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    Sadly though, popularity is seldom a good indicator of quality.

    I mean, ought we really to learn about Soft Skills from a guy who demonstrates said skills like this, and who makes videos on YouTube about “getting the girls you want”?

    I’d be skeptical of anyone who describes themselves as a life coach, or who’s personal finance and investing advice is “just buy one house every year”.

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      I think it’s not good as an absolute indicator of quality. I think it’s a useful signal and many of these books I’ve read, consider quality, and thus will consider other things associated with them.

      I like these lists for two reasons- they are easy to skim and find new ideas about things to read, they spur conversations where people provide additional info and recommendations.

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        Since OP uses statistics here, my immediate thought upon reading the methodology is that more statistics ought to have been used to address these very questions.

        For instance:

        • If the recommendation rate for a particular book stays totally steady over time (especially if the same names are associated with it) then there’s probably a small but vocal fanbase doing the recommendations and failing to make an impact (which may mean that the book isn’t useful outside of a fringe audience, or may mean that people who are predisposed to like the book are also predisposed to being very bad at promoting it). I’d expect Knuth to be in this position: Art of Computer Programming is big, dense, and expensive, and only giant nerds will actually read it.
        • If the recommendation rate gets too high (especially if there’s a lot of variety in who is recommending it) and the problems it’s meant to address don’t go away, then it’s likely that the book presents seductive advice that doesn’t really work (or only works in trivial situations, or has extremely limited benefits). I’d expect the design pattern & testing books to sort of be in this category: both are extremely popular techniques, but their widespread adoption hasn’t really coincided with better-quality code because, while they make certain kinds of trivial mistakes more visible and therefore make certain kinds of debugging easier, they introduce their own complications (especially from naive application) and do not address the kinds of problems that experienced developers were already having the most trouble with.
        • I remember being assigned several of these books in college, & didn’t think much of them. The same way that your friend from high school who didn’t really read considers his favorite book to be The Great Gatsby (or some other piece of assigned reading that ended up being halfway decent), folks who don’t read CS books are liable to overestimate the quality of the few they’ve read, and ones that are assigned will be the only ones they’ve picked up. So, we can look at trends in recommendations compared to trends in assignment in syllabus, and see if they line up too closely. If the association is almost linear, then the books are probably not very good (and are merely marginally better than the average textbook).
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          I agree. I didn’t know about Soft Skills and its author, but it’s pretty horrible.

          I am always quite surprised when I see The Art of Computer Programming in close proximity to the likes of Clean Coder.

          The first, to me, is about as close to a work of art that you can get in our field work. It’s a rigorous, didactic work, beautifully put together and playful at times.

          The second reeks of self help books void of content. Robert C. Martin, I refuse to call him “Uncle Bob”, campaigns for things I don’t believe are healthy for you, neither as a professional nor as a human being. A vivid example is his ideal to spend 40 hours of work per week “on your employers terms” and then 20 more “reading, practicing, learning, and otherwise enhacindg career”. The latter 20 hours are, in his words, “for you”. I think this is way too much and mostly in the interest of your employer.

          I wanted to write that I would not rate Robert C. Martin very close to John Sonmez of Soft Skills, until I found that Robert C. Martin wrote a foreword for the book.

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          I recently reread “Programming Pearls” and it’s very definitely worth reading even now, almsot 40 years after many of the examples he gives.

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            I think it’s interesting how many “oldie but goodie” books are on this list. And rightly so. I had Code by Perzgold sitting in a guest bathroom and a guest came out holding it and saying how good it is. And the book is almost 20 years old.

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              +1, I recently started re-reading it, too. It’s also good to know it’s available via an O’Reilly Safari subscription!

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              I also find the ‘The Rust Programming Language’ book quite interesting (especially parts like ‘Ownership’. Yes it is language specific. But it explains all the language concepts Rust uses very well, which I feel makes you a better programmer overall. It is available for free online, and you can find hard copies in store.

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                I clearly gotta shill Data and reality more

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                  bye website with popups