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The Most Important C++ Books... Ever
Summary: In this article, Scott Meyers shares his picks for the five most important books in the history of C++, along with why he chose them.
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Bill
Posts: 408 / Nickname: bv / Registered: January 17, 2002 4:28 PM
The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 8:39 AM      
In this article, Scott Meyers shares his picks for the five most important books in the history of C++, along with why he chose them.

http://www.artima.com/cppsource/top_cpp_books.html

What do you think of Scott's choices? What other C++ books you feel do you feel have been important in the history of C++, and why?
Chuck
Posts: 32 / Nickname: cda / Registered: February 11, 2003 0:06 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 9:52 AM      
I can't argue with Scott's choices, but I think this might be a good place to mention other books that are contenders. In my visits to various organizations, I have noticed that the ARM (Stroustrup & Ellis) has been used by multitudes, as has Lippman's C++ Primer (which improved with each edition - the 4th edition is very good [thank you, Barbara!]). Two others qualify by numbers of users: Nico Josuttis' C++ Standard Library, and the STL Tutorial by Musser et al (that's how normal people learned STL in the 90s). And Nico and Daveed's C++ Templates book did for templates what Bjarne's books did for the language as a whole. And in its day, Cargill's Style book was on most developers shelves or down the hall.

Other books pushed the envelope (Coplien's Advanced C++, Barton and Nackman, Eisenecker and Czarnecki, to name a few) but their audience was smaller (yet crucial - the movers and shakers of the C++ world know these books very well and were influenced by them).

And of course the best current book on STL is Scott's. Another just-in-time success, since most developers are past the beginner's stage STL-wise.

I continue to be amazed at the breadth of the "community" that embraces C++. Researchers, bit fiddlers, generic library developers, educators, financial sector developers, lots more. A diverse array of quality contributors.
Rodrigo
Posts: 1 / Nickname: eol / Registered: August 9, 2006 8:58 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 1:01 PM      
You missed "Design and Evolution of C++". I find it is a must read as well, for the insights in the development of the language. But it is a great list.
Cheers
cdiggins
Posts: 21 / Nickname: cdiggins / Registered: February 4, 2004 1:54 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 1:09 PM      
You completely overlooked: The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) (Paperback) by Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, Dennis M. Ritchie

Every other C++ book assumes you read this book about C. I'd bump Design Patterns in favor of that one.
dearlove
Posts: 2 / Nickname: dearlove / Registered: August 9, 2006 11:34 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 3:50 PM      
While not disagreeing with any of Scott's choices, there are two books that I most frequently reach for while programming. The first is TC++PL (3rd edition at work, special edition at home). The other is Matt Austern's Generic Programming and the STL. I'm not actually sure what's third on my list. (And it's not down to limited choice, my home library in particular has all the usual suspects and some more.)
Larry
Posts: 1 / Nickname: lab / Registered: August 9, 2006 4:37 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 8:57 PM      
I'm pleased to see Scott's picks, and to discover that the list was similar to my own list of must-haves (a slightly different concept from "most important", I admit), with Stroustrup, Meyers, and the Standard in common. I consider Josuttis, Effective STL, and More Effective C++ as necessary staples as well. Scott's exposition of multiple dispatch in More Effective C++ is by itself worth double the price of admission - may we expect a new edition? On Scott's recommendation, I expect shortly to purchase Modern C++ Design.
Jonathan
Posts: 1 / Nickname: diver / Registered: August 9, 2006 7:13 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 9, 2006 11:17 PM      
Adding to Top 5
C++ Coding Standards: 101 Rules, Guidelines, and Best Practices — Herb Sutter, Andrei Alexandrescu
Exceptional C++ — Herb Sutter
More Exceptional C++ — Herb Sutter
Roland
Posts: 25 / Nickname: rp123 / Registered: January 7, 2006 9:42 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 10, 2006 0:22 AM      
The most important C++ books... today? I wouldn't recommend Gamma and Alexandrescu any more. BTW, IIRC the last important C++ book came out in 2004: Matthew Wilson's 'Imperfect C++'.
Dileban
Posts: 1 / Nickname: dileban / Registered: February 20, 2006 3:07 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 10, 2006 4:18 AM      
If there's room for only one book on my desk, that would be GOF's Design Patterns. You got to love that book.
Ion
Posts: 8 / Nickname: igaztanaga / Registered: January 3, 2006 9:57 PM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 10, 2006 6:13 AM      
While I find great those books, I have to say that maybe those are the most important, but not the best, IMHO.

