Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Recommended Computing Books

I was just about to order Jeffrey Richter’s book “CLR via C#” to supplement my copy of his previous book “Applied .Net Framework”, when I saw the announcement about the new version of the .Net framework, .Net 3.0. At this rate of change, buying platform specific books is becoming less and less appealing and relevant.

I can’t recall who said it but “you can avoid technical obsolescence by choosing timeless books” is great advice. Here’s a list of recommended reading for all software developers:

Code Complete, Second Edition: Steve McConnell. If you’re in the software industry and you only ever read one book, then this is the book you should read. Every developer, regardless of language, platform or domain, should have read this book at least once. There is no single work that contains so much of relevance to developers. At the last count, I’m on my fifth re-read, cover to cover.

Rapid Development: Steve McConnell. If you only ever read two books on software development, make this the second! Keep this on your desk at all times. Buy two copies; one for work and one for home. It will pay for itself many, many times over. If you are beginning a career in software development, this book could short-circuit 5 years of lessons learned on the job.

The Pragmatic Programmer: Andrew Hunt and Dave Thomas.If you are only going to read one book and you want something a little shorter than either Code Complete or Rapid Development, then this is the one. If you loan it to another developer, do not expect to see it again! The first line of the book states “This book will help you become a better programmer”. It will.

Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Steve Krug. Great for web, and equally applicable to windows. Short, easy read, but valuable. A little gem of a book. If you design web sites, this is required reading.

The Inmates are Running the Asylum: Alan Cooper. Discusses real world examples of usability, and is a highly enjoyable read. You probably won't agree with everything (I didn't), but it certainly gets you thinking.

The Medical Detectives: Berton Roueche. Not a computing book, but a great book on the approach to debugging. A good read to boot, although the prose can be a little laboured at times.

Refactoring: Martin Fowler. A great book that takes the reader on a journey through the process of refactoring actual code.

Head First Design Patterns: Elizabeth Freeman and Eric Freeman. This is a truly amazing book. If you want to learn about design patterns and more importantly how to apply the underlying OO design concepts, this is the best book available on the subject. I recently recommended this to several people.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler. Coupled with “Head First Design Patterns” this is a superb reference to have to hand.

UML Distilled: Martin Fowler. If you seriously want to learn UML (and do it quickly without struggling) then this is the book to read.

Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management: Rothman and Derby. Practical advice on managing a software team. Excellent.

Test-Driven Development: Kent Beck. A slim, very readable, hands-on book that introduces and builds upon the concepts of the ‘write tests first’ development approach. Some would say that this is a natural evolution in the way that software should be created.

SQL Tuning: Dan Tow. A new approach to platform independent tuning of SQL queries. Took a while to get into, but well worth the effort.

The Mythical Man Month: Fred Brooks. Perhaps the classic work on managing software development projects. “How does project slip its schedule? One day at a time”

Programming Pearls: John Bently. An oldie, but a goldie! Insights into how algorithms are conceived and implemented. Introduces the concept of ‘back-of-the-envelope’ calculations. Very useful.

Writing Solid Code: Steve Maguire. Aimed at C programmers but full of insights equally applicable to other languages. This book had a profound effect on the way I write code and the approach I take.

The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition by Gerald Weinberg. An insight into the mind of the programmer, also described as “computer programming as a human activity”.

Design Patterns: by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides. This classic work is currently being updated.

The Guru’s Guide to Transact SQL: Ken Henderson. If you write T-SQL as part of your day-to-day job, then should be the first of several Ken Henderson books you should read.

Programming Windows Security : Keith Brown. Everything you wanted to know about Windows security but were afraid to ask.

The last two are platform specific, but excellent nonetheless.

I started this list of books some time ago, but was prompted to finish and post it by a colleague whose son is studying computer science, and was concerned about what books he should read.


Thanks alot you for the sharing this.

By Anonymous Arvand Fazeli, at March 31, 2012 12:26 AM  

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