Cover by Joel Spolsky

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why the lucky stiffA QUICK (AND HOPEFULLYPAINLESS) RIDE THROUGH RUBY(WITH CARTOON FOXES)1

Way back in the glory days of computers, i.e., when I was a teenager, there was a tradition of funny, light, pleasant books about programming that actually taught you something.

The Apple ][ came with a user's guide full of Monty Python–style humor that told you how to treat your floppy disks, including the stern admonition that one must never staple them to a notebook. I giggled for three weeks over that and read it out loud to everyone who would listen. Can't remember why. I think it was funny to my young mind.

Daniel Friedman's The Little LISPer (Science Research Associates, 1974) was a slim, crystal-clear gem of a book, possibly the best-written programming ...

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