Books: More Good Ones

I’d like to expand on Brett’s post a bit with some more recent books that I’ve enjoyed. And another which is perhaps a few clicks off the maintained trail.

The Algorithm Design Manual (Steven Skiena)

I’ll kick this discussion off with the fact that I don’t have a Computer Science degree. There, I said it. No degree. Ask me and I’ll give you the info: There’s no Computer Science degree here. Anyway. As a pure practitioner, I love books that usher out-of-reach concepts into the realm of real-world applicability, and this one does exactly that. This book is one part catalog of algorithms, the other part a series of “war stories” — real problems the author has tackled during his career using variations of the algorithms presented.

The Little Schemer (Matthias Felleisen, Daniel P. Friedman)

This book taught me a conscious way to write recursive routines. Prior to reading, I’d hammer the keyboard with a gloved hand and hope for the best. The preface mentions that this book is itself derived from a course taught by the authors on Scheme programming — to non-technical public affairs students. Yes, so you might imagine that the presentation inside is not your typical c0d3rz manual. I’ve dispatched this book to a couple of my non-technical friends, and the consensus is that this book is a gem.

Hacker’s Delight (Henry S. Warren, Jr.)

Count 1-bits in a word. Reverse bits in a byte. Transpose a 32×32 bit matrix. This book is a catalog of interesting passages of low level bit-twiddling code. Thanks to modern day tools, I haven’t needed to reach for many of the tactics described in this book, but it is an enjoyable and mind-contorting swim through the ether of machine words and switch flippery. Looks like I need to pick up the recently released second edition.

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David Grant

David Grant

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