Alan Kay recommends reading old and forgotten but important programming books


Alan Kay is the Master of Yoda for IT people. He was at the forefront of creating the first personal computer (Xerox Alto) , the SmallTalk language, and the concept of "object-oriented programming . " He has already spoken out a lot about his views on education in Computer Science and has advised books to those who want to deepen their knowledge:

Recently, Quora again raised this topic and the discussion came in first place on Hacker News. I bring to your attention a "new" list of super old and fundamental books on programming and the thinking of a programmer from Alan Kay.

Lisp 1.5 Programmers Manual

by John McCarthy, 1962


The book is the absolute champion and life leader in the rating of all book lists from Alan Kay. This version of the language is no longer there, but the book is magnificent.

eight more rarities:

Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines

by Marvin Minsky, 1967


Marvin Minsky "Computations and Automata" (rus, djvu).

Advances in Programming and Non-Numerical Computation

ed. L. Fox, 1966


The mythical man-month

by Fred Brooks, 1975


Mythical Man-Month (PDF, 171 pages)

The sciences of the artificial

by Herb Simon


The Sciences of the Artificial (PDF, 241 pages)

The book of Herbert Simon (laureate of the Turing Prize and the Nobel Prize) in Russian (djvu).

Herbert Simon did not read newspapers and did not watch TV, because he believed that if something really important happened, someone would tell him about it, so you should not waste time on the media.
- Wikipedia

A programming language

by Ken Iverson, 1962


Control Structures for Programming Languages

by Dave Fisher, 1970


Control Structures for Programming Languages ​​(PDF, 216 pages)

The metaobject protocol

by Kiczales


Joe Armstrong's PhD thesis


Joe Armstrong , creator of Erlang.

Joe Armstrong's PhD thesis (PDF 295 pages)


Two questions for harachitati:

  1. What old-school books do you think are required to be read?
  2. What non-programming books have enhanced your programmer's thinking / worldview skills?


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