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.
- 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.