Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Book reviews

Gehlen’s Moral & Hypermoral

Moral und Hypermoral (1969) is the final work of German philosopher Arnold Gehlen (1904–1976), today somewhat forgotten except among German philosophy students and niche conservatives. I confess that I started reading him myself only recently, obviously far too late. He’s well worth a recommendation, and in this spirit I append a translation of the beginning […]

Duhem’s Aim and Structure of Physical Theory

Aside from his work as an eminent physicist, Pierre Duhem (1861–1916) produced “massive groundbreaking” publications on medieval science (which I have yet to read) and a classic book on the theory of science, La théorie physique, son objet et sa structure. The original (1906) is available on Archive.org, and so is the excellent German translation […]

Algorithms in a Nutshell

Algorithms in a Nutshell — George T. Heineman, Gary Pollice & Stanley Selkow, O’Reilly 2016 (2nd ed.), ISBN 978-1-491-94892-7 This fairly slim book covers the basics of algorithmics and benchmarking, and also provides pseudocode and implementations (in C/C++, Java, and Python) for nearly 40 important algorithms. The major drawback is obvious when you consider that […]

Core Java 10 for Java 8

Core Java, Volume I: Fundamentals — Cay S. Horstmann, Prentice Hall (Oracle) 2015 (10th ed. for Java SE 8), ISBN 978-0-13-417730-4 Core Java, Volume II: Advanced Features — Cay S. Horstmann, Prentice Hall (Oracle) 2016 (10th ed. for Java SE 8), ISBN 978-0-13-417729-8 These 1000-page tomes originated as Sun’s official guide to the Java platform […]

CSS: The Missing Manual

CSS: The Missing Manual — David Sawyer McFarland, O’Reilly 2015 (4th ed.), ISBN 978-1-491-91805-0 McFarland’s eminently practical book explains the structure and features of CSS from the perspective of a raw beginner. This does lead to some amusing baby steps, such as the introductory section on “mouse clicks,” but don’t let that deter you. McFarland […]

Robert Ardrey’s Hunting Hypothesis

Robert Ardrey (1908–1980) was not only a noted playwright but also the author of four influential books on evolutionary anthropology. If you’ve never heard of him that’s because he was an outsider of the academic establishment, both as an amateur and as an early critic of the ludicrous Marxist propaganda known as the “blank slate” […]

Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies

The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge University Press 1988; paperback 1990, 250 pages, ISBN 978-0-521-38673-9) is Joseph A. Tainter’s magnum opus and deservedly considered a classic. Tainter packs an overview of explanations of collapse, analyses of historical cases, and his own overarching theory into one slim book, soberly argued from quantifiable data yet quite readable. […]

Core Java 8 for the Impatient

Core Java for the Impatient — Cay S. Horstmann, Addison-Wesley 2015 (for Java SE 8), ISBN 978-0-321-99632-9 This 480-page book is a compromise between Horstmann’s brief introduction Java SE 8 for the Really Impatient (215 pages) and the traditional monumental Core Java tomes (2092 pages for Java SE 7). Rather than covering virtually the entire […]

Compact Horrors of JavaScript

JavaScript is notorious for the nasty surprises it springs on the unwary programmer, especially since it looks like many perfectly sensible languages (and is deceptively named after one). Two compact books present its mind-melting horrors in concentrated form, so as to quickly bring the unfortunate JavaScript neophyte up to speed. Douglas Crockford’s 2008 classic long […]

Overviews for HTML5 & Java SE 8

Two new entries in the Developer Books review archive. MacDonald’s HTML5 intro is well-suited for people who already know HTML 4, and Horstmann’s Java SE 8 overview should remain useful even after Core Java has been updated. I recommend both books. HTML5: The Missing Manual — Matthew MacDonald, O’Reilly 2013 (2nd ed.) This is not […]