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Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley
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Programming Pearls (1986)

by Jon Bentley

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If you want to learn about the latest web programming frameworks, design patterns, J2EE, .NET, CSS, RoR, etc. then please stay away from this book. Once you think you mastered it all, became a professional programmer with also a nice CS degree under your belt come back and start to read this book for pure pleasure and wisdom. It is with high probability that you'll have both and more than you could have imagined.

Bentley's classic work is still relevant but not in ways most programmers will imagine at the beginning. You'll probably never go and write your own search routines and re-implement classical data structures (you'll use the one that comes with the standard libraries of your language of choice) but you'll always meet some problems which will puzzle you with interesting constraints. This is what Programming Pearls is all about. Study the examples for fun and maybe laugh at them for their simplicity but then remember to applied the strong principles in that book to your daily technical problems (programming related or not). ( )
2 vote EmreSevinc | Jul 2, 2010 |
Lively but dated intro to data structures. ( )
  hithereimdan | Sep 19, 2008 |
This book is amazing! Its a true classic on algorithims.

I would place this on my list of the top 5 programming books of all time. A must read for every who calls themselves a "programmer". ( )
1 vote markusnenadovus | May 3, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0201657880, Paperback)

Fourteen years after it was first issued, C++ expert Jon Bentley reinvents a true classic with the second edition of his Programming Pearls. Completely revised and brought up to date with all new code examples in C and C++, this book remains an exceptional tutorial for learning to think like a programmer.

The "pearls" in question center not only on choosing the right algorithms (like binary searches, sorting techniques, or sparse arrays) but also on showing how to solve problems effectively. Each chapter frames a particular programming task--such as sorting numbers, creating anagrams, or counting the words in a block of text--many drawn from Bentley's experiences in his long career as a developer. The book traces the process of arriving at a fast, efficient, and accurate solution, along with code profiling to discover what works best. After refining the correct answer, each chapter enumerates programming principles that you can use on your own.

The author also challenges you to think like an engineer, and each chapter ends with about a dozen problems to get you thinking creatively about design issues. (Sidebars on such historical topics as the first computer solutions to computer chess, spell-checking, and even architectural design help create a perspective on successful problem solving and make for a truly educational and enjoyable tour of how to become a better programmer.) Bentley also asks the reader to think analytically about the world with "back of the envelope" estimation techniques drawn from engineering. Appendices list the algorithms and code rules covered in the book, plus some sample solutions.

Fans of the first edition of this title will be pleased to see this favorite computer text brought up to date for today's faster hardware. Whether you want to improve your command of algorithms or test your problem-solving skills, the new version of Programming Pearl is a challenging, instructive, and thoroughly entertaining resource. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered: Programming and problem-solving tutorial, sorting algorithms, merge sort, bit vectors, binary searches, program correctness and testing, improving performance, engineering and problem-solving techniques, performance estimates, designing for safety, divide-and-conquer and scanning algorithms, tuning code, tips for more efficient memory usage, insertion sort, quicksort algorithms, sparse arrays, searching algorithms, binary search trees, heaps, priority queues, searching text, and generating random text.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Just as natural pearls grow from grains of sand that irritate oysters, programming pearls have grown from real problems that have irritated real programmers. With origins beyond solid engineering, in the realm of insight and creativity, Bentley's pearls offer unique and clever solutions to those nagging problems. Illustrated by programs designed as much for fun as for instruction, the book is filled with lucid and witty descriptions of practical programming techniques and fundamental design principles. It is not at all surprising that Programming Pearls has been so highly valued by programmers at every level of experience."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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