Good books in computer science?

Bearophile bearophileHUGS at
Wed Jun 17 18:22:41 EDT 2009

Nathan Stoddard:
> The best way to become a good programmer is to program. Write a lot of
> code; work on some large projects. This will improve your skill more than
> anything else. It's also important to learn new languages regularly. I
> recommend to learn C, Python, and Lisp first.

To become very good in a practical activity (like programming or
writing stories or playing piano) you have to do many things for a lot
of time.

You have to practice it a lot, but that's not enough. You also must
keep pushing forward the limit of your skills, doing things hard for

Reading smart books and learning from the experts in the field is
usually necessary. Quite often it's useful to read good books not much
related with the activity you are doing too, because the human mind
works better this way.

Another thing you have to do is to keep your eyes open, for example to
be able to understand when your learning is struck in some slow
corner: now and then you will have to meta-learn, that is to change
the way you learn and train yourself. This is a hard and often painful
thing to do, but it's probably necessary if you want to become very
good, because very often you learn in the wrong way, or in a not much
efficient way.

Howard Gardner too has written about such topic.


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