as it gets.

    I'm a bit of the opinion that you can't really learn programming by books, though. That's not to say you shouldn't read books! You can pick up ideas, but to assimilate ideas you have to have some experience to base things on. You get that by programming, yeah? And you have your own way of thinking, so recommendations by others are....well, again, you can get ideas, things to try out, but ultimately you have to find out what does it for you, what makes things click for you personally. Whatever blows your hair back, as Will Hunting says.

    I originally "learned" FORTRAN from the FORTRAN 77 specification. No kidding, I think I printed it out. Of course, it's a terrible way to learn a language, and I forget it all. Or it's great, it depends on how you think. It certainly won't teach you how to do anything, but you can learn a lot of vocabulary and ideas, and if you don't know much about programming you might soak it up like a sponge. You'll still suck as a programmer, even if you sleep with it under your pillow. :)

    One rule of thumb I learned from somebody once was: pick up a book, flip to the middle, and if you don't understand it, it's not worth reading (yet). But yeah, you have to come up with your own rules of thumb.

      I'm a bit of the opinion that you can't really learn programming by books, though.
      Sure you can. It takes a bit more work that just flipping through the pages. Of course, you cannot learn programming for just reading books, but it sure beats firing up your editor and entering random characters in a file hoping it will compile (And where I wrote "books", feel free to substitute "manual pages").
Re^2: What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?
by Marshall (Prior) on Oct 27, 2011 at 00:41 UTC
    I have the original and the new one. This is not the right level for a beginner. This is great stuff when we talk about complex client-server and multi-process applications.

    You cannot go from "I want to ride bicycles" to "drive motorcycles in motocross competitive races" in a single step!

    I recommend again K&R for a study of how loops work. It is short, but the information content is dense. A lot is said in few words.

      The OP is considering books like "Art of UNIX Programming", "Pragmatic Programmer" and "Programming Pearls". He also declared he knows about the syntax and such - he can actually code. I think he's already way past the learning how to ride a bicycle. He seems to be more "great, I know how to ride a bicycle - now, how can I scale a mountain on one?".

      I certainly assume the OP knows how to write a loop.

Re^2: What book would be valuable to someone self-taught?
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 27, 2011 at 14:10 UTC

    Thank you for the recommendation. I started reviewing samples from the book and it is pretty impressive but not overwhelming even at about 1,000 pages. I too have many of the 'Blue and White' books and really have only dog eared one or two.

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