This book and Intro to Algorithms by Corman are perhaps the best 2 books in my hand. All you will ever need to form a firm foundation in algorithms are developed in these 2 books.
I had this book from way back when I was doing by Comp Sci. But recently, I lost this one during a move and had to re-order. So I though I would share my thoughts on it.
This one is much more formal when compared to Corman. However, I find it much easy to follow than Corman's. Also, I find that it becomes even better when you accompany it with some of the implementation books such as Algorithms in C etc.. It would be easier to visualize things when you accompany such a "practical" book along with this one.
TAOCP book could be another one. But I was exposed to these 2 books first before the TAOCP. I find that these 2 books put much heavy emphasize on the algorithms while the TAOCP brings in some of the other programming/dicreet math components that you study anyway in junior classes.
Draw back is that, the material is dated. Obviously, since they were published way back. So some of those optimal algorithms are not so optimal anymore. Both books lacks clear practical approach to some of those very important algorithms used today, especially on processing Graphs, Extendible Hash, Edge Detection, Concurrent Cache Oblivious B Trees etc... Concurrency is a big part of the world today. So I believe, if anyone where to make another books for academic or otherwise on algorithms, these items would be a prerequisite.
For a pure algo book on some of the core fundamental concepts, I have found much success even today with these 2 books. I don't think there are any books that can do better.