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Author Topic:   What are your Top 10 Geek Books?
Snaggy
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posted February 02, 2002 23:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Snaggy   Click Here to Email Snaggy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Geordie suggest a forum topic asking for a list of the top geek books of all time... so here we go, what are your top geek books?

(Note: I'll probably add them to our Geek Books Links.

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EngrBohn
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posted February 03, 2002 04:40     Click Here to See the Profile for EngrBohn   Click Here to Email EngrBohn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  • Brooks, The Mythical Man Month
  • Cormen et.al, Introduction to Algorithms
  • UNIX in a Nutshell
  • Hennessy & Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach
  • Bently, Programming Pearls
  • Beatty & Chaiken, The New Solar System
  • Larson & Wertz, Spacecraft Mission Analysis and Design
  • Milton & Arnold, Introduction to Probabilty and Statistics: Principles and Applications for Engineerng and the Computing Sciences

I reserve the right to add the remaining two to my list at a later date

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cb
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platypus
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posted February 03, 2002 07:06     Click Here to See the Profile for platypus   Click Here to Email platypus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
fiction or nonfiction?

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chromatic
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posted February 03, 2002 09:44     Click Here to See the Profile for chromatic   Click Here to Email chromatic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's hard to leave out Douglas Adams and J. R. R. Tolkein, but they're obvious. How about "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle and "Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass", by Lewis Carroll?

I'd also nominate "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie and "Programming Perl", by Wall et al. Throw in some W. Richard Stevens, and you have a quintessential Unix geek library.

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+Andrew
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posted February 03, 2002 09:59     Click Here to See the Profile for +Andrew   Click Here to Email +Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game

-Andrew

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homesalad
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posted February 03, 2002 10:02     Click Here to See the Profile for homesalad   Click Here to Email homesalad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm. I'm going to have to say, anything Neal Stephenson, or William Gibson.

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dragonman97
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posted February 03, 2002 14:32     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonman97   Click Here to Email dragonman97     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Definitely anything by Neal Stephenson, foremost being Cryptonomicon, and 'In the beginning...was the command line.' Also I would add Linus' book, 'Just for Fun, the Story of an Accidental Revolutionary,' and Wayner's 'Free for all. I'm sure some may disagree, but I liked Katz's "Geeks." Oh, and just about every O'Reilly book ever printed - I have 4 by my bed right now. (Yes, I've come to love reading highly technical nonfiction books recently).

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Geordie
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posted February 03, 2002 15:16     Click Here to See the Profile for Geordie   Click Here to Email Geordie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by platypus:
fiction or nonfiction?

Yes.

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Geordie
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posted February 03, 2002 16:49     Click Here to See the Profile for Geordie   Click Here to Email Geordie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am going to go with ones that I don't necessarily think are the best books of all time but in some way illustrate one of the paths that lead to the geek way. Since some of the ones already listed would make my list as well I'll fill their places in my list with some other choices. I will also reproduce a sample sentence from each of my choices in lieu of a personal review since I feel the works can speak for themselves.

Flatland - Edwin Abbott

quote:
Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaing fixed in their places, move freely about on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like the shadows -- only hard and with luminous edges -- and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen.

Dungeon Masters Guide - Gary Gygax and others now.

quote:
You will find a lot of information in this book, but you will not find pat answers to all your questions and easy soutions for all your game problems.

Stuff- Ivan Amato (darn amazon says out of print)

quote:
Four high-qaulity Wedgewood cups can support a tank. But woe to those who put a great deal of tension on pottery vessels or teacups: Such tension entails a force that pulls on the chemical stitching holding the grains together.

The Binary Bible - Saint $ilicon (Amazon does not even know about it)

quote:
The Giver Of Data gave Oddam just one System Command regarding this tree structure:"You may freely eat of every tree on the Griden. But of the the tree of Knowledge of Independent Processing Power you may not eat, for on that day you eat of it you will be overwhelmed by Data.

