The Best Computer Book You've Never Read
Anyone who reads books can list a few which have changed his life. Some books go beyond entertaining and informing you, and actually affect the way you think, see the world, and live your life. I suppose I don't normally think of computer books in that category, but looking at my bookshelf I see a few which I've had for a long time, books which have had a large and lasting effect on my life. Some of my important books are:
- C Primer Plus by Martin, Waite and Prata, and Mastering Turbo Assembler by Tom Swan. These taught me C and x86 assembly a dozen years ago, skills which helped me get my first Unix job last year.
- Starting Forth by Leo Brodie. Learning an obscure and difficult language can be fun!
- Operating Systems by Andrew Tanenbaum. Taught and is still teaching me the gory details of Unix internals. Lots of fun here too!
- The Armchair Universe by A.K. Dewdney. Dewdney describes interesting corners of math and science, shows how computing can be applied to them, and describes algorithms. You get the fun of writing the programs in the language of your choice. I spent lots of hours with this one.
One of my all-time favorite computer books, though, is far more general and basic, and you've probably never heard of it. The best computer book you've never read is The Secret Guide to Computers by Russ Walter.