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The 25 most recommended programming books of all-time.

This article is a follow up of the one I did about the the most recommended startup books of all-time.

If you've read this one recently. I guess you can jump straight to the results.

There are countless lists on the internet claiming to be the list of must-read programming books and it seemed that all those lists always recommended that same books minus two or three odd choices.

Finding good resources for learning programming is always tricky. Every-one has its own opinion about what book is the best to learn, and as we say in french, "Color and tastes should not be argued about".

However I thought it would be interesting to trust the wisdom of the crown and to find the books that appeared the most in those "Best Programming Book" lists.

If you want to jump right on the results go take a look below at the full results. If you want to learn about the methodology, bear with me.

Disclaimer: I spent countless hours on this article so I've decided to put Amazon affiliation links to see if those kinds of detailed articles could be a viable source of revenue, ... or not 🤷‍♂️.


I've simply asked Google for a few queries like "Best Programming Books" and its variations. I have then scrapped all those pages (using ScrapingBee, a web scraping API I'm working on).

I've deduplicated the links and ended up with nearly 150 links. Using the title of the pages I was also able to quickly discards:

  • list focussed on one particular technology or platform
  • list focussed on one particular year
  • list focussed on free books
  • Quora and Reddit threads

I ended up with almost 200 HTML files. I went on opening all the files on my browser, open my chrome inspector, found and wrote the CSS selector matching book titles in the article. This took me around 1hours, almost 30 seconds per page.

This also allowed me to discard even more nonrelevant pages, and I discarded a lot. In the end, I compiled around 70 lists into this one.

At this moment I had this big JSON file referencing the HTML page previously scrapped, and a CSS selector.

Using Python with Beautiful soup, I've extracted every text inside DOM elements that matched the CSS selector. I ended up with a huge list of books, not usable without some post-processing.

To find the most quoted startup books I needed to normalize my results.

I had to play with all the different variation like "{title} by {author}" or "{title} - {author}".

Or "{title}:{subtitle}" and "{title}", or even all the one containing edition number.

I ended up doing it using this simple custom Python function:

def clean_link(link):
    link = link.encode().decode('ascii', errors='ignore')
    link = link.replace("'", '')
    link = link.lower()
    link = ' '.join([w for w in link.split(' ') if w not in ['the', 'a']])
    link = link.split('by')[0]
    link = link.split(':')[0]
    link = link.split('(')[0]
    link = ' '.join(link.split())
    link = link.replace('-', '_')
    link = ''.join([c for c in link if c.isalpha() or c == '_' or c == ' '])
    link = link.strip()
    link = link.replace(' ', '_')
    link = ''.join([c for c in link if c.isalpha() or c == '_'])
    return link
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

and quite a bit of manual cleaning.

My list now looked like this:

From there it was easy to compute the most recommended books. You can find all the data used to process this list on this repo. Now let's take a look at the list:

25 most recommended programming books of all-time

25. Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble & David Farley (8.8% recommended)

"Getting software released to users is often a painful, risky, and time-consuming process. This groundbreaking new book sets out the principles and technical practices that enable rapid, incremental delivery of high quality, valuable new functionality to users. Through automation of the build, deployment, and testing process, and improved collaboration between developers, testers, and operations, delivery teams can get changes released in a matter of hours, sometimes even minutes–no matter what the size of a project or the complexity of its code base.

Jez Humble and David Farley begin by presenting the foundations of a rapid, reliable, low-risk delivery process. Next, they introduce the “deployment pipeline,” an automated process for managing all changes, from check-in to release. Finally, they discuss the “ecosystem” needed to
support continuous delivery, from infrastructure, data and configuration management to governance."

24. Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick & Kevin Wayne (8.8% recommended)

"The algorithms in this book represent a body of knowledge developed over the last 50 years that has become indispensable, not just for professional programmers and computer science students but for any student with interests in science, mathematics, and engineering, not to mention students who use computation in the liberal arts."

