The best fun books for software developers

John Z. Sonmez Author Of Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual
By John Z. Sonmez

The Books I Picked & Why

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

By Charles Petzold

Book cover of Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Why this book?

This book is an awesome deep dive into the way the computer hardware and the low-level software systems of computers really work. As a programmer, this was extremely interesting to me. It was fascinating to see how computers evolved over time and how the programming we do today is built on top of so many other concepts and ideas.

This book was super fun to read and I couldn’t put it down. I like doing the exercises and thought experiments and really didn’t want the book to end. By the end of the book I felt like I really understood how the underlying hardware worked and I found many useful ideas I could apply to my work as a software developer.


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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

By Robert Martin

Book cover of Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Why this book?

I love writing good clean code. There is something refreshing about writing or reading code that reads more like a book than some obscure instructions to a machine. This book goes into the details of how to write “clean code” and what makes it clean.

I felt like I learned so much about writing good code from reading this book about things that you are never really taught in school or on the job as a software developer.

I found so much of the book so interesting because I could use what I was learning right away to become a better programmer.

If you want to become a better programmer and are looking for a book that will entertain you and be fun along the way, I highly recommend Clean Code.


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Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

By Douglas R. Hofstadter

Book cover of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Why this book?

I loved reading this book! I wish I could read it for the first time all over again. Even though this isn’t exactly a programming book or a book about software development, the concepts in this book will be extremely fascinating to any software developer.

This book goes into all kinds of logical puzzles and digs deep into formal systems and how they come about. There are exercises that will take you hours to do in the book, but you’ll have fun the whole time while you are racking your brain.

I learned a lot of programming concepts I thought I understood on a much deeper level, like recursion and language design.


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Programming Pearls

By Jon Bentley

Book cover of Programming Pearls

Why this book?

Even though this book is a bit older, I had a ton of fun doing the programming problems in this book. This book really makes you think outside the box as a programmer and try to solve various problems in different ways depending on what you are trying to optimize for.

I really learned a lot about not just solving a problem, but solving a problem for a specific set of goals. Overall it made me a better programmer and made me think more deeply about programming problems.

If you want to improve your problem-solving skills and have fun doing it, I would definitely recommend this book.


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The Imposter's Handbook: A CS Primer for Self-taught Developers

By Rob Conery

Book cover of The Imposter's Handbook: A CS Primer for Self-taught Developers

Why this book?

Wow! This book is exactly what every programmer has always wanted to know or even felt guilty about not knowing and it’s all presented in an extremely simplified and fun way. 

This is one of those books where you get excited in the morning when you wake up because you know you are going to be able to read more in the book and you are hoping the book will never end.

It’s rare to find a big book that I enjoyed reading so much and felt so short. This book covers almost everything you ever wondered about computer science. After reading this book, I felt like I finally understood everything a programmer was supposed to know and I no longer felt that nagging feeling of being an imposter.


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