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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Paul Graham
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
As Interesting for Non-Technical Types As Hackers

A friend of mine introduced me to this book and I am glad that he did. While I am not a programmer and, as a result, got lost a couple of times in the essays, "Beating the Averages" and "The Dream Language", I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
It clearly and crisply explains the art and science of programming and where it fits into a larger historical and social context. It also provides many thought-provoking insights for technical and non-technical folks alike.
You can see in Graham's writing style his passion for simple, succinct prose as well as code. It was a very pleasurable read.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Code Complete, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Pro-coder's handbook..

If you want to write code for a living, read this book. The advice can be applied and is valid across languages. This book you will help you become a valuable member of the code team by teaching the way to write solid code, that will be easy to extend and maintain.

If you are a lead I would suggest Rapid Development by the same author. These books will pay for themselves many times over.

The 2nd edition has been fairly extensively updated to include commentary on the newer methodologies, but the core is the same.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential COM
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Don Box
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A great book about how COM works

After working with COM for some time one comes to wonder about how COM actually works. Don Box really explains the machinery behind COM in an excellent way. Apart from basic COM concepts such as interfaces and classes, hard-to-grasp areas like marshalling and security are discussed in a way even mortal people can understand!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

For me this book has become the "Book of the books"....how to say...? I mean, it is something more than a simple book that you can find in the open shelves worldwide. The book is `just' about self-reference and self-referential systems and Hofstadter explains you that self-reference is that fundamental `natural' law which moves everything, at every level of complexity as the human intelligence can recognize it: in music, mathematics, art, physics, genetics,...and so on. Hofstadter has the exceptional skill of making the reader to understand these concepts by means of lots of examples, simplified images borrowed from every field of human knowledge, just step by step towards the deep understanding of the so destabilizing Godel's Theorem of Incompleteness. "Gödel, Escher, Bach" is the book which makes you to think and to develop your thinking even beyond the contents of the book itself, trying to catch what should be the last and fardest level of the self-referential systems. The book is however structured in order to talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and how powerful such an intelligence can become if just we can really fully understand how our own brain does work, since AI is 'simply' a way for creating something perfectly imitating ourselves, without being God. And such a process is a so-called a 'strange loop', because we have to go inside our self for creating something outside it. In conclusion, the book represented for me something like "Wonderland" (actually, the reference to Lewis Carrol is a constant in the book), and more..., because once you finished it, you realizes that the book itself is a strange loop as well, and that you would like to start to read it again...and again....