The best C++ books that I've ever read are "Thinking In C+" Vol.1 and Vol.2 by Bruce Eckel (Chuck Allisons co-wrote Vol.2). I fell in love with C++ reading those books.

They are also, IMHO, the best books to learn C++. After those, I find Scott's Effective series very interesting and Andrei's Modern C++ as the best advanced book. Also, I have to mention "Inside the C++ Object Model" by Stanley B. Lippman, that explores a field that almost all other books ignore.
John
Posts: 1 / Nickname: jdubchak / Registered: August 10, 2006 2:17 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 10, 2006 6:33 AM      
I agree with Chuck's remarks here however, I would add the following as being at least in the "Top 10":

1. C++ Templates: The Complete Guide by Nicolai Josuittas and Davide Vandervoode

2. C++ Template Metaprogramming: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques by David Abrahams and Aleksey Gurtovoy.

But in support of both Chuck and Scott, the Top 5 list is complete, in my opinion.

John
Roland
Posts: 25 / Nickname: rp123 / Registered: January 7, 2006 9:42 PM
The Most Important C++ Book is Yet to be Written
August 10, 2006 10:39 AM      
The most important C++ book will provide an integrative view of the "multi-paradigm" (an oxymoron) language C++. Coplien and Stroustrup have attempted first steps towards a unifying view of C++ but the great concept is still missing.
Todd
Posts: 27 / Nickname: tblanchard / Registered: May 11, 2003 10:11 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 10, 2006 4:27 PM      
I think the ARM, Effective C++, and the fish book on Streams were the three most important books written. After that, there's room for argument.
Glenn
Posts: 3 / Nickname: gpuchtel / Registered: August 11, 2006 0:41 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 11, 2006 4:46 AM      
When I see titles like “The Five Most Important <fill in the blank> Books”, my mind immediately flashes back to the final scene in the 1960 movie “The Time Machine”. In that scene, George (the time traveler) has returned from another time to tell his friends of his wondrous travels. They of course, do not believe his stories. Frustrated, George returns to his library and his time machine. A moment later, his one remaining friend Filby hears a ruckus and rushes to the library, but it’s too late, George is gone. Looking around the library, Filby notices three books are missing. Filby ponders; which three books would he take? Finally, Filby poses the question to the audience—“Which three books would you take?”

At the risk of dating myself, I watched that movie with my father in 1960 and to this date I could only come up with one, the other two have eluded for some 46 years now. In the spirit of the movie and Scott’s article we should honor the same constraints: You can only choose five books, no more, no less. As Scott mentioned, there are no spots for honorable mention or those almost making the cut. Scott didn’t miss a book, he chose his five. To suggest another book, suggest which book it would replace and why—you only get five.

Honoring these constraints, here is my take. I agree with Scott’s first three choices; however, I would replace “International Standard for C++”, with “Object-Oriented” Analysis and Design with Applications” by Grady Booch. Like “Design Patterns”, this book is invaluable in understanding OO concepts and knowing that, understanding C++ is easier. Moreover, I think the first book (TC++PL) is sufficient in this regard. That leaves “Modern C++ Design” and like the question posed in the movie I can’t really decide, but that would be cheating so I choose “Design and Evolution of C++" because knowing ‘why’ something was done is often better than knowing ‘how’.

Anyway, that’s my take but I would like to take the opportunity for a shameless plug and an obvious violation of my own words. I highly recommend “Head First Design Patterns” (http://www.headfirstlabs.com/index.php). It is an excellent follow-up to “Design Patterns by Erich Gamma (et al)”. It is Java oriented; however, I converted (most of) their exercises and examples to C++ which are freely available at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/hfdp-cpp/
Zhiyi
Posts: 1 / Nickname: zhiyizhang / Registered: June 17, 2005 6:55 AM
Re: The Most Important C++ Books...Ever
August 11, 2006 11:04 AM      
Given Scott's no-production background, it's no suprise that he didn't mention Large-Scale C++ Software Design, which I think is a must-read for any large scale C++ software development.(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0201633620).
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