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I was once told to read the books titled 'The Pragmatic Programmer' and 'The Mythical Man Month'. I have very little experience programming (basic HTML, CSS and JS).

If I were to purchase these books, read through them, would it be beneficial to me with such a limited understanding or would I benefit from them?

I ask because I am currently learning HTML5 and CSS3 from an online source and want some general reading material to add to my kindle.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., Doc Brown, Eric King, Robert Harvey, gnat Dec 27 '13 at 21:10

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Programmers as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it." – Jim G., Doc Brown, Eric King, Robert Harvey, gnat
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I took out the book recommendation from the question. The question as it stands now is about those two books. It still isn't ideal. The site is more of a Q&A site and can only do Amazon reviews poorly with such a design. If you can think of a more specific question about these books, please edit the question to help clarify the problem you are having and what you hope to find in the books. – user40980 Dec 27 '13 at 17:47
  • Do you have something specific you want to understand better in terms of programming? – Onorio Catenacci Dec 27 '13 at 20:25
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The Pragmatic Programmer is a book that deals with how you look at code and software as a whole and the process of writing the code. It is primarily emphasizing the code that finds itself in a larger software project than one would typically find in javascript on web pages. This isn't to say that the things that one learns while reading it won't be applicable (and some are very applicable at a universal level), but if you are working on things that will take you a few days at most and then move on to something completely different, the improvements that it gives you will not be as substantial.

If you find yourself working on projects that last weeks and months and remain working on the project with the same code base, the lessons that are in the pragmatic programmer are most applicable. Quick one off scripts and tweaks to existing code is less likely to benefit from the book. However, one will typically find themselves moving up to bigger projects as they learn more about the craft of coding and such will find the material in the book to become more and more applicable as they progress.

Consider lessons such as:

  • When is ok software good enough?
  • How bad is it to duplicate code?
  • What is an estimate?
  • When to use plain text (rather than machine friendly values)
  • Design by contract, assertions, and exceptions

The Mythical Man Month is a book about the lessons learned in the old days (that frequently need to be learned again and again) about project management. To the extent that programmers find themselves dealing with project managers and need to know how to interact with them, its a good thing to know. However, the lessons in there are not as often directly applicable to the code that one is writing.

Consider things such as:

  • Why does adding more people to a late project make it later?
  • How does one organize a software development team?
  • How does a project get a year late?

These things are not ones that programmers typically have to deal with - its more your manager and team lead that will find these things to be useful. And, it needs to be taken with the appropriate grains of salt from the context - the book is old (and good - but its old). Essays about bug rates in PL/I need to be taken in context that its PL/I and things have changed a little bit since then (though there's No Silver Bullet (that's another essay)).

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I was once told to read the books titled 'The Pragmatic Programmer' and 'The Mythical Man Month'. I have very little experience programming (basic HTML, CSS and JS). If I were to purchase these books, read through them, would it be beneficial to me with such a limited understanding or would I benefit from them?

No. Not at this point.

I ask because I am currently learning HTML5 and CSS3 from an online source and want some general reading material to add to my kindle.

Good. But don't feel obliged to read the resources "cover-to-cover".

  • Instead, find real problems(*) to solve and then solve them.
  • Mix in a dash of that HTML5 and CSS3 that you are learning.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • Bonus points if you commit your solution to GitHub.

( * ) Find real problems that pertain to the technologies which you are learning.
(**) If small "one-off" problems are making you bored, try to create a brand-new application from scratch.

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There are only 2 books I keep from my school days:

Design Patterns, (Gamma et. al)

  • This book is all practical. It's not a meta book like Clean code or The Pragmatic Programmer (both of which are great books). DP is all about how to manage 'the mess' and how to keep your code flexible. Spring IOC IS the factory pattern on steroids. This book is the one that I continuously apply in my career. (ToolKit.getToolKit(), Iterator, Collection.unmodifiableList()) And I personally end up rolling delegate and composite patterns a lot

Introduction to Algorithms (Cormen et. al)

  • This book is the theoretical. Many of the algorithms contained there-in form the bedrocks of libraries (Collections.sort()), auto-complete, library dependency resolution. But also major BigData apps like Cassandra. I rarely crack this book open but on an occasion I blow the dust off, look up a couple of algos that might solve my current quandary (almost always these are graph algos) and roll one out.
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    This doesn't answer the question as asked. – World Engineer Dec 27 '13 at 21:05
  • I can see that now. I should have read more closely. But a -1 ? The info is still sound. – Christian Bongiorno Dec 30 '13 at 20:05
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    Not my downvote. The info is sound but not valid. I suspect someone downvoted it on those grounds. – World Engineer Dec 30 '13 at 21:39
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    @ChristianBongiorno OP asks if purchasing Pragmatic Programmer and Mythical Man month would be beneficial considering their limited programming knowledge. Although the question has been edited the focus is on books for people with limited knowledge – Crowie Mar 5 '14 at 14:31

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