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Programming Pearls by [Bentley, Jon]
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Programming Pearls 2nd , Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 256 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
Language: English

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Amazon.com Review

Fourteen years after it was first issued, C++ expert Jon Bentley reinvents a true classic with the second edition of his Programming Pearls. Completely revised and brought up to date with all new code examples in C and C++, this book remains an exceptional tutorial for learning to think like a programmer.

The "pearls" in question center not only on choosing the right algorithms (like binary searches, sorting techniques, or sparse arrays) but also on showing how to solve problems effectively. Each chapter frames a particular programming task--such as sorting numbers, creating anagrams, or counting the words in a block of text--many drawn from Bentley's experiences in his long career as a developer. The book traces the process of arriving at a fast, efficient, and accurate solution, along with code profiling to discover what works best. After refining the correct answer, each chapter enumerates programming principles that you can use on your own.

The author also challenges you to think like an engineer, and each chapter ends with about a dozen problems to get you thinking creatively about design issues. (Sidebars on such historical topics as the first computer solutions to computer chess, spell-checking, and even architectural design help create a perspective on successful problem solving and make for a truly educational and enjoyable tour of how to become a better programmer.) Bentley also asks the reader to think analytically about the world with "back of the envelope" estimation techniques drawn from engineering. Appendices list the algorithms and code rules covered in the book, plus some sample solutions.

Fans of the first edition of this title will be pleased to see this favorite computer text brought up to date for today's faster hardware. Whether you want to improve your command of algorithms or test your problem-solving skills, the new version of Programming Pearl is a challenging, instructive, and thoroughly entertaining resource. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered: Programming and problem-solving tutorial, sorting algorithms, merge sort, bit vectors, binary searches, program correctness and testing, improving performance, engineering and problem-solving techniques, performance estimates, designing for safety, divide-and-conquer and scanning algorithms, tuning code, tips for more efficient memory usage, insertion sort, quicksort algorithms, sparse arrays, searching algorithms, binary search trees, heaps, priority queues, searching text, and generating random text.

Product Description

When programmers list their favorite books, Jon Bentley’s collection of programming pearls is commonly included among the classics. Just as natural pearls grow from grains of sand that irritate oysters, programming pearls have grown from real problems that have irritated real programmers. With origins beyond solid engineering, in the realm of insight and creativity, Bentley’s pearls offer unique and clever solutions to those nagging problems. Illustrated by programs designed as much for fun as for instruction, the book is filled with lucid and witty descriptions of practical programming techniques and fundamental design principles. It is not at all surprising that Programming Pearls has been so highly valued by programmers at every level of experience.


In this revision, the first in 14 years, Bentley has substantially updated his essays to reflect current programming methods and environments. In addition, there are three new essays on

  • testing, debugging, and timing
  • set representations
  • string problems

All the original programs have been rewritten, and an equal amount of new code has been generated. Implementations of all the programs, in C or C++, are now available on the Web.


What remains the same in this new edition is Bentley’s focus on the hard core of programming problems and his delivery of workable solutions to those problems. Whether you are new to Bentley’s classic or are revisiting his work for some fresh insight, the book is sure to make your own list of favorites.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8836 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (21 April 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01EAW7XXU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,800 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A must read for every developer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 86 reviews
169 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it just seems slightly silly today like "big" computers with just a meg or two of ... 7 September 2016
By Jerome - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You may think this book is out of date, because it was published in 1999, but you are wrong.

This book has a list of hand picked real problems solved by various developers at times when RAM was counted in kilobytes and megabytes and CPU frequency in megahertz rather than in gigahertz. The examples aren't untrue, they're just not intuitive to a modern reader. It's nothing that ruins the book, it just seems slightly silly today like "big" computers with just a meg or two of memory available. But these algorithms are still very important, because current computer systems are limited by memory access times rather than by CPU frequency. It means that in many cases you may gain a serious performance boost by using these "out of date" algorithms.

This book can not replace any of well-known algorithm text books, but this is probably the best practical programming/algorithms book I've read. And the most important part is, it is easy and interesting to read. So if you are a programmer, read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for familiarizing coding state of mind, an interesting complement to algorithm and coding interview books 10 January 2016
By Yow-Bang (Darren) Wang - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book can be an interesting complement to algorithm textbooks and coding interview questions/tips, in the sense that this book offers initiatives on how to start the thought process with algorithms and data structures to tackle real problems, and also small tips to use and common traps to avoid. As a former C/C++ user and current Python user, I feel this book suits better to C/C++ coders who have the need to implement some basic algorithms by themselves instead of just using existing libraries. For others, the content of this book may not be immediately applicable to your coding interviews or daily works, but rather like a mental practice. It takes some time for you feel the power and confidence this book gives you after reading it, but it worths.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was glad to get this gem again 16 January 2014
By Roger Merritt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is really very dated, yet in another way it's timeless. I used to have a copy but it was lost in various moves around the world. I have been able to keep my copy of a book referred to in this one, Kerhighan and Plauger's "Software Tools." Bentley's book is about programming back in the '80s, and uses programming languages that are not much used any more (Fortran, Cobol). On the other hand the design methods and ways of thinking about problems are as valid and useful as ever. I loved this book, but have to admit that it calls for more dedication than I now have.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best 27 February 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Programming Pearls" is far and away my favorite book on programming. If "Code Complete" is the "meat and potatoes" of software books, this is the garnish and the dessert. It's a nonstop litany of fascinating and timeless problems from some of the most interesting years or software. Reading it and tackling the problems is at once a humbling and enlightening experience. Almost all topics covered still apply today, at least in an allegorical sense. I can't recommend it highly enough.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pearls. Sand and clams included. 5 March 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Programming Pearls" is far from a useless book. It is thought provoking half of the time, amazing 20% of the time, useful most of the time. However, computer science has come such a long way since these essays were written, it makes this book seems to be uneven at times, at least in terms of depth. A column in this book is about heaps; if someone doesn't know what a heap is, s/he should probably read any algorithms book instead of this one. In fact, most of the book must be very illuminating at the time it was written; however, almost 30 years have passed since the first edition, and more than ten years for the second edition. What use to be pearls now are mostly folklore and introductory knowledge. If you are bored, or have a special passion for history, or is a philosopher instead of a computer scientist / programmer, pick this one up and read it from cover to cover; if you are not, skim it would give you maybe an afternoon's worth of joy. I read it for several days, but in retrospect, it must be the aged contents which kept me so bored made me slowed down.

This book does have the pearls; however, to dig it out, the thick clam meat (which are not so juicy now as it was) and the sand (which use to be pearls to, but now more like white noise) must be taken care of.
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