23. The Self-Taught Programmer by Cory Althoff (8.8% recommended)

"I am a self-taught programmer. After a year of self-study, I learned to program well enough to land a job as a software engineer II at eBay.

Once I got there, I realized I was severely under-prepared. I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to know but hadn't learned yet. My journey learning to program, and my experience at my first job as a software engineer were the inspiration for this book.

This book is not just about learning to program; although you will learn to code. If you want to program professionally, it is not enough to learn to code; that is why, in addition to helping you learn to program, I also cover the rest of the things you need to know to program professionally that classes and books don't teach you.

"The Self-taught Programmer" is a roadmap, a guide to take you from writing your first Python program, to passing your first technical interview. The path is there. Will you take it?"

22. Rapid Development by Steve McConnell (8.8% recommended)

"Corporate and commercial software-development teams all want solutions for one important problem—how to get their high-pressure development schedules under control. In RAPID DEVELOPMENT, author Steve McConnell addresses that concern head-on with overall strategies, specific best practices, and valuable tips that help shrink and control development schedules and keep projects moving. Inside, you’ll find:

  • A rapid-development strategy that can be applied to any project and the best practices to make that strategy work
  • Candid discussions of great and not-so-great rapid-development practices—estimation, prototyping, forced overtime, motivation, teamwork, rapid-development languages, risk management, and many others
  • A list of classic mistakes to avoid for rapid-development projects, including creeping requirements, shortchanged quality, and silver-bullet syndrome
  • Case studies that vividly illustrate what can go wrong, what can go right, and how to tell which direction your project is going
  • RAPID DEVELOPMENT is the real-world guide to more efficient applications development."

21. Coders at Work by Peter Seibel (10.2% recommended)

"This is a who's who in the programming world - a fascinating look at how some of the best in the world do their work. Patterned after the best selling Founders at Work, the book represents two years of interviews with some of the top programmers of our times."

20. Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans (10.2% recommended)

"Leading software designers have recognized domain modeling and design as critical topics for at least twenty years, yet surprisingly little has been written about what needs to be done or how to do it. Although it has never been clearly formulated, a philosophy has developed as an undercurrent in the object community, which I call "domain-driven design".

I have spent the past decade focused on developing complex systems in several business and technical domains. I've tried best practices in design and development process as they have emerged from the leaders in the object-oriented development community. Some of my projects were very successful; a few failed. A feature common to the successes was a rich domain model that evolved through iterations of design and became part of the fabric of the project.

This book provides a framework for making design decisions and a technical vocabulary for discussing domain design. It is a synthesis of widely accepted best practices along with my own insights and experiences. Projects facing complex domains can use this framework to approach domain-driven design systematically."

19. The Art of Computer Programming by Donald E. Knuth(10.2% recommended)

"Countless readers have spoken about the profound personal influence of Knuth’s work. Scientists have marveled at the beauty and elegance of his analysis, while ordinary programmers have successfully applied his “cookbook” solutions to their day-to-day problems. All have admired Knuth for the breadth, clarity, accuracy, and good humor found in his books."

18. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson / Gerald Jay Sussman / Julie Sussman (13.2% recommended)

"Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs has had a dramatic impact on computer science curricula over the past decade. This long-awaited revision contains changes throughout the text. There are new implementations of most of the major programming systems in the book, including the interpreters and compilers, and the authors have incorporated many small changes that reflect their experience teaching the course at MIT since the first edition was published. A new theme has been introduced that emphasizes the central role played by different approaches to dealing with time in computational models: objects with state, concurrent programming, functional programming and lazy evaluation, and nondeterministic programming. There are new example sections on higher-order procedures in graphics and on applications of stream processing in numerical programming, and many new exercises. In addition, all the programs have been reworked to run in any Scheme implementation that adheres to the IEEE standard."

17. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler (14.7% recommended)

"The practice of enterprise application development has benefited from the emergence of many new enabling technologies. Multi-tiered object-oriented platforms, such as Java and .NET, have become commonplace. These new tools and technologies are capable of building powerful applications, but they are not easily implemented. Common failures in enterprise applications often occur because their developers do not understand the architectural lessons that experienced object developers have learned."

16. Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley (16.1% recommended)

"Computer programming has many faces. Fred Brooks paints the big picture in The Mythical Man Month; his essays underscore the crucial role of management in large software projects. At a finer grain, Steve McConnell teaches good programming style in Code Complete. The topics in those books are the key to good software and the hallmark of the professional programmer. Unfortunately, though, the workmanlike application of those sound engineering principles isn't always thrilling -- until the software is completed on time and works without surprise.

The columns in this book are about a more glamorous aspect of the profession: programming pearls whose origins lie beyond solid engineering, in the realm of insight and creativity. Just as natural pearls grow from grains of sand that have irritated oysters, these programming pearls have grown from real problems that have irritated real programmers. The programs are fun, and they teach important programming techniques and fundamental design principles."

15. Peopleware by Tom DeMarco & Tim Lister (17.6% recommended)

"The unique insight of this longtime bestseller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They're not easy issues; but solve them, and you'll maximize your chances of success."

14. Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen / Charles E. Leiserson / Ronald L. Rivest / Clifford Stein (17.6% recommended)

"Some books on algorithms are rigorous but incomplete; others cover masses of material but lack rigor. Introduction to Algorithms uniquely combines rigor and comprehensiveness. The book covers a broad range of algorithms in depth, yet makes their design and analysis accessible to all levels of readers. Each chapter is relatively self-contained and can be used as a unit of study. The algorithms are described in English and in a pseudocode designed to be readable by anyone who has done a little programming. The explanations have been kept elementary without sacrificing depth of coverage or mathematical rigor.

The first edition became a widely used text in universities worldwide as well as the standard reference for professionals. The second edition featured new chapters on the role of algorithms, probabilistic analysis and randomized algorithms, and linear programming. The third edition has been revised and updated throughout. It includes two completely new chapters, on van Emde Boas trees and multithreaded algorithms, substantial additions to the chapter on recurrence (now called “Divide-and-Conquer”), and an appendix on matrices. It features improved treatment of dynamic programming and greedy algorithms and a new notion of edge-based flow in the material on flow networks. Many exercises and problems have been added for this edition. The international paperback edition is no longer available; the hardcover is available worldwide."

13. Code by Charles Petzold (19.1% recommended)

"What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? In CODE, they show us the ingenious ways we manipulate language and invent new means of communicating with each other. And through CODE, we see how this ingenuity and our very human compulsion to communicate have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries.

Using everyday objects and familiar language systems such as Braille and Morse code, author Charles Petzold weaves an illuminating narrative for anyone who’s ever wondered about the secret inner life of computers and other smart machines.

It’s a cleverly illustrated and eminently comprehensible story—and along the way, you’ll discover you’ve gained a real context for understanding today’s world of PCs, digital media, and the Internet. No matter what your level of technical savvy, CODE will charm you—and perhaps even awaken the technophile within."

12. Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug (19.1% recommended)

"Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

Now Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it’s still short, profusely illustrated…and best of all–fun to read.

If you’ve read it before, you’ll rediscover what made Don’t Make Me Think so essential to Web designers and developers around the world. If you’ve never read it, you’ll see why so many people have said it should be required reading for anyone working on Web sites."

11. Soft Skills by John Sonmez (22% recommended)

"For most software developers, coding is the fun part. The hard bits are dealing with clients, peers, and managers, staying productive, achieving financial security, keeping yourself in shape, and finding true love. This book is here to help.

Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual is a guide to a well-rounded, satisfying life as a technology professional. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez offers advice to developers on important "soft" subjects like career and productivity, personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships. Arranged as a collection of 71 short chapters, this fun-to-read book invites you to dip in wherever you like. A Taking Action section at the end of each chapter shows you how to get quick results. Soft Skills will help make you a better programmer, a more valuable employee, and a happier, healthier person."

10. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell (22% recommended)

"I am not a recruiter. I am a software engineer. And as such, I know what it's like to be asked to whip up brilliant algorithms on the spot and then write flawless code on a whiteboard. I've been through this as a candidate and as an interviewer.

Cracking the Coding Interview, 6th Edition is here to help you through this process, teaching you what you need to know and enabling you to perform at your very best. I've coached and interviewed hundreds of software engineers. The result is this book.

Learn how to uncover the hints and hidden details in a question, discover how to break down a problem into manageable chunks, develop techniques to unstick yourself when stuck, learn (or re-learn) core computer science concepts, and practice on 189 interview questions and solutions.

These interview questions are real; they are not pulled out of computer science textbooks. They reflect what's truly being asked at the top companies, so that you can be as prepared as possible. WHAT'S INSIDE?

  • 189 programming interview questions, ranging from the basics to the trickiest algorithm problems.
  • A walk-through of how to derive each solution, so that you can learn how to get there yourself.
  • Hints on how to solve each of the 189 questions, just like what you would get in a real interview.
  • Five proven strategies to tackle algorithm questions, so that you can solve questions you haven't seen.
  • Extensive coverage of essential topics, such as big O time, data structures, and core algorithms.
  • A behind the scenes look at how top companies like Google and Facebook hire developers.
  • Techniques to prepare for and ace the soft side of the interview: behavioral questions.
  • For interviewers and companies: details on what makes a good interview question and hiring process."

9. Design Patterns by by Erich Gamma / Richard Helm / Ralph Johnson / John Vlissides (25% recommended)

"Capturing a wealth of experience about the design of object-oriented software, four top-notch designers present a catalog of simple and succinct solutions to commonly occurring design problems. Previously undocumented, these 23 patterns allow designers to create more flexible, elegant, and ultimately reusable designs without having to rediscover the design solutions themselves.

The authors begin by describing what patterns are and how they can help you design object-oriented software. They then go on to systematically name, explain, evaluate, and catalog recurring designs in object-oriented systems. With Design Patterns as your guide, you will learn how these important patterns fit into the software development process, and how you can leverage them to solve your own design problems most efficiently.

Each pattern describes the circumstances in which it is applicable, when it can be applied in view of other design constraints, and the consequences and trade-offs of using the pattern within a larger design. All patterns are compiled from real systems and are based on real-world examples. Each pattern also includes code that demonstrates how it may be implemented in object-oriented programming languages like C++ or Smalltalk."

8. Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers (26.4% recommended)

"In this book, Michael Feathers offers start-to-finish strategies for working more effectively with large, untested legacy code bases. This book draws on material Michael created for his own renowned Object Mentor seminars: techniques Michael has used in mentoring to help hundreds of developers, technical managers, and testers bring their legacy systems under control.
This book also includes a catalog of twenty-four dependency-breaking techniques that help you work with program elements in isolation and make safer changes."

7. The Clean Coder by Robert Martin (27.9% recommended)

"Programmers who endure and succeed amidst swirling uncertainty and nonstop pressure share a common attribute: They care deeply about the practice of creating software. They treat it as a craft. They are professionals.

In The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers, legendary software expert Robert C. Martin introduces the disciplines, techniques, tools, and practices of true software craftsmanship. This book is packed with practical advice–about everything from estimating and coding to refactoring and testing. It covers much more than technique: It is about attitude. Martin shows how to approach software development with honor, self-respect, and pride; work well and work clean; communicate and estimate faithfully; face difficult decisions with clarity and honesty; and understand that deep knowledge comes with a responsibility to act.

Great software is something to marvel at: powerful, elegant, functional, a pleasure to work with as both a developer and as a user. Great software isn’t written by machines. It is written by professionals with an unshakable commitment to craftsmanship. The Clean Coder will help you become one of them–and earn the pride and fulfillment that they alone possess."

6. The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks Jr (27.9% recommended)

"Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time."

5. Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman / Bert Bates / Kathy Sierra / Elisabeth Robson (29.4% recommended)

"What’s so special about design patterns?

