Programming books for newbs

If you’re reading this blog there’s a fair chance you’re a programmer and that means that from time to time you’ll encounter people who want advice on leaning how to program. Unfortunately, it’s hard to point them in the right direction because we generally don’t want to spend the time to teach them ourselves and even if we did most of the learning to program books just plain suck.

So, I’d like to recommend two books. The first is Learn to Program by Chris Pine.This is the best intro to programming that I’ve ever seen. It’s not concerned so much with how to do things in a specific language as it is with teaching people the basic principles of programming although it uses Ruby to do so. It’s based on a series of tutorials that are still online but have been improved on, and expanded upon greatly in the book.

There’s also JavaScript: A Beginner’s Guide by John Pollock which does a surprisingly good job of teaching basic programming concepts with JavaScript. It’s not that JavaScript makes this hard, it’s that most of the books get sidetracked on doing html specific things instead of actually teaching people to program. Yes, the Rhino book (JavaScript: The Definitive Guide ) is undeniably a good JavaScript book but it’s not good for people who don’t know how to program.