Good books in computer science?

rustom rustompmody at
Mon Jun 29 08:08:45 EDT 2009

This thread has thrown up some interesting suggestions but they all
seem to fall into one of two categories:
- the high-ground: Dijkstra, Knuth etc
- the low-ground: write (any-which-how) a lot of code

And both these 'grounds' seem to cause more argument and less
suggestions for good books.

Let me therefore try to find a middle-ground and make a suggestion
that I used to make to my students when I taught them programming:
Read the Python Manual  -- specifically the library.  It contains a
fairly good conspectus of modern day IT/CS.

Some examples of what I mean:

Want to study TDD?  Read unittest and doctest and then go on to
reading (and practising) Kent Beck etc
Want to get into unix system programming?  Nothing like playing around
with os.path and stat before burining your hands with C.
Networking protocols? smtplib, urllib, ftplib etc
Low level networking? socket, select etc
Algorithms? Good to get your feet on the ground with timeit

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