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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think the style works in explaining the novelty of Lisp
Lisp is 50+ years old yet is still novel -- how cool is that?

I'm trying to learn Lisp, and have realised that I will be trying for the rest of my life. So I bought this book to see if it would help me in that quest. As has been said in another comment this book uses a care-free style to get its message across; it is filled with lots of cartoons. But it also...
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by John Smith

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great coverage but love it or loath it style.
Land Of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time!
Conrad Barski M.D.

To be fair to the author, I'm going to split this review into three sections; Lisp, content and style.

1. Lisp

Lisp is venerable language, having been kicking around in various forms since 1958. The fact that it's lasted that long and is now having...
Published on 13 Jan 2011 by renaissance geek


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think the style works in explaining the novelty of Lisp, 9 Nov 2011
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
Lisp is 50+ years old yet is still novel -- how cool is that?

I'm trying to learn Lisp, and have realised that I will be trying for the rest of my life. So I bought this book to see if it would help me in that quest. As has been said in another comment this book uses a care-free style to get its message across; it is filled with lots of cartoons. But it also has lots of code examples and data tables -- the loop periodic table is a very good example of the added value this book provides.

Like any programming language, it is not just the understanding of how to use it, but why to do things and when to do things. So, while Lisp has lots of ways to test for equality, which do you use? Well, Mr Barski answers that, and gives his reasons. Opinions such as this are invaluable.

Lisp is hard work -- well it is for me because I have to stop thinking as if I'm coding in Java and start to think in terms of Lisp. Yet the more I do this the more I find the Lisp way *very* refreshing. Macros -- how cool are they? All that crud you have to put up with in Java; just hide it in a macro. Cool! A ten-line function is often a big function, but I find it can do so much. And Lisp is a big language, hence my comment about learning for the rest of your life. I found the style to be very engaging, and the topics covered comprehensive. And every time I try to write in Lisp (which I now try to do for evey new project I start) Lisp gets easier.

Let's face it, there is only one way to learn Lisp and that is to code in it. If this book gives you some examples to help you start that can only be good.

I had this book on pre-order for quite some time. I am happy to tell you it was worth the wait.

Do I think you should buy it? You bet!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love LISP, 24 Feb 2012
By 
J. Schmuecker - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
This is a great book about LISP. It explains the core features and paradigms behind LISP while always keeping it light and entertaining. I find it does that even better than some of the more "serious" introductions to the LISP language such as The ANSI Common Lisp Book (Prentice Hall Series in Artificial Intelligence).

The fact that it contains a more complicated version of WUMPUS the first game I ever played on a computer and one of the reasons why I got into programming is just so much fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic in the making, 10 May 2012
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This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
I bought this book out of curiosity for the functional paradigm. I come from the world of Java and I find it tremendously valuable to invest some good time trying out other languages, paradigms and philosophies. That is why I had a look at Clojure, to realise that if I ever wanted to be a true functional developer I had to go to the root and learn LISP first. The gains of having an understanding of this programming language are obvious as it takes you out of your comfort zone and gently forces you to re-discover solutions to problems you have been faced with before but from an entirely new angle. The insight that comes from that makes you that much better in your comfort zone.

The book itself is one of the best books in my very extensive own personal library. It is a jewel of originality, well structured, with an accessible enough language for the new comer but not so accessible that the experienced programmer would get bored, with brilliant examples and great insight into the world of computer science and software development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining guide to functional mastery, 3 Aug 2013
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
Over the last few years there's been a strong resurgence in the functional programming paradigm. New languages such as Clojure and Scala, which synthesise functional features with a modern-looking syntax, have engendered enthusiastic communities. While JavaScript, CoffeeScript and TypeScript developers increasingly want to code in a functional style.


Understanding key functional concepts is widely considered to be an essential part of a software programmer's skill set. One which invariably results in higher levels of proficiency with other languages.



However, anyone who has tried their hand at functional programming knows it necessitates a different way of thinking. This mindset shift invariably takes some time to accomplish. Many give up before the proverbial light bulb is illuminated.

What would help is an engaging and entertaining introduction to functional programming. Land of Lisp aims to provide just such a solution.

It's a comprehensive 500 page guide which covers the full breadth of functional programming topics, from using simple lists to defining your own macros. Throughout exercises and code examples are practical in nature, with an underlying gaming theme.

