Sunday, March 22, 2009

First taste of Let Over Lambda by Doug Hoyte

I finally found time for for going through first few chapters of Let Over Lambda so this post will be some sort of prereview, will post the final review as soon as I finish the book.
I'm impressed with Doug Hoyte writing style, he's fallowing the tradition of second to none lisp authors that I first came in contact through David S. Touretzky timeless Gentle Introduction. Doug Hoyte style is clear, concise and full of enthusiasm. I love his words and his examples. Let Over Lambda should be on a shelf of every serious lisper.
1st I would really love if lispers and especially lisp authors stop being smug and avoid Grahamisms like Blurb and top percentile of programmers. There are many highly talented programmers who use 'lesser' languages and are very capable with them. I know that lisp act as a lever increasing programmer capability 3-10 times but that's only for the lisp type of programmers working on lisp friendly projects.
2nd There is no ebook version. Dead tree version of programming books are cumbersome and impractical. Though I love reading real books laying on the bed, working through programming books requires a computer and trying the examples. Also for those happy enough like me that live in Macedonia and like countries keep in mind that I waited 2 months for the book to arrive. If the author decides to put an pdf version (with contents please), under reasonable price I would be very happy to buy the book once more. Plus it would save some trees.

So far this book is great investment and joy to read, It's a real shame that author didn't spend at least a little bit of his time on advertising his book. I know that book is self-published ( through Lulu) but that's a reason more to tell the world about the book himself, posting some notice at places where lispers usually gather like comp.lang.lisp and asking for some linking from authors of lisp related sites and blogs etc won't take much time and would certainly help avoiding the obscurity. If Tamas didn't mentioned Let Over Lambda at cll I wouldn't be aware that such thing exist. Anyway all the lispers that like Let over Lambda ( first 4 chapters are free from the book site) please support Doug Hoyte and spread the word. This book deserves to be famous.


  1. Elena from c.l.l.March 25, 2009 at 1:01 PM

    Paul Graham has written the most user friendly essays promoting Lisp. I've learned to appreciate Lisp because of him. And "Blub" is not a dismissive term.

    I'd also buy the Doug's book if there were an electronic version. I'd say he resembles the lisper prototype: very smart, lone wolf, poor PR, relying on obsolete technology (e.g. dead tree book).

    See you on c.l.l. ^_^

  2. Paul Graham made a huge difference in boosting lisp popularity. However lisp position now is fairly stable, smugness and elitism heart lisp for many programmers interested in trying it.

  3. Hi Slobodan,

    Thank you for your comments and kind words about Let Over Lambda.

    Recently I have received a lot of requests for an electronic version of the book so I will be looking into doing this as soon as possible.

    Regarding Blub terminology, my definition of Blub is not languages that are lesser than lisp, but rather languages that don't have lisp-like macros. In Blub languages, the language designers think they know better than you how you should program. In lisp languages, the designers have provided the tools to program however you want.

    About "top percentile programmers" and the like, there is no excuse for this arrogant marketing language and I apologise. I just hope it hasn't obscured my message too much. The book is really about why I think lisp is so great, not disrespecting other languages or other programmers.

    Thanks again,



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