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“Wow” Books

Matt's Bookshelf

Here is a short list of books that led me to a breakthrough in one way or another in my understanding of programming.

I’ve read a lot of other good books on programming – many of them more technical than what I list here, and some eye-opening in their own right. The books on this list were different though. These books were beyond educational; they provided some transcendental insight or stimulated a leap in my thinking. They are listed in no particular order, with an exception at the very end of this post.

  • Refactoring
  • Extreme Programming Explained
  • The Pragmatic Programmer
  • Code Complete
  • Programming Pearls
  • Software Tools
  • Programming Perl

Finally, the most valuable “book” on programming I ever read is actually only 1 page long. It is Brian Kernighan’s Programming Style Tips. I found this early in my career and put a copy up on my office wall. More than any other text or person, this simple list shaped me as a programmer. Proof that in a wired world you don’t always have to know your mentors personally to benefit from their knowledge and generosity.