RE: books on programming

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From: John Regehr (
Date: Mon Jan 01 2001 - 22:22:42 PST

> I haven't agreed with any of the "Essential reading for programmers"
> lists I've ever seen, here or elsewhere.

The real purpose of most of these lists (including mine and, I think,
Kragen's) is to gather together the set of material that was most
influential on the list author, and to make it accessible to like-minded
people who may have missed some of the books.

The reason that it's hard to come up with a list of "essential reading
for beginners" is that beginners don't need lists and they don't need a
stack of books: they need to be taught to program. From my own meager
experience in this area, I know that teaching people to program is very

A few people have the time, inclination, and intelligence teach
themselves to program from a book. I did this and I imagine most of the
people on this list did as well, but most people never will. I had a
few depressing moments as a teaching assistant for CS 101 when I
realized that most of the students were not going to stay up all night
learning this cool stuff and that I was going to have to alternate
between coddling and force feeding them to get them to write as much as
a competent sort routine by the end of the semester...


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