- Hardcover: 180 pages
- Publisher: Code Energy LLC (January 17, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0997316004
- ISBN-13: 978-0997316001
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Computer Science Distilled: Learn the Art of Solving Computational Problems Hardcover – January 17, 2017
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This book is an interesting offering. It attempts to condense a large subset of a standard computer science curriculum in a mere 168 pages—a rather formidable task. The result? It depends on the reader and what he or she expects to get out of it. The book offers a glimpse of important topics usually taught in discrete mathematics, data structures, algorithms, computer architecture, databases, operating systems, and programming languages courses. It offers no practice to the reader and only a few examples, which are carefully chosen for their pedagogical value. Who could benefit though from this fragmented and concisely summarized knowledge? The author targets the casual coder who is missing fundamental knowledge in computer science. The claim that this book can open the door to programming mastery is a bit farfetched, as the material it exposes barely scratches the surface. Nevertheless, it certainly offers good value to the novice coder who aims to explore the computer science field further. This book provides an overview of very important and carefully selected topics, and does so in an approachable and often entertaining way.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.
—D. Papamichail, The College of New Jersey, Choice, Vol. 55 (3), October, 2017)
From the Back Cover
The missing guide to computer science topics every programmer should know
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The concepts that are explained in the book are useful for any level, from beginner to advanced in my opinion. It has helped me tremendously to strengthen concepts I had trouble with in the past, and the author manages to explain it in a way that's light and entertaining at the same time.
I'm particularly glad that the author starts from the ground up, with a gentle introduction to the Maths you will need. Very few books (If any) take the trouble of dedicating a couple of chapters to Math alone before diving into how it's used in Computer Science.
The title of the book perfectly summarizes what the author managed to successfully do, which is to 'Distill' every CS concept and present it in a way that's brain-friendly. In Summary, the best introduction to CS you will ever find.
I really wish I'd read this book a few years ago, which manages to clarify many of the concepts I've come across these past years in practical terms, using plain English. The chapters on Strategy (iteration, recursion, dynamic programming, etc) and Databases were especially enlightening!
I'll say that my background is I have a CS degree, so the information in this book was not new but rather a refresher. But it was a very good refresher and well worth the 3-4 hours it took me to read. If you're like me and do have a CS background, I think you'll enjoy the level of coverage of each topic, which is enough detail to be interesting and useful, but not so much to be tedious.
If you don't have a CS background, but maybe you've been programming for a while, this book is an outline of the CS that you should endeavor to build a deeper understanding of. It will not teach you all of the stuff a CS degree teaches you, but it will teach you the most important take-aways from each topic, and help you orient yourself within the field of computer science.
I loved the healthy doses of pragmatism to temper what is otherwise a theory-heavy subject. I also enjoyed the many "example problems" in their simple statements and useful explanations of solutions.
If I were going to teach someone enough CS to be a competent programmer, I don't think this book ALONE does that. HOWEVER, this book is absolutely where I would have someone start. And then I'd have them follow all the links to additional materials included across the various chapters. I think this book is exactly the roadmap someone needs to become a proficient computer scientist. And I think it makes the case well that becoming a better computer scientist helps you be better at writing code.
It's also a quite fine physical book; just the right size, and the printing is beautiful; I know I'll be returning to it for years.
Purists may complain about the author's use of emojis. For only a few hours reading it is remarkable for how much it contains.
I would recommend the book for students of any discipline, including computer science, casual or professional coders in any programming language.
There is a class of reader for whom this book is probably too basic, namely software engineers with a recent academic computer science background.
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