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Let Over Lambda

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  160 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Let Over Lambda is one of the most hardcore computer programming books out there. Starting with the fundamentals, it describes the most advanced features of the most advanced language: Common Lisp. Only the top percentile of programmers use lisp and if you can understand this book you are in the top percentile of lisp programmers. If you are looking for a dry coding manual ...more
Paperback, Edition 1.0, 384 pages
Published April 2nd 2008 by (first published April 1st 2008)
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Sep 26, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
This book will make your brain melt. Embrace this.
Oct 05, 2010 Ronny rated it did not like it
I originally read this book in the hope that I would 'get' Lisp. Having tried it a few times in the past, I failed to see what was special about it. Indeed, it struck me as an awkward language with a terrible syntax. But maybe I needed a paradigm shift to really think in Lisp. This book did not provide that shift.

I didn't finish this book, and I may leave it unrated once I figure out how to clear ratings since I'm not sure I can fairly evaluate it. Frankly, I may be this book's anti-audience, an
Jake McCrary
Jul 13, 2010 Jake McCrary rated it it was amazing
This book is a deep dive into a using Common Lisp macros. Doug delves into some complicated types of macros which allow for some pretty powerful ideas to be expressed simply.

The last chapter of the book (where he implements a macro which takes Forth and runs it) is mind bending.

Not a book for someone who is not familiar with macros. Worth reading for anyone interested in being exposed to complicated macros. I can only take the author's word that this is what being a Lisp professional is about.
Alex Nelson
Mar 27, 2015 Alex Nelson rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
This is probably the best book on macros I've read, and if you're programming in any should read this book.

That said, there are a number of problems I have with this book. For example, section 3.7 "Duality of Syntax" --- the author never specifies what he means by "duality", nor does he clearly express what this "duality of syntax" is. But apparently it's important, and it intentionally violates referential transparency. How is this a duality? Does the author mean that static & dy
Feb 03, 2012 Marvin rated it did not like it
This was a tough one ..

Which is a pity since it contains some very interesting stuff about macro programming.

So what's in the book?
It is a book about Lisp but neither an introduction to nor a reference. It is focused on macro programming. On the way there it starts by talking about scope and closures, followed by increasingly advanced macro topics: extending the language, extending the parser, macros that build macros, interaction of multiple levels of macros and macro efficiency. This tour of m
Jonathan Avery
Apr 25, 2013 Jonathan Avery rated it really liked it
This book is excellent and lived up to expectations.

That being said, the benchmark between sortf and CL's sort on page 280 is misleading. He neglected to include the time of creating the function used in the benchmark. This includes what looks to be an expensive call to build-batcher-sn.

This specialized sort has a place: when you have data-sets of fixed size, and you can amortize the time spent on building the function with the time saved on its repeated use. His macro sortf implies creation of
Jan 13, 2012 Luke rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
Nerdiest book I've read in years, all about metaprogramming with macros in Lisp. Quite enjoyable, and once I got the various quotes and backquotes sorted in my mind remarkably easy reading - the example cases are well-motivated. Don't expect to write much lisp anytime soon, but a fun metaprogramming book. Most of the humor comes from making fun of Scheme. Appendix on Emacs vs Vi takes position you'd expect once you remember that elisp hasn't had lexical scope until this year...
Amazing book. An eye opener and a mind bender.

My highlights go to the chapters on Pandoric Macros, Compiler Macros and My favorite, Lisp Moving Forth Moving Lisp.

Read this book with an open mind though. The author is set in his ways and is highly opinionated. If you accept that, you'll have a great time reading this.
Scott King
Jul 12, 2014 Scott King rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-books
This is a very advanced book on LISP macros. Definitely a must-read, but you have to read it slowly and thoughtfully to get all it has to offer. I expect it will be a book to dip into repeatedly over time.
Jim Powers
Dec 31, 2015 Jim Powers marked it as to-read
Currently reading this book. A lot of people are turned-off by the strongly opinionated presentation, but frankly I enjoy it.
Chris Maguire
Mar 08, 2016 Chris Maguire rated it liked it
Write the language that you want to program in. In Lisp anything is possible.
Derek Verlee
Nov 02, 2011 Derek Verlee rated it really liked it
Very interesting tour of meta-programming with macros in lisp (among other things).
Definitely perked my interest with regards to features such as macros that do well supported many of the more popular languages, with regards to productivity or even capability.
May 26, 2011 Mikhail rated it it was amazing
This book seems to be Practical Common Lisp volume 2.

Read it just after PCL, if you still not understood, why there is so much buzz about Common Lisp and macros.

Nice to found that some macros explained in Let Over Lambda are pre-built in Clojure
Sep 06, 2010 David rated it liked it
Interesting concepts and code samples, bound together with awful prose.
Ajit George
Oct 10, 2010 Ajit George rated it really liked it
Definitely opinionated. Informative.
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