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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone interested in programming languages, 20 Jan 2011
By 
A. Williams (South East England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
Okay, I've given this 5 stars which is high praise but needs some qualification: probably best just to say what this book is NOT, first, and then what it IS and why it succeeds so well.

Firstly, I would take the "Seven weeks" with a pinch of salt: this isn't really a "learn Mython in 21 days" type book - with little lessons that lead at the end to being able to program in Mython. If you want to learn, say, Haskell, there are better books for that available from this very web site. And therefore you certainly won't be an expert in SEVEN languages when you've worked through this book either (i deliberately say "work through" as this is a very hands-on book).

So without out the way, I'll say what the book is and why i love it so much.
This is a book that is good if you want to more than dip your toes into a language - as Mr Tate says "I won't make you an expert, but I'll teach you more than 'Hello World' ". The amount of effort put into this tome seems phenomenal: ("This is the most demanding book I have ever written."). Not satisfied with teaching you loads about the languages (and some of these were not the author's area of expertise, he had to learn the languages himself!) he somehow found time to look into the history of the languages (an interesting subject in itself) and ALSO interview many of the key people involved in creating the languages!. The "why did you make this language" interviews are fascinating reading.

I also love Mr Tate's style- it's quite 'light' (but not as light as the "Head First" style)- you don't feel like you're reading a textbook at all, and despite the fact that some of it can get very technical, this book never feels like heavy reading: part of it is due to the fact that he has a tv/movie theme running through each language: for Ruby, the theme is Mary Poppins, and for Erlang it's The Matrix- he uses these themes to highlight the different characters of the languages, and I've never seen it done anywhere else (not to this extent anyway) but it does work, and I found the connections really amusing.

"So it's a pleasant to read, deeply researched book, but what about the languages?", I hear you ask.
Okay, in the 309 jam-packed pages Mr Tate will introduce you to, and see you through a converstion with:
Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, and Haskell.
It's a fairly steep learning curve: this is NOT a "how to program" or "how to install" software book; but it does get you doing some fairly intense stuff fairly quickly - even if you don't do all the examples you come away knowing enough about each language to know if you want to explore it further.
Also, even if like me you're aware of some of the languages (i already knew about Haskell and Prolog) and don't want to read those parts, there's so much about the other languages, that it's still worth the money, but I would say that: it's after using this book I am now in love with Ruby, Clojure and Scala - otherwise I might not have come across those for ages - so of course I am biased: this book quite literally changed my coding life!

So to summarise: if you're interested in programming languages per se, rather than just programming in general, and getting bored with Java/C and want more than a superficial look at some other fascinating languages out there then this is an excellent book to start your coding adventure.
Alan
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for any developer, 28 Jun 2012
By 
Mikkel T. Kristiansen (Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
In this book, Bruce gives the reader a grand tour of several very different programming paradigms, ranging from dynamic and prototyped languages to logic based, minimalistic, functional and other exotic paradigms. As a reader you get a glimpse of what programming is like in other "worlds", and you will get inspired to try out new languages, or perhaps to adapt exciting new features into you own language of choice. I would recommend any developer who has spend some years in the same programming language to read this book, if nothing else just for sheer inspiration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying To Say The Least, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
That's one of the books that I fell in love with. A tour de force on various programming paradigms. After that you'll be expert in none of the languages/paradigms presented (most possibly you won't even remember the specifics of most of them) but you'll feel MUCH richer as a professional and as a human.

Writter is speaking like a good friend you got out with for a coffee and that's the feeling of the whole book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand review of seven interesting computer languages, 19 July 2012
By 
G. Hugh Browton (East Anglia, Europe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book greatly. I was a (poor) programmer long ago (Algol, the Fortrans, Basic, APL (remember - the "write-only" language?), Pascal and one running COBOL program!, and this book brought me upto date with current paradigms - though as B A Tate remarks, the paradigms change very slowly and I was only a generation and a half or so out of date. I so liked the book I've loaded Haskell on one of my machines and have bought Miran Lipovaca 's remarkable Learn You a Haskell for Great Good.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic PP book, 13 April 2011
This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
Very inspiring read again from the Pragmatic Programmers.
I had looked into a couple of the presented languages before, but the introduction in this book gave me quite a new view of them. Very valuable summary of when, where and how to use the languages.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 6 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
A bit through this one now and I think its great, I'd recommend it to anyone interested enough to come across it.
The examples that leads up to the exercises are interesting and I frequently find myself spending more time playing around with those than doing the exercises. Thats not saying that the exercises are not challenging - they are...

Great stuff, and when I get through this, I am set for the next seven years by which time I hope there is a sequel ;)
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good someone nicked it, 30 May 2011
By 
G. King "The Lone Groover" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I had a quick flick and thought this sounds exactly as described... went to the pub for yet another leaving drink. End of the night my book was gone :-( What better recommendation is there?
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does exactly what it says, 28 Feb 2012
This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I dont want to write much, as I rarely (never actually) review a purchase
However, this book is one of my favourite ! really neat approach.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 28 May 2011
This review is from: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
Interesting book. I wonder when there will be a sequel. There are lots of other very interesting languages out there. One in particular is Eiffel, and whilst that might not become common place, the ideas it exposes are going to be come more and more frequently seen in other languages.
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