Anything by Freeman Dyson but I have from Eros to Gaia at my fingertips

quote:
We can't calculate from general principles the optimal size of a scientific project, any more than we can calculate from general principles the optimal size of an elephant or a whale.

The Golden Gate - Vikram Seth

quote:
He tuned his thoughts to elctronic
Circuitry. This soothed his mind.
He left irregular (moronic)
Sentimentality behind.
He thought of or-gates and of and-gates
Of ROMs. of nor-gates, and of nand-gates,
Of nanoseconds, Megabytes,
and bits and nibbles... but as flights
Of silhouetted birds move cawing
Across the pine-serrated sky,
Dragged from his cove, not knowing why.
He fells an urgent riptide drawing
him far out, where, caught in the kelp
Of loneliness, he cries for help.

Einstein for Beginners - Schwartz&McGuiness

quote:
Damn ! There goes my image again. I keep telling them not to go 186,000 miles per second when I'm shaving.

Society of Mind - Marvin Minsky

quote:
Each mental agent by itself can only do some simple thing that needs no mind or thought at all. Yet when we join these agents in societies -- in certain very special ways -- this leads to true intelligence.

Philip and Alex's guide to Web Publishing - Philip Greenspun

quote:
There can be more to life than making a client's bad ideas flesh with photoshop and Perl/CGI.

microserfs - Douglas Coupland

quote:
I am [email protected], If my life was a game of Jeopardy ! my seven dream categories would be: Tandy products, Trash TV of the late 70's and early 80's, The history of Apple, Career anxieties, Tabloids, plant life of the pacific Northwest , Jell-O 1-2-3.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig

quote:
It seems natural and normal to me to make use of the small tool kits and instruction booklets supplied with each machine.

The Cuckoo's Egg - Clifford Stoll

quote:
Well, This seemed like a fun toy, so I dug into the accounting program.

I am tired of typing now....


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ZorroTheFox
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posted February 03, 2002 18:53     Click Here to See the Profile for ZorroTheFox   Click Here to Email ZorroTheFox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anything I feel like reading at the time.........Z

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Evilbunny
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posted February 03, 2002 20:21     Click Here to See the Profile for Evilbunny   Click Here to Email Evilbunny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One number...


42!

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Akira
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posted February 04, 2002 00:51     Click Here to See the Profile for Akira   Click Here to Email Akira     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In no particular order:

1) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy collected works by Douglas Adams

2) Signed first printing of Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

3) Designing with JavaScript (the name of the author unfortunately escapes me -- great right-brained approach to JavaScript)

4) The Photoshop WOW Book

5) Star Wars Incredible Cross Sections

6) M.C. Escher Pop-up book (compliments the coffee table litho book nicely)

7) Star Wars Chronicls (ultimate Star Wars coffee table book, given as a graduation gift)

8) Cyberia (extended essay on cyberculture by Douglas Rushkoff)

9) Microserfs (trite I know, but...)

10) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

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SupportGoddess
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posted February 04, 2002 02:42     Click Here to See the Profile for SupportGoddess   Click Here to Email SupportGoddess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nobody said Godel Escher Bach yet?

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Swiss Mercenary
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posted February 04, 2002 02:44     Click Here to See the Profile for Swiss Mercenary   Click Here to Email Swiss Mercenary     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Illuminatus Trilogy'
'Joy of Linux' (how could we forget that boys and girls? )
'Lord of the Rings'
'The Difference Engine'
Anything by William Gibson
'Snowcrash'
'Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy'
Anything related to Dungeons and Dragons (and other RPG's)

Whatever I seem to be reading at the moment.

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Zwilnik
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posted February 04, 2002 05:34     Click Here to See the Profile for Zwilnik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Random walks in Science and More Random Walks in Science. Apart from listing every Murphy's law and collary of, they also have articles proving that Heaven is hotter than Hell, how ghosts work and the mechanical forces on a bra.

They also include a lot of Rutherford's practical jokes, including the winding up of a downstairs neighbour by making her pet tortoise grow to giant size over the space of a couple of weeks.