The author's informal style, combined with a fluid pace, well structured content and those wacky-yet-informative illustrations, are a breath of fresh air in the often insular world of functional programming.

Although the book's content and code listings are based around CLISP (an ANSI Common Lisp implementation), the lessons learned can be applied to other Lisp dialects, or languages that support a functional style of coding.


The question is whether this book succeeds in easing the path to functional programming mastery? I think it does.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great coverage but love it or loath it style., 13 Jan 2011
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
Land Of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time!
Conrad Barski M.D.

To be fair to the author, I'm going to split this review into three sections; Lisp, content and style.

1. Lisp

Lisp is venerable language, having been kicking around in various forms since 1958. The fact that it's lasted that long and is now having something of a resurgence is testament to power and flexibility. Lisp has always been strongly associated with the artificial intelligence community and I suspect that it's resurgence is linked to increased interest in semantic technologies. OK so it's a powerful expressive language however I'm not sure that anyone could claim that is an easy language to learn. If your coming from a procedural or object oriented background you're likely to find getting your head around Lisp particularly challenging. I've no functional programming experience but I suspect that if you come from a functional background you may find Lisp slightly easier. The programming paradigm isn't the only difficulty in learning Lisp though, the syntax and function names can be somewhat arcane as well. So why learn Lisp then - well it's powerful, expressive and of course you could be working on a Lisp project or just want to expand your programming repertoire which is never a bad thing.

2. Content

As you might expect from a 500 page book the coverage of Land Of Lisp has impressive coverage of the language. The book, as you might have guessed from the subtitle, is largely based around a series of simple games that are used as exemplars of Lisp function and programming techniques. These are interspersed with chapters focused on specific topics such as lambda functions, macros, functional programming and domain specific languages. In terms of content what is desperately missing is an appendix of Lisp functions. Commands tend to be introduced in sections of code and associated descriptions which are not terribly easy to refer back to when you want to refresh your memory on the syntax of a given function.

3. Style.

The writing style is going to be a bit of marmitish, you're either going to love it or find it utterly frustrating. A definite attempt has been made to make the text interesting and engaging; unfortunately it really doesn't work for me. I found the text much too verbose and actually got in the way of understanding rather than enhancing it. Yes the cartoons and geek in-jokes were fun but in the end I found the text more frustrating than enlightening. Now I'm fully prepared to admit that this is much more to do with me than anything else - when I sit down to try and learn a topic I prefer it to be presented in a clear, concise, text-booky manner rather than an over-wordy prose manner. For anyone considering buying this book, I would seriously advise taking a look at Conrad Barski's original website Casting SPELs In Lisp ([...]). If the style works for you then go grab the book straight away. If however it doesn't entirely work for you may well find that after 500 pages it becomes rather grating.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most enjoyable book on programming, 13 April 2011
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
This is the most fun book on programming you will ever find. I've read numerous Lisp books before and they all more or less cover the same, however even though they (mostly) inspire you to plough on trying to learn Lisp, they tend to forget that learning should be fun. Well, this book is really about that! Fun from the first page to the last and in the mean time it answers all those questions that were left over from the other books.
If you've always wanted to at least understand what the fuss is about with Lisp, read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the exciting land of lisp, 28 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
If you are into crazy comics and like programming crazy stuff than this is the right introduction to one of the oldest and most powerful programming languages known to man. I think than any serious programmer should at least scratch the surface of Lisp to see what is possible and this probably is the funniest and craziest book you can get. No preliminary knowledge of any of the Lisp dialects is necessary it really starts from scratch. If you are more into serious books about programming and you are not interested in programming computer games than I'd recommend to look somewhere else.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good light hearted intro, 28 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
If you want to get into lisp and func programming and do it in a relaxed way this is the book. Not too taxing yet not a walkover - concepts are covered with no assumptions.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most fun programming books ever, 7 May 2011
This review is from: Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Paperback)
Not only is this book fun to read, it is very well written, concepts are explained clearly and simply and it is also very complete. I think every programmer should know something about Lisp, and this book is definitely the best way to gain that knowledge in a fun and painless manner. I strongly recommend it.
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Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time!
Land of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! by Conrad Barski M.D. (Paperback - 15 Nov 2010)
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