Author: Bjarne Stroustrup
Publisher: Addison Wesley, 2008
Aimed at: Beginners wanting to understand programming
Pros: A well conceived and well written introduction to programming
Cons: Wordy in places
Reviewed by: Mike James
Bjarne Stroustrup is the man who invented C++ and depending on how you view things was, and is, a hero or set the course of programming back many years!
The problem with C++ is that it is flexible, so flexible that you can write it in styles that make it look very different from the simple straightforward textbook approach. As a result many programmers believe that it's no place to start learning how to program.
Clearly Bjarne doesn't agree because his latest book is aimed at the complete beginner. However, even if you are a complete novice you will probably want to skip the introduction (and perhaps even later bits) because the approach is very wordy. This said it's all well written and well organised. Bjarne clearly understands programming, and the way you have to think to program, at a sufficiently high level to be able to reflect on the activity and understand what it is a beginner has to master and in what order. In short this is an excellent introduction to programming that just happens to use C++ as its target language.
This book would make an excellent course text book and its one of the few that could succeed in teaching you C++ with good style and understanding just by reading it.
If you are looking for a book that has a jazzy layout, crazy humour, cartoons and gimmicks then you will be disappointed in this book but if you are an intelligent beginner or a fan of Bjarne Stroustrup then you will find this an excellent read.