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Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition

111 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342334876
ISBN-10: 0321334876
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“Every C++ professional needs a copy of Effective C++. It is an absolute must-read for anyone thinking of doing serious C++ development. If you’ve never read Effective C++ and you think you know everything about C++, think again.”
Steve Schirripa, Software Engineer, Google“C++ and the C++ community have grown up in the last fifteen years, and the third edition of Effective C++ reflects this. The clear and precise style of the book is evidence of Scott’s deep insight and distinctive ability to impart knowledge.”
Gerhard Kreuzer, Research and Development Engineer, Siemens AG

The first two editions of Effective C++ were embraced by hundreds of thousands of programmers worldwide. The reason is clear: Scott Meyers’ practical approach to C++ describes the rules of thumb used by the experts — the things they almost always do or almost always avoid doing — to produce clear, correct, efficient code.

The book is organized around 55 specific guidelines, each of which describes a way to write better C++. Each is backed by concrete examples. For this third edition, more than half the content is new, including added chapters on managing resources and using templates. Topics from the second edition have been extensively revised to reflect modern design considerations, including exceptions, design patterns, and multithreading.

Important features of Effective C++ include:

  • Expert guidance on the design of effective classes, functions, templates, and inheritance hierarchies.
  • Applications of new “TR1” standard library functionality, along with comparisons to existing standard library components.
  • Insights into differences between C++ and other languages (e.g., Java, C#, C) that help developers from those languages assimilate “the C++ way” of doing things.

About the Author

Scott Meyers is one of the world's foremost authorities on C++, providing training and consulting services to clients worldwide. He is the author of the best-selling Effective C++ series of books (Effective C++, More Effective C++, and Effective STL) and of the innovative Effective C++ CD. He is consulting editor for Addison Wesley's Effective Software Development Series and is a founding member of the Advisory Board for The C++ Source ( He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University. His web site is

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (May 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321334876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321334879
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For more than 20 years, Scott Meyers' Effective C++ books (Effective C++, Effective Modern C++, Effective STL, and More Effective C++) have set the bar for C++ programming guidance. His clear, engaging explanations of complex technical material have earned him a worldwide following, keeping him in demand as a trainer, consultant, and conference presenter. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
How do you improve a book that has been known as a "bible" in the C++ community for years? As Scott mentions at the beginning of the text, he almost threw everything out, and started from scratch. When I first say the book, I thought that there are five new items that were added to the book, but I couldn't be more wrong. As you might have guessed, C++ has gone thru a number of significant changes over the past decade, and the third edition of this book is updated to take advantage of the new editions to the C++ standard. In reality, almost every item in this book has gone thru a re-write. Many have been consolidated and new chapters, topics and many new items have been added. A few items that did not make sense anymore like items 2, 3 and 4 in the second edition are removed from this third edition.

Scott breaks down the c++ language into 4 subparts:

* The old C subsystem. Before all these advanced programming languages such as Java and .NET came, C was the language of choice. C++ is "translated" to C first, and then complied and linked to an executable.

* OO C++, which is C with Classes. This is where the concept of Object Orientation in C++ started. Even though this concept was very much new a decade ago, it is very much part of a programmer's vocabulary.

* Template C++, which is the newest edition to the C++ standard and it brings with it the concept of Template Metaprogramming. This concept is very much new, and this book has dedicated a whole chapter around templates, and template metaprogramming.

* STL, which is the C++ Standard Template Library. Again, STL was a new concept a few years back, but it is very much an established notion in C++.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful By C S Jones on March 8, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really wanted to purchase this book for my Kindle 2 so I could reference it wherever I go. Unfortunately, the conversion to Kindle format made it much more difficult to read, mostly due to the fact that the code samples do not format correctly on the device. I imagine that the book needs to be re-converted to make use of the fixed-width font capabilities that are present in the newer Kindle software. Until they fix the formatting for Kindle, the print version is the only one I would recommend.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Allan Clarke on June 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs" recently came out in its 3rd edition. The first came out in 1991, making this line of book revisions positively ancient in high tech terms. But you should consider the elapsed 14 years an investment in wisdom, not obsolescence. Unlike the 2nd edition, this is a complete rewrite from the ground up. More than that, Scott Meyers begins from first principles, reevaluating what topics are most important to the programmers of 2005.

This was a very strategic and insightful move. Not only has the language evolved over that time, but the audience has too. In the first edition, the likely readers were coming from languages like C. Now the likely readers cross over from some other object-orient language, like Java or C#. Keep in mind

that the author focuses strictly on standard C++; he does not address anything that is platform-specific.

Like its predecessors, the items can be read stand-alone, and he does cross reference related items. The 55 items are grouped into the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Accustoming Yourself to C++

Chapter 2: Constructors, Destructors, and Assignment Operators

Chapter 3: Resource Management

Chapter 4: Designs and Declarations

Chapter 5: Inheritance

Chapter 6: Implementations and Object-Oriented Design

Chapter 7: Templates and Generic Programming

Chapter 8: Customizing new and delete

Chapter 9: Miscellany

I would hate to have to learn the lessons in this book by hard experience. It would be costly in time and unfortunately might even cover more than one employment span.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic, I own three editions.

But the Kindle edition is a pale shadow of the print edition. Purchase the printed edition first, use the Kindle edition only as a portable reference. Expect your reading speed to be much slower on the Kindle edition than in the print edition.

The Kindle display is too narrow for the code, causing lines to wrap at inconvenient places. Code is mostly readable, but the line wraps render the code less readable than the print edition.

The Kindle edition uses the same serifed font for both code and prose, all in black. The printed edition uses a serif font for prose, and uses a sans-serif font to differentiate code. The print edition uses color to identifies important code.

Comparing the two editions gives you deeper appreciation for the art of typesetting.

Photos comparing Kindle and printed formatting at

The Scott Meyers books were *the* reason I bought a Kindle: these books were in my backpack on the day I ordered my Kindle. "I could carry a 10oz Kindle instead of a stack of books? Sold!" Even with the Kindle's limited formatting capabilities, I'm glad to finally have them in a Kindle edition.
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