At any given moment, someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. And, chances are, someone else has already solved your problem. This edition of Head First Design Patterns—now updated for Java 8—shows you the tried-and-true, road-tested patterns used by developers to create functional, elegant, reusable, and flexible software. By the time you finish this book, you’ll be able to take advantage of the best design practices and experiences of those who have fought the beast of software design and triumphed.

What’s so special about this book?

We think your time is too valuable to spend struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Design Patterns uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep."

4. Refactoring by Martin Fowler (35% recommended)

"As the application of object technology--particularly the Java programming language--has become commonplace, a new problem has emerged to confront the software development community. Significant numbers of poorly designed programs have been created by less-experienced developers, resulting in applications that are inefficient and hard to maintain and extend. Increasingly, software system professionals are discovering just how difficult it is to work with these inherited, non-optimal applications.

For several years, expert-level object programmers have employed a growing collection of techniques to improve the structural integrity and performance of such existing software programs. Referred to as refactoring, these practices have remained in the domain of experts because no attempt has been made to transcribe the lore into a form that all developers could use. . .until now. In Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Software, renowned object technology mentor Martin Fowler breaks new ground, demystifying these master practices and demonstrating how software practitioners can realize the significant benefits of this new process. With proper training a skilled system designer"

3. Code Complete by Steve McConnell (42% recommended)

"Widely considered one of the best practical guides to programming, Steve McConnell’s original CODE COMPLETE has been helping developers write better software for more than a decade. Now this classic book has been fully updated and revised with leading-edge practices—and hundreds of new code samples—illustrating the art and science of software construction. Capturing the body of knowledge available from research, academia, and everyday commercial practice, McConnell synthesizes the most effective techniques and must-know principles into clear, pragmatic guidance. No matter what your experience level, development environment, or project size, this book will inform and stimulate your thinking—and help you build the highest quality code."

2. Clean Code by Robert C. Martin (66% recommended)

"Clean Code is divided into three parts. The first describes the principles, patterns, and practices of writing clean code. The second part consists of several case studies of increasing complexity. Each case study is an exercise in cleaning up code—of transforming a code base that has some problems into one that is sound and efficient. The third part is the payoff: a single chapter containing a list of heuristics and “smells” gathered while creating the case studies. The result is a knowledge base that describes the way we think when we write, read, and clean code."

1. The Pragmatic Programmer by David Thomas & Andrew Hunt (67% recommended)

The Pragmatic Programmer is one of those rare tech books you’ll read, re-read, and read again over the years. Whether you’re new to the field or an experienced practitioner, you’ll come away with fresh insights each and every time.

Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt wrote the first edition of this influential book in 1999 to help their clients create better software and rediscover the joy of coding. These lessons have helped a generation of programmers examine the very essence of software development, independent of any particular language, framework, or methodology, and the Pragmatic philosophy has spawned hundreds of books, screencasts, and audio books, as well as thousands of careers and success stories.

Now, twenty years later, this new edition re-examines what it means to be a modern programmer. Topics range from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse."


Although the order might suprise some, by definition, most of you must have heard of these books already.

A few additional things I learned making this list:

  • Marting Fowler, Robert C. Martin and Steve McConnell are the only authors with several books in the list.
  • Cracking to Code interview is the most recent book on the list, released in 2015.
  • Python Programming, by John Zelle was the most cited book focused on one language. It would have #5 had I taken it into account.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

I must admit, this one took a while to write. If you liked this article and feel like Twitter would like it please do not hesitate to love and retweet, it really does help :).

(do NOT create an account just for this though)

Do not hesitate to follow me if you don't want to miss my next posts. I write about tech, my boostraping journey and I occasionnaly write more data analysis article like this one.

I'll continue this serie next week with more specific lists.

Note: while making this article, this one appeared in the Google results. I ended up doing mine anyway because I would use a different automated aggregation technique that allowed be to compiled twice as much lists as he did. However, checking both list could be interesting :).

Top comments (45)

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

I always like to add "Dreaming in Code" by Scott Rosenberg.

