selected recommendations for programmers

this is a (non-comprehensive, non-final, occasionally updated) list of videos, books and essays which influence my programming life. i’ve selected specifically for samples which have stood the test of time – they’re worth going back for.

(if you have suggestions for additions, please comment below)

Beating the averages – Paul Graham

object oriented programming
Self and the power of simplicity – David Ungar, Randal B. Smith, (1991)
Self: The Movie;

software engineering
The Mythical Man-Month — Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
The Cathedral and the Bazaar — Eric Steven Raymond
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship — Robert C. Martin (pdf)

computer graphics/ui/ux
sketchpad demo – Ivan Sutherland (1963!)

The Design of Everyday Things — Donald A. Norman
Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability — Steve Krug

the mother of all demos – Douglas Engelbart (1968!)
computer revolution video – Allan Kay (1997) transcript
Personal Computing: Historic Beginnings – Alan Kay (2008)
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Learn Python the Hard Way – Zed Shaw

JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford

The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide — Dave Thomas, Chad Fowler, Andy Hunt (was Yukihiro Matsumoto, a.k.a. “Matz”, not involved?) (printed on trees version)

C Programming Language (2nd Edition) — K&R (Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie)

roots of lisp – Paul Graham

The Database as a Value – Rich Hickey

Learn Python, the Hard Way

i just discovered, and blitz-read through the online version of Learn Python, the Hard Way.

it’s, as of now, my favourite Python instruction book (and it’s near the top of my list of books to learn practical programming from).

the entire book is online, for free, in HTML format, but i think it’s part of a more complete course package. it looks to me like the authors charge money for access to pdfs and related video tutorials (though you don’t have to pay the price they request if you don’t think it’s worth it – i found a “name your price” type of agreement for the videos over at )

UPDATE: apparently, a hard copy of this book is available for preorder on amazon