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Top 5 books developers should read

From books about legacy code to web design, Tom Merritt recommends five books every developer should check out.

Top 5 books developers should read

You are more than a programmer, more than a coder, more than a maker of software--you are a developer. And while experience and a quick web search are essential tools in the development of your skills, occasionally a good book can help you rise above the rest. Here are five books developers should read. 

  1. Working Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael C. Feathers. If you don't have to deal with legacy code, consider yourself lucky. This book will help the rest of humanity effectively troubleshoot and fix old software.
  2. Programming Pearls by John Bentley. I've seen this on the desk of many of the best developers I know. The essays in this book include code examples and practical advice on some of the most nagging problems in programming.  
  3. The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. The title essay of this collection gave us Brooks law: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later."
  4. Don't Make Me Think : A Common Sense Guide to Web Usability by Steve Krug. This book is mainly focused on web design, but it includes thoughts on usability that can apply to all kinds of development.
  5. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. Pragmatism is valued by developers, and this book was written by the masters. There's even an updated 20th anniversary edition (published in 2019).

That's just the tip of the book iceberg. There are loads more good books like Code Complete 2, books on algorithms, and more. For more must-read books for developers, check out Brandon Vigliarolo's gallery: 20 books that every programmer should read

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Image: The Pragmatic Bookshelf