- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (December 21, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 026256100X
- ISBN-13: 978-0262561006
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Seasoned Schemer (MIT Press)
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Friedman and Felleisen's The Seasoned Schemer picks up where their book, The Little Schemer, left off and focuses on the myriad uses of functions in Scheme. Using the same dialogue format as The Little Schemer, the authors demonstrate how Scheme's flexible facilities for handling functions give the program so much variety and power. Along the way, the authors also present a variety of other more sophisticated language constructs.
I learned more about LISP from this book than I have from any of the other LISP books I've read over the years...While other books will tell you the mechanics of LISP, they can leave you largely uninformed on the style of problem-solving for which LISP is optimized. The Little LISPer teaches you how to think in the LISP language...an inexpensive, enjoyable introduction.(Gregg Williams Byte)
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I don't mean to be so harsh. I enjoyed reading The Little Lisper, and I intend to read the other "Little" books for their content (which is worthwhile) even if I don't appreciate their style.
Unfortunately The Seasoned Schemer has a strong inclination towards inside jokes for people who already know the material. In the process of charming the experienced reader it risks losing novices. How does a reference to Alonzo Church using call-with-current-continuation tell the novice that letcc is not available in many Scheme implementations? Why is there no real explanation of when and where to apply the "12th commandment" (use letrec to remove arguments that do not change for recursive application)? Why does a discussion about using closures and functions to model data structures devolve into trivia about circular lists? The text often seems like a sequence of such programming gems littered in a book with few clues for eyes unaccustomed to recognizing gems.
People familiar with the subject matter will enjoy the charming and concise discussion of fundamental (and often difficult) ideas. Other readers are probably better served by reading a proper text book on programming in Scheme. It's a real pity though, because once you get the inside jokes this really is a fine book! Just don't use it as your first book on programming in LISP like languages.
It covers a lot of ground in a slim volume (just as in "The Little Schemer"). This book introduces the concepts of closures and call-with-current-continuation (among other things).
As with "The Little Schemer", this book's strength is in its socratic instruction method. Lessons are written and illustrated as conversations between the reader and the instructor (in question/answer format). While this sounds strange, it is actually surprisingly effective as a means of learning the material. It might seem somewhat like rote instruction, but it can often frame foreign concepts in a rememberable fashion.
Neither of these books require much in the way of background or familiarity with the material. They were created as a means of teaching non-programmers to program in Scheme. However, I think they hold value for trained programmers as well.
The Seasoned Schemer is continuation of The Little Schemer that I listed as my #4 favorite book in the first part of this series. This book is written in the same style as The Little Schemer and it's extremely fun to read. It's a dialogue between you and the authors but unlike The Little Schemer that teaches you to think recursively this book teaches you to think about the nature of computation. You'll learn about closures, continuations and continuation passing style (cps), y-combinator and implement your own Lisp in Lisp at the end.
Focuses on the use of functions in scheme, in an easy reading, enjoyable style. My only minor criticism is that the typographic conventions make the code hard to read. I realize that they serve a purpose, but it made the typesetting ugly.
An admirable work, suitable for reading even if you already "know it all", just because of its approach to teaching.