on 2 November 2002
I'm new in TeX and this is my first TeX book. After having gone through the first few chapters I consider my self rather lucky to have chosen this book and I strongly recommend it for anyone new in TeX.
The book is very well written and very well structured so as any reader can easily go through it no matter what his background is in computing. I consider it to be really helpfull, at least for new users, especially because of the variety and clarity of given examples and exersices.
The book is addressed to both new and experienced users, but everything is so well structured that neither new users will find difficulty in understanding any of the content nor will experienced users consider reading the book a waste of time. The author states explicitly which paragraphs should be avoided by new users for this purpose.
If this book had to be rated up to 5 I would give it a 4.9.
on 23 June 2009
When we first got WYSIWYG and desktop publishing people would say "Anyone can do it" and leave out the last word, "badly".
The primary limitation of this book is that it tells you how to use a (brilliant) program to typeset documents. In that sense it is a very good piece of work. The writing is clear, concise and humorous. The author is self evidently an expert in three fields (typesetting, coding and explaining). He leads you through many areas of deep knowledge so you know the how and why of what you're doing. And if you work through all the exercises, you will be good at what you do. Unmatched actually.
Implicit in this is the readers have an eye for beauty (this is about producing beautiful, readable text after all), but how many people do? Knuth tells us everything we need to know about how to spot beautiful typesetting, but this is a different skill, and I know from experience that a badly laid out TeX document is as bad as any MS Word document.
So this book wont give you that skill. If you don't have the eye, you'll be competent, not exceptional (but TeX has good defaults, so it may not effect you).
But the book has other levels. If you find yourself having to develop a Domain Specific Language then TeX is the primary example of a big DSL and the disciplin needed. It demonstrates many principles, but the key one is that you can't just capture a process and throw code at it. An excellent result needs both knowledge of how to code, why to code and what to code.
The third level is that this is a manual that demonstrates very clearly what a manual can be like. The dry-as-dust appraoch you see in many vendors manuals makes them difficult to read, provide skills without insight, and re-create the a world where 'Anyone can do it, badly'.
So, 5 stars.
on 22 August 2011
If you're into typesetting using TeX, LaTeX (or the numerous spin-offs), you need this book. It sets down the syntax of TeX and shows you all sorts of tricks to enhance the printed output, even if you're using one of the complex styles available today.
on 15 April 2007
Manuals has bad reputation, but if they would be as good as mr Knuths TeXbook general opinion about manuals would be very different. This very well writen master piece should be viewed as example of an manual; contains all details, is simple enough to beginners and detailed enough to experts, one can use this as a reference book, as a self practicing material and so on.
Even you are not interested about TeX this is good book to check out how to write manual. If you happend to be interested of TeX and you don't already own this (why you would not own this one??) you should buy this book immediately.
on 24 March 1997
While I have to give this book a 10, it is only fair to mention that there are many who find it impossible to read. Knuth wrote three books simultaneously: a guide to TeX for the nontechnical (typesetters, academic department secretaries), for the technical (computer scientists, mathematicians), and for the expert (Knuth himself).
II you are coming to this book for the first time, follow Knuth's advice and ignore the "dangerous bends."
Knuth is one of the world's leading computer scientists and TeX is his most famous program. It is extremely rare for a programmer at Knuth's level to write the documentation -- and rarer still for him to succeed.
However, after you've read this book, and before you decide that you know everything there is to know about design and typography, please read "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst.
on 18 April 2012
I found this book enormously helpful. Written by the creator of TeX, it provides an actual understanding of TeX, how it works, and why it does things the way it does. That said, it may not be for everyone: if all you are looking for is a basic functional understanding of the program, this probably has unnecessary detail and information, particularly in the light of LyX-like programs that make the actual commands somewhat less useful.
Even so, I would highly recommend the book to anyone starting to use TeX. The book is not a list of commands, and should not be bought as such, but instead provides a much more broad understanding of the program, useful for when you encounter a non-obvious problem or want to go beyond the basic commands.
on 3 August 1999
LaTeX that most peoples prefer to TeX is useful for reams of technical paper where quality doesn't matter (reports, notes, thesis), but without turning to a professional typesetter, you cannot attain good results without a serious commitment to the study of TeX.
The TeXbook is what you need for this purpose. If you do not intend to go beyond the dangerous bend, you may find LaTeX more suited to your needs.
Secondary, it can serves as a model for writers of technical books, with its index, clarity and organization (Knuth's style put apart, of course--for this one being sometime excessive, I would rate this book only 4.9/5).
on 15 November 2013
I feel cheated, outraged and upset. This book is bound with concentric circles, not the seductively curving helix I was expecting. This is the first and dammit shall be the last time I buy a book by Donald E. Knuth.
on 30 September 2015
All arrived in a perfect state. Recommended