In any case, I just added several more books to my list of things to read! Thanks for compiling this list.

(Side note: Not sure I'd take John Sonmez's or Robert Martin's word for anything, especially after some of the recent fallout.)

elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited

Dreaming in Code isn't really about the act of programming though. It's a chronicling of how a project, and business, failed.

But I do recommend it too. It's a really good and interesting read. And for the younger people it's also a nice dip in the history of software development in late 90s/early 2000.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Ah, but it is about programming, specifically how unpredictable programming is. It's helped me time and again with checking my assumptions and cognitive biases as a software developer.

richstoneio profile image
Rich Steinmetz

In this case we should also mention The Phoenix Project ;)

aschwin profile image
Aschwin Wesselius

Not sure I'd take John Sonmez's or Robert Martin's word for anything, especially after some of the recent fallout.

Sorry, I must not have been in the loop somehow. What is this about?

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Here's the best summary. (Read Ben's comment there; the bulk of information is there.)

There's also this, which gives the entire timeline:

Thread Thread
elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

Despite that the two books Clean Code and Clean Coder are good books.

A long while ago Blaine reviewed Clean Architecture by Uncle Bob here on DEV. It apparently was not up to the same standard. In fact, not even good. That, and the twitter mess highlighted in the article you linked, and the crap articles on his website, is reason for me to have written off Uncle Bob.

Thread Thread
codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I've even heard that Clean Code and Clean Coder have a dangerous mix of good and bad ideas, so they're only "good reads" if you already know enough about coding to sort the wheat from the chaff. I prefer to learn clean coding from anyone but Martin.

Thread Thread
elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

It has been a while since I read it. But I do not recall any dangerous ideas. There are a bunch of things in it I do not agree with. But that's common with most books. That's why you should read multiple books by various people on the same subjects so that you can form your mind on different perspectives. There is no single truth.

Clean Code does contain a disclaimer, although in a rather long form. Here's the most important bit of it.

Consider this book a description of the Object Mentor School of Clean Code. The techniques and teachings within are the way that we practice our art. We are willing to claim that if you follow these teachings, you will enjoy the benefits that we have enjoyed, and you will learn to write code that is clean and professional. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that we are somehow “right” in any absolute sense. There are other schools and other masters that have just as much claim to professionalism as we. It would behoove you to learn from them as well.

Indeed, many of the recommendations in this book are controversial. You will probably not agree with all of them. You might violently disagree with some of them. That’s fine. We can’t claim final authority. On the other hand, the recommendations in this book are things that we have thought long and hard about. We have learned them through decades of experience and repeated trial and error. So whether you agree or disagree, it would be a shame if you did not see, and respect, our point of view.

Thread Thread
codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Note, I didn't say there were "dangerous ideas", rather that the mix of good and bad ideas was dangerous. Slight difference in word order, major difference in meaning.

What I'm saying is, you can really only weigh the ideas in Martin's work if you're already well versed in software development. When you're at the "absorb knowledge like a sponge" stage, such a mixed bag is dangerous, because you don't yet have the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. No book can ever be taken entirely at face value, but Martin's work is particularly inconsistent in its reliability, in part due to his inability to separate his opinion from objective fact.

Thread Thread
elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

I didn't say there were "dangerous ideas"

D'oh, guess I wasn't fully awake yet ;)

Thread Thread
codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

I hear ya.

Slides a cup of hot coffee and a plate of donuts to Michiel.

rodiongork profile image
Rodion Gorkovenko

Well :) Some of these books are really important for developers nowadays (e.g. first third part of "Clean Code").

On the other hand there is no practical sense in reading some others, e.g. "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" or "Art of Computer Programming". Really many people recommend them, but very few really read. They use very specific languages for examples and cover many concepts nowadays either outdated or unnecessary. They were hits decades ago, but now more of historical interest, and, being quite tough, would be real waste of time, moreover that what is useful in them is mainly covered in other, more modern books.

