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Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide Paperback – April 21, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1593272838 ISBN-10: 1593272839 Edition: 1st

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Check out the book's Introduction (PDF) on what makes Haskell, well, Haskell in Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272838
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Miran Lipovaca is a computer science student in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In addition to his passion for Haskell, he enjoys boxing, playing bass guitar, and, of course, drawing. He has a fascination with dancing skeletons and the number 71, and when he walks through automatic doors he pretends that he's actually opening them with his mind.

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Customer Reviews

This book is far and away the best way to learn Haskell.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to explore Haskell itself, or functional programming in general.
Author has done a good job in explaining things and concepts in a simple way.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Gordon M. Brown on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A young man from Slovenia, just 23 years of age, writes his first book documenting a difficult computer-programming language, in English, which is not his native language. Given these facts, you'd think the odds would be stacked deeply against any measure of success for him. Yet it appears that, with his book Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide, Miran Lipovaca has almost smashed the ball right out of the ballpark. It is easily the best text available for an absolute newcomer to Haskell, and would also benefit many who've already perused other Haskell books. Moreover, of the seven volumes on Haskell that I own, it's the only one that I've so far managed to read cover-to-cover (including, BTW, typing, testing, and hacking all the code in it. I have, however, come close to finishing Graham Hutton's book, Programming in Haskell, which in most respects could not be further removed from this one.) Another big "plus": Mr. Lipovaca's code actually COMPILES. All of it. (Professor Hutton, are you reading this?)

I say "almost smashed it out," though, because there is room for improvement. Even at that, I think Lipovaca has, at the very least, hit a long triple, just bouncing off the top of the center-field wall, with this book.

To begin with, I must disagree with the reviewers who've claimed, in one way or another, that the author has left out information important even to a beginners' text. On the contrary, the scope and breadth of this text are truly astonishing.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Marijn Haverbeke on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what kind of trick the author is pulling here, but this guide managed to walk me through all important Haskell concepts without ever making any of the material sound complicated. I had, through sheer force of will, managed to understand monads a few years back, so I didn't start from zero -- but somehow none of the mind-bending I remembered from last time was necessary this time around. Even terms like Applicative Functor and Monoid, which I assumed to be things only category theory wizards could possibly be interested in, are exposed by Lipovaca to be relatively simple, banal concepts with everyday uses.

The book doesn't go into any of the really hairy stuff, such as monad transformers, the subtleties of laziness, or unsafe IO, which are probably required for serious Haskell programming. But I guess it's excused, since it does call itself a beginner's guide. It *does* do a very fine job of showing how purity, type classes, and category theory concepts provide mind-blowingly elegant solutions to real, practical programming tasks. As such, I've started recommending it to anyone who asks for a good introduction to functional programming.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dan WC on April 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Haskell is a wonderful language - it's functional, strongly typed, elegant, and lovely to code in. However, to many programmers (even seasoned ones), it's daunting to learn. As a Haskell programmer trying to spread the joy of Haskell to friends and coworkers, this is a real pain. However, I have used Learn You a Haskell For Great Good!, by Miran Lipovaca, for some time now to help get others into Haskell, and I'm thrilled that it's finally been published as a physical book by No Starch Press.

First a caution: Learn You a Haskell is not designed for non-programmers - it is not a guide to learn how to program. Rather, it's a guide for programmers who are used to imperative languages (like C, Java, or even Fortran) to learn about functional languages (and, obviously, Haskell in particular). What's nice about this book compared to other typical programming guides is that it's engaging to read; it's funny and cute, and the content is consistently clear. Also, the order in which the material is presented makes sense.

The book starts out with a few chapters on the basics. Lipovaca shows how to call functions, use lists and tuples, and understand the basic type system. He goes on to explain pattern matching, recursion, and higher order functions - the bread and butter of functional programming. The descriptions and examples (and even the doodles) are great. He goes through the toolkit of many commonly used functions (reverse, zip, map, fold, ...) and shows how to implement them from scratch.

Chapters 6 though 10 focus on actually using Haskell to write real programs. Modules are covered briefly before a great section on type classes.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alex on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Learn You a Haskell" actually teaches two different subjects -- distinct but related -- under the same cover: 1) the Haskell programming language, a strong and flexible, purely functional computer language, and 2), an introduction to Monads and their ilk. These mathematical abstractions that help model behaviors of real-life systems, and are used often in Haskell programming. The book excels in the first part, moving painlessly through most language features, with clear descriptions and few illustrative examples. However, once you reach the Monad chapters, you may feel you've hit a bit of a snag.

This is where I felt the book was at its weakest. It attempts to use the same teaching mechanics from the first ten chapters, but the subject matter imposes a steeper assimilation curve and demands a more patient treatment (not to mention a few practice exercises and least a superficial introduction to using monads as modeling tools).

While "Learn You a Haskell" remains a decent introductory book (and though it pretends to be nothing more than this), I felt that it tried to span some complex subjects which it treated too casually. Some of the material appears to be a little outdated as well. These are the reasons why I'm taking two stars.
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