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Customer Review

622 of 643 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic, May 20, 2000
This review is from: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) (Hardcover)
This is one of the great classics of computer science. I bought my first copy 15 years ago, and I still don't feel I have learned everything the book has to teach.
I have learned enough to write a couple books on Lisp that (currently) have four to five stars. Yet SICP, which is pretty much the bible of our world, has only three? How can this be?
Reading the reviews made it clear what happened. An optimistic professor somewhere has been feeding SICP to undergrads who are not ready for it. But it is encouraging to see how many thoughtful people have come forward to defend the book.
Let's see if we can put this in terms that the undergrads will understand -- a problem set:
1. Kenneth Clark said that if a lot of smart people have liked something that you don't, you should try and figure out what they saw in it. List 10 qualities that SICP's defenders have claimed for it.
2. How is the intention of SICP different from that of Knuth? Kernighan & Ritchie? An algorithms textbook?
3. Does any other book fulfill this purpose better?
4. What other programming books first published in the mid 1980s are still relevant today?
5. Could the concepts in this book have been presented any better in a language other than Scheme?
6. Who is al? Why is his name in lowercase?
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2006 3:47:30 AM PST
al is al davis, the owner, formerly living but now dead, of the Raiders football franchise. al can be seen perambulating, but vacantly, on sundays and thursdays. enough for al.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2008 6:08:33 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 16, 2009 3:08:55 PM PST]

Posted on Dec 29, 2009 4:29:13 PM PST
I think the dislike expressed by people towards this book,is rather it doesn't use a modern procedural language as language of common choice. I've done both Scheme and Python, while I like both, the newer class version of SICP with Python sounds more appealing to me.

Posted on Aug 16, 2010 10:19:04 PM PDT
Well said. I hope to live long enough to repair the defects of a modern education. This tool should help

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 2:02:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 10, 2015 9:03:03 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2013 8:32:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2013 8:32:37 AM PDT
SpaceGhost says:
I agree with you and I do not come here in defense of SICP, but we should keep in mind Code Complete is also somewhat dry and offers cited empirical statements and yet it's still readable.

I think there's even more missing from SICP than what you correctly identified. There's definitely a big didactic issue there.

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 3:47:52 AM PST
Hi Paul,
Thanks for the review. ANy chance that you may have notes that you had taken on this book? I find the language forbidding to say the least.. Let me know..

Many thanks!!!

Posted on Jan 26, 2016 4:36:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2016 4:38:47 AM PST
Mothra says:
Started reading this about when I also started reading Knuth et al.'s _Concrete Mathematics_. Concrete Mathematics is beautifully written, devoid of ego.

Unfortunately, in contrast, SICP comes off as meandering and self-indulgent. I might have enjoyed it more had it not been competing with a superior writing style, but I'm not so sure.
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