The same may be told about most books on algorithms. I really like algorithms (they are my passion), but unless one is looking for CS degree and scientific work, one needs only shallow understanding of time/space complexity nowadays and brief acquaintance with most popular data structures and sort methods. Both of those aren't usually needed for practical tasks in industry (especially in frontend / webdev), but could be easily asked at interviews.

aleksandrhovhannisyan profile image
Aleksandr Hovhannisyan

Really many people recommend them, but very few really read

This pretty much sums up 90% of the "best books to read" listicles I've come across.

Don't waste your time reading a book if all you're going to do is tell others that you read said book.

aschwin profile image
Aschwin Wesselius

I always have a hard time making reviews or the opinion of the collective the main measure of quality. As in, I don't care about votes, I care about a good review with arguments on why something is good or something is not that good.

Even when a book is not read that often, it doesn't mean it's a book of less quality or less important information.

I discovered some books, that are most well worth reading for developers and many people will never find them, because these don't appear on lists like these.

For example:

  • The psychology of computer programming - Gerald Weinberg
  • Exploring requirements - Gerald Weinberg

Yes, both by Gerald Weinberg, but he has written more quality books than Fowler and Martin together.

Another great author is Juval Löwy for which I would recommend all his books. Especially his latest:

  • Righting Software - Juval Löwy

I would not be surprised if the latter will be hitting the next top 25 list.

kamranayub profile image
Kamran Ayub

Adding some of these to my Goodreads. Have you considered making a shared list on there? Makes it easy to add to your Want to Read list 👍

I have read a handful of these, I'm in the middle of Code Complete. Pragmatic Programmer was already on my list at the recommendation from a friend as well.

memitaru profile image
Ami Scott (they/them)

I have a handful off of this list. Cracking the Coding Interview is obviously great for trying to get a handle on those kinds of questions. The Pragmatic Programmer has been a great read so far!

My copy of "Don't Make Me Think" arrived today and I'm excited to get started with it.

hugoliconv profile image

I'm reading Code Complete by Steve McConnell and I have to say it's pretty good. It covers OOP concepts that I haven't be able to understand until now and even though I'm a JavaScript developer I'm glad that I now understand the basics of OOP.

muchwowdodge profile image
Anton Rhein • Edited

I would also like to promote this tiny book. It provides many real world examples of computer programming by devs that were engaged in tech leading companies. Furthermore it provides insights you can‘t learn from theoretic approached books/sources.

dangoslen profile image
Dan Goslen

I'm surprised that The Phoenix Project isn't on here - maybe still too early?

Thanks for providing the list!

drm317 profile image
Daniel Marlow • Edited

Great list. I’d also recommend:
Growing Object-Oriented Software Guided by Tests by Freeman and Pryce

pamprog profile image

Thank you !
Didn't Robert C. Martin wrote 2 books of the list ? So he would be the third author after Marting Fowler and Steve McConnell to have multiple books no ?

daolf profile image

You are correct.

I missed it!

Corrected now.

julianogtz profile image
Juliano Pereira Lima

Pragmatic Programmer is amazing o/

Great list.

martinezpeck profile image
Mariano Martinez Peck

Nice list. I can't just believe you did not include "Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns" from Kent Beck. It's an incredible book and it does not apply only to Smalltalk. I can only recommend this to everyone.

murrayvarey profile image

Awesome work!

I'd definitely recommend The Pragmatic Programmer to anyone who hasn't read it. The first technical book I read, and still my favourite.

daolf profile image

Thank you, will do it asap :)

sivaraam profile image
Kaartic Sivaraam

Just wanted to point out a typo in the conclusion:


Also, thanks for the wonderful collection!

lshanel profile image
Shane Hamilton

I really like this list, Id like to add Category Theory for Programmers as a really good book for programmers. It also has an accompanying lecture series on youtube. I think most programmers will put Category Theory in the functional paradigm box but I found learning and understanding mathematical concepts like Group and Category theory is better understood as understanding abstraction and I found it really helped all my coding OOP and Functional.