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Paperback The Little Lisper Book

ISBN: 0574219552

ISBN13: 9780574219558

The Little Lisper

(Book #1 in the The Little Schemer Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

The notion that "thinking about computing is one of the most exciting things the human mind can do" sets both The Little Schemer (formerly known as The Little LISPer) and its new companion volume, The... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

a reminder of older, cleverer times

I am reading this book now, after wanting to get back into LISP programming after a ten year hiatus. My last memory of LISP was when I learned it in high school with an excellent teacher. I wish we had had this book back then! As it stands, I devoured the book in a few sittings -- its amusing, fast paced, rigorous and low-BS structure make it an excellent read.I'm of the last generation of students who were able to switch on a computer and get a BASIC prompt. The huge heft of "introductory" programming books today leaves me cold and uninspired -- I would hate to have seen these when I was first exploring the excitement of programming.The Little Schemer, by some of the old gurus of the (I believe) MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab (if not that particular lab, then at least those early, heady days in the '70s when AI wasn't a joke), reminded me of what it used to be like -- slowly building up a repertoire of commands and associated concepts that made programming seem a lot more like playing a Bach fugue and a lot less like debugging window objects. Things like recursion -- the essential part of this book -- are inherently wonderful.Were I teaching an advanced class for high school students, this book would be at the top of my list. Were I wanting to introduce a liberal arts student into the joys of mathematics, this book would be at the top. Were I wanting to deprogram a bad-habited CS student, this book. Indeed, with so many Universities wanting to stuff some kind of logical, syntatical reasoning requirements into their required courses, this book should be a best seller.It is a book that recaptures the joys and frustrations of programming and goes a long way to explaining why so many of the brightest people of the 20th century, at some point or another, sat down and cons'ed up a list.

Interesting read about Scheme, recursion, and formal methods

I think this is a marvelous book. The preface proclaims "Things You Need to Know to Read This Book" - The reader must be comfortable reading English, recognizing numbers, and counting. This perhaps understates the problem, but Friedman and Felleisen do an excellent job of introducing the reader to recursion and Scheme through the use of a formal methods. Concepts are built element-by-element and the reader learns by participating in the socratic "question and answer" style of learning. The examples train the reader to think recursively and present methods for developing recursive programs. Everything is built from first principles -- for example, a system of arithmetic and an equation interpreter is built only from number?, add1, and sub1.I highly recommend this entertaining book. The material is straightforward and interesting, yet it hints at much more weighty computer science problems. I think it would an excellent text from which to teach college underclassmen (or perhaps even advanced high-schoolers), especially as a first computer science course or as an adjunct to an algorithms class.

An out-and-out gem

This book was distributed to us, in a CS class, at Rice University in manuscript form. If you are looking for a for a great introduction to Scheme, you've found it. To summarize my reasons for liking this book:1. It has an enormous amount of information packed into easily readable portions2. More complex concepts are tied to the simpler concepts they depend upon3. Material is organized in order of complexity4. Each concept is described from many angles5. When describing syntax, the sub-parts of complex syntax are explained well too, providing a fuller explaination. Thus, one develops a better intuitive sense of the language6. Last but not least, it is excellently written, the style is entertaining but does not compromise profundity. You won't be falling asleep. It's a rivetting read!

I concur, one of the best computer book I've ever read

I'm still struggling with lisp, but this book was simple, to the point, and clear. I didnt even get annoyed by his goofy attempts at humor.

The best first book on programming in any language.

I gave an earlier edition of The Little LISPer a glowing review in Byte in 1980. It was then the best introductory book on programming, regardless of language, and I still haven't seen anything to compare with it. The greatest strength of LISP is its firm base in the essentials of the mathematics of computability, including Goedel's recursive functions and Church's Lambda calculus. It uses a single data structure, the linked list, and a minimum of programming primitives, all with well-known mathematical properties. For those who don't know the mathematics, this base in simple concepts means that LISP is one of the easiest programming languages to understand, and at the same time one of the most powerful.The greatest strength of Little LISPer is its easy and natural sequence of steps for introducing data types and structures (numeric, text, and Boolean atoms organized in lists and trees) along with the recursive programming structures that are natural for creating and processing them.I have just ordered the third edition for my son who is learning programming (if he can get it away from me).
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