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4.6 out of 5 stars18
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on 6 March 2011
I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to write a book covering such an in-depth topic as the Ruby Programming language. Add to that a target audience with a widely diverse range of skills and the tasks seems to be out right impossible. Fortunately for us mere mortals Russ Olsen has taken on this challenge and surpassed my high expectations in his second book, Eloquent Ruby.

The first part of the book is for the Ruby newbies, but takes an interesting deviation from most programming books. Instead of focusing simply on the syntax and language libraries, Eloquent Ruby focuses on the community aspect of the Ruby programming language. Each programming community has its own style and norms and without a lot of direction and practice, these style and norms can be difficult to learn. The Ruby community is heavily opinionated and Russ's book does a great job of explaining these opinions and their manifestation in many Ruby codebases.

In Part Two of Eloquent Ruby, Olsen dives into the core concepts and building blocks of the Ruby programming language. This section of the book covers the everyday usage patterns and common best practices when working with Ruby's classes, iterators, blocks, and modules.

The power and flexibility of Ruby is put on full display in Part Three of Russ's book. Newcomers to Ruby are often mystified by Ruby code that appears to be doing magical things like dynamically adding methods to a class. In this section, Russ pulls back the curtain and explains the magic that is metaprogramming. Those unfamiliar with the concept may find the topic confusing at first, but Olsen breaks it down in a way that is easy to understand. This section thoroughly covers Ruby's method_missing hook and how to open classes to add your own customizations.

In the last section Russ ties a lot of the concepts of the book together through a discussion on how Ruby can be used to create Domain Specific Languages (DSLs). As a bonus Russ finishes the book with a chapter on how to package your code into a gem (Ruby library) and a chapter on the different Ruby Implementations.

At almost 400 pages I feared Eloquent Ruby would take a while to read, but I was pleasantly surprised at the pace at which I made it through the book. Even though the book was a quick read it still felt as if I had gained a lot of new knowledge after its completion. I credit the speed reading and depth of understanding to Olsen's writing style. The book is broken up into 30 concise chapters that each focus on a specific topic. This makes the book's information very easy to digest.

Following a similar pattern from his first book, Design Patterns in Ruby, each chapter of Eloquent Ruby describes code examples "In the Wild" where Olsen discusses code snippets from open source projects using the topics covered within that chapter. In my opinion giving "real world" code examples was a great way to prove the relevance of the information covered in the book. Overall, Eloquent Ruby was a great read and I'd highly recommend it to Rubyist at all skill levels.
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on 28 February 2011
I have read quite a few Ruby books in my day and this one just blows the doors off all the rest. The pace of the chapters make the content easy to digest and quickly apply to your day to day coding. The footnotes are fun and informative so be sure to read them all. The chapter on method_missing is worth the price of the book, which means every other chapter is extra value. I am buying a copy for each Ruby developer on my team.
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on 8 April 2011
I own a lot of ruby book but no one of them is so easy to read and sometimes so funny like this one. It's a pain that Russ Olsen don't update its blog often: his writing style is wonderful.
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on 15 September 2011
Eloquent Ruby takes the reader for a ride through 30 topics about Ruby, from how the Ruby community idents code to Metaprogramming and how to publish a Gem to RubyGems.

I really liked the flow of the book, it's not dense at all and it's full of examples. This is the type of books that I like to read: 300-400 pages, easy to start and easy to finish :).

I think it's a great book for someone who has done some ruby before, but who doesn't feel comfortable with the language yet. And it might be an excellent companion to any book that focuses on rails, but leaves all the sweet spots of the language aside
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on 18 June 2012
I never had this feeling during reading a technical book but for this one I was enjoying every word of it and I was hoping it never end!

One of the best chapters in my opinion is chapter 13 (Singletons). The way that this book explains it step by step is just amazing. After reading it, you will gain such a deep understanding about Ruby which you wouldn't if you had the whole RubyDoc by heart.
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on 13 August 2011
From formatting your Ruby files to investigating their execution in C, and everything in between, Eloquent Ruby is the complete accessible guide to learning and understanding the Ruby programming language. Each chapter gives you a handle to open another drawer of Ruby's elegance, simplicity and power making this an essential step on your journey to mastering Ruby.

Russ Olsen writes as elegantly and simply as the code he describes; the lucidity with which he explains the wide range of Ruby's features belies their complexity. Each chapter is short, articulate and focused to the point of setting everything else aside save the subject in question. The guidelines are given authority and context through the regular inclusion of exemplars from popular open source libraries. In addition, the use of one simple example throughout the whole book lends a cohesion not found in most technical literature.

The greatest compliment I can pay Russ is that he has succeeded in creating a definitive 'Manual of Style' for writing Ruby code. I believe it should be read at least once by every Ruby programmer. My regret is that it wasn't around three years ago when I was getting my teeth into Ruby and when I found literate resources for the beginning to intermediate hard to come by. I'm glad this will not be the case now. It is a perfect book. You should buy it.
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on 31 January 2014
I've been coding in ruby on and off for about 9 years, yet I've still learned an enormous amount from this book.

This probably isn't ideal for beginners, but anyone with a little experience with ruby will get a lot from it wether you've been coding for six months or for 10 years.
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on 28 June 2013
Learning a language is only part of the job.

Learning to write the language in an eloquent way that best suits it, using the accepted phrases and conventions unlocks the power of the language.

This is more than a style guide; it shows you how to write good ruby code.
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on 24 January 2016
Good read. I've onlyrecentlystarted looking at Ruby so hopefully this give me an idiom guide to Ruby. Technical books always have to balance correctness and the avoidance of waffle with fun. This book mangaged it, it's an easy read whilst giving you good solid technical information.
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on 17 January 2014
This book won't teach you to program in Ruby; but once you have the basics under your belt it will teach you to program well in Ruby. As a long term C & Perl programmer I transitioned to Ruby with some trauma; but this book really helped me adapt and evolve as a Ruby programmer.
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