I was lucky enough to read these classics in school and even luckier to be able to pick up a copy of More Random Walks in a technical bookshop. I've not been able to get a copy of Random Walks yet though.

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platypus
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posted February 04, 2002 07:07     Click Here to See the Profile for platypus   Click Here to Email platypus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Knowing this is going to make him unpopular...

quote:
Originally posted by Swiss Mercenary:
Anything by William Gibson

UGH! CAN'T STAND HIM! For many geeky reasons, that I won't go into.

quote:
Originally posted by Swiss Mercenary:

Anything related to Dungeons and Dragons

maybe it's because I'm a lit major, but I doubt it, since I really like Peter David's fiction and I like comics, but ever D&D novel besides the original Dragonlance trilogy that I've ever read has be utter crap. Even if you're talking about rule books, there are some that are good, some that are bad. See my articles on The Time Waster's Guide

Geeky books that I do like? GURPs expansion books. Well researched. Douglas Adams (I almost like the Dirk Gently books better than HHGTTG), LotR, [U]Understanding Comics[/U] by Scott McCloud, [U]Kingdom Come[/U] by Alex Ross, Mark Waid, et al., and Goethe's Faust

I didn't care for Ender's Game for realism problems (been editing too long), even though it was an enjoyable read. I guess I'm more of a wordsmith geek.

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sosumi
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posted February 05, 2002 23:24     Click Here to See the Profile for sosumi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Timeline by Michael Crichton, quantum physics and fantasy rolled into one - fun!

'Illuminatus Trilogy', glad to run into others that appreciate it


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Swiss Mercenary
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posted February 06, 2002 05:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Swiss Mercenary   Click Here to Email Swiss Mercenary     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
platypus,

I am not going to berate you for your comments, after you have your reasons, I may not agree with them, but you have the right to have them.

I can agree that not all Dungeons & Dragons books are great, here I was talking about the reference and rule books.

If you want good D&D novels to read, read the Dark Elf stories by Salvatore, I find them excellent and Salvatore is a good author, his Crimson Shadow books are really enjoyable.

Ender's Game was great as a novella, but I found that Scott Card turning it into a full length novel (and what a length) ruined it for me.

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quantumfluff
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posted February 06, 2002 06:25     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Geordie: 'Flatland' rocks!. That brings back memories. I remember reading that in the library in high school and sharing it with my mathaholic friends. We were geeky way back in the early 70's

Swiss: 'Illuminatus' is also great. I'ld guess you are also a Pynchon and 'X-Files' fan if you like conspiracy stories.

I'm not big on top 10 lists, but I think one of the most important programming books of all time is "Software Tools" by Kernighan and Plauger. It's a must read for anyone trying to move from programming novice to expert.
<begin old fart anecdote>In 1978 or '79 I was looking for a summer job. I sent an unsolicited resume to Whitesmiths, which was Peter Plauger's company at the time. On the day of my interview the advance copies of the Japanese translation of 'Software Tools' arrived in the office. He was beaming like a proud father while we thumbed through it. In the middle of one page there was a single English word "robustness", which they could not translate suitably. We all thought it was incredibly funny that one of the central themes of the book was something that they couldn't find the right word for.
<end old fart anecdote>

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Oldguy geek
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posted February 06, 2002 06:43     Click Here to See the Profile for Oldguy geek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to put a plug in here for an author that lives near me. Check out Sharon McCrumb's "Bimbos of the Death Sun" and "Zombies of the Gene Pool." Both are murder mysteries built around SF/Fantasy fandom and writers

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EngrBohn
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posted February 06, 2002 12:52     Click Here to See the Profile for EngrBohn   Click Here to Email EngrBohn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Top ten books of next year?

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/02/04/2244232&mode=nested

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Alien Investor
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posted February 10, 2002 01:54     Click Here to See the Profile for Alien Investor   Click Here to Email Alien Investor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I dunno about "top 10"; I am more comfortable with "my favorite".

_The Mathematical Magpie_, edited by Clifton Fadiman. This is the first explicitly geeky book I ever read. It's a compendium of math-related stories, cartoons, poems, and anecdotes.

_Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps_, Kees Boeke. I got really lucky with this. I had $5 to spend in a bookstore, and I happened to pick this out. _Cosmic View_ contains a series of pictures taken at length scales from 10e-13 meters to 10e+27 meters (more or less, figures from memory), with a description of what objects would be in scale in each picture.

_A Wrinkle In Time_, Madeleine L'Engle. The whole Calvin family are such geeks, and they are not even self-conscious geeks. They just geek out, support each other, save each other's lives and sanity.

_I, Robot_, Isaac Asimov. Geeky robot scientists and their creations explore the solar system and beyond. Asimov washed the Frankenstein complex right out of science fiction. This book made me want to be a computer programmer.

_The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_, Robert Heinlein. This book has everything: computers, sex, politics, frontier living, moon rockets, love, marriage, death.

_The C Programming Language_, Kernighan and Ritchie. Like the language itself, this book is not only better than its predecessors, it's better than its successors.

_Calculus_, Michael Spivak. My favorite math book ever. This is a hard core honors book with all the good parts about the continuity properties of real numbers.

_Molecular Quantum Mechanics_, Atkins. There's a lot of quantum books, but this one is my personal favorite. The piece de resistance is halfway through the book, Ehrenfest's theorem, which is a *proof* of Newton's third law F=ma from a more fundamental physical law, Schroedinger's equation. Atkins just walked through the math without telegraphing what it was proving, and laid the "this simplifies to F=ma" line on me at the end. I was enlightened.

_Cheaper by the Dozen_, Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. This is not a book about a man and a woman and their 12 kids. It's a book about a geeky man and a geeky woman and their 12 geeky kids. This family would have fit right in to the milieu of Robert Heinlein's early 20th century America in "Time Enough for Love" and "To Sail Beyond the Sunset". That's because Heinlein cribbed from the Gilbreths! He acknowledges the inspiration in one of the sayings from the Notebooks of Lazurus Long.

_Death Be Not Proud_, John Gunther. A brilliant poignant author writes about the death of his brilliant geeky son.

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EngrBohn
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posted February 10, 2002 04:47     Click Here to See the Profile for EngrBohn   Click Here to Email EngrBohn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
- Alien Investor -
_Cheaper by the Dozen_

Also an excellent movie. The sequel "Belles on Their Toes" was funny also, but the movie treatment, at least, was too Hollywoodish (I haven't read the book).

Heinlein cribbed from the Gilbreths!

<Johnny Carson>
I did not know that.
</Johnny Carson>

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cb
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Rednivek
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posted February 10, 2002 06:54           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers - Eugene A. Avallone

The Art of Electronics - Paul Horowitz

National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures - Peter Burian

Mustang Performance Engine Tuning : High Performance Modifications for 4.6/5.0-Liter Mustangs, All Makes and Models 1979 to Present - Muscle Mustang

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quantumfluff
Highlie

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posted February 10, 2002 10:30     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rednivek:
The Art of Electronics - Paul Horowitz


I took Physics from Horowitz in college. It was a religious experience.

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plastic
Super Geek

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From: Land of Lincoln
Registered: Apr 2001

posted February 11, 2002 20:44     Click Here to See the Profile for plastic   Click Here to Email plastic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Evilbunny:
One number...


42!


Um, Alex what is... "Life the Universe and Everything?"

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quote:
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes

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Nemo
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posted February 16, 2002 03:40     Click Here to See the Profile for Nemo   Click Here to Email Nemo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure about the geekyness, but I like them;

- "Timeline" by Michael Crichton
- "The Lord of the Rings" by Tolkien
- "The Catcher In The Rye" by J D Salinger
- "Captain Nemo's Library" by Per Olov Enquist (not sure about the title, the book's in swedish)
- "Dracula" by Bram Stoker
(it's more fun when one thinks of the scientific discoverys made just one year after it was published)
- Most of Jules Verne's books, I spent all last summer reading them.
- And, ofcourse, my VB6 bible.

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