From the inside cover…
As a programmer, your bookshelf is probably overflowing with books that did nothing to change the way you program… or think about programming.
You’re going to need a completely different shelf for this book.
Not sure if that’s understatement or overstatement. Anyway – it is an excellent book; most of all as a middle ground for stepping into functional programming but Mark’s (I assume) background in mathematics makes for a very refreshing break from web frameworks and CRUD, with some really interesting problem domains. Mark explained his “hidden agenda” here.
It’s not all mathematics though (in fact it mainly isn’t). For example the chapter on parsing is one of the most accessible and useful I’ve seen on the subject (excepting perhaps Game Scripting Mastery, oddly enough) – Chomsky grammars don’t even get a mention ;)
Otherwise there’s a bunch of techniques and ideas that are applicable pretty much anywhere and may turn your head if you’re used to thinking in terms of classes and objects, such as using a hash table to dispatch calls while parsing a configuration file.
Some of the examples in later chapters get pretty hefty (hence the bookmarks) so be warned – you need some undisturbed time to get the most out of it.
Anyway – thanks Mark for “going the distance” as an author – haven’t enjoyed a book on programming this much for a quite a while.