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The Algorithm Design Manual

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,354 ratings  ·  82 reviews
This volume helps take some of the "mystery" out of identifying and dealing with key algorithms. Drawing heavily on the author's own real-world experiences, the book stresses design and analysis. Coverage is divided into two parts, the first being a general guide to techniques for the design and analysis of computer algorithms. The second is a reference section, which incl ...more
Hardcover, 486 pages
Published November 14th 1997 by Springer
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May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in algorithms and data structures
Shelves: computer-science
When you want to read a good introductory book about algorithms and data structures the choice comes down to two books: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition and this one. I especially liked The Algorithm Design Manual because of the author's writing style, the "war stories" (that are some clever and practical applications of the data structures and algorithms the author tries to teach you) and the second half part of the book which is a sort of encyclopedia of problems.

I used the "introduc
Christian Brumm
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cs-software
In comparison to "Introduction to Algorithms" (the other algorithm book I had significant exposure to) this one is faster to read, easier to digest and more tailored towards applications.

I found the "Hitchhiker's Guide to Algorithms" in the back to be extremely useful if you really find yourself tackling an algorithmic problem in practice.

The main part (maybe skipping/skimming down a few chapters) is a very good preparation for algorithm-heavy job interviews (e.g. Google, Facebook etc ...).

Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a practical, example-driven book on computer science algorithms, which is very readable and has a wealth of ready-to-use examples. The tutorial material in the first half of the book covers the essentials: data structures such as lists, arrays, stacks, queues, binary trees, etc. The book spends a lot of time emphasizing the utility of graph algorithms and how to model various classes of problems with them, as well as lot of time on dynamic programming and backtracking/enumeration. A ...more
Josh Davis
I can't think of an occasion when I'd recommend this over Intro to Algorithms (CLRS). It does a fraction of what CLRS does and worse in most cases. And in the rest of the cases, it does them exactly the same. There were some instances (graph algorithms) where the code in Skiena was taken straight out of CLRS. Not only did CLRS explain the algorithm better but it had the proofs to back it up.

Speaking of proofs, this is what I hated about Skiena. It has barely any proofs in comparison to CLRS. A l
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not an introductory book. You should have some previous knowledge of algorithms to enjoy it. The book builds a way of thinking towards solving algorithms problems, instead of just stating the algorithms and data structures in a mechanical way, but in many parts it is not very clear and you have to read a passage multiple times to understand what the author meant.

The book can be used as a reference that you can use to understand a specific topic.
Nick Black
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
great practical guide, lots of fun to read on the subway. probably a better book to carry around in one's professional life than CLR, though it lacks some of the theoretical intensity of the Big White Book. i'm interviewing with Google and Amazon this week and picked it up to refresh myself on graph algorithms and strategies for NP-complete problems, and it delivered, with perhaps greater effect (and certainly less time) than rereading Algorithmic Graph Theory and The Theory of NP Completeness. ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joe by: Fivebooks
The rare computer programming book that I finished start-to-finish.

The first half of the book tells you why some things take longer to compute than other things. This helps data scientists / statisticians / analysts who work with large amounts of data.

In the first half, the math and the computer code can get pretty heavy. But I found the text around it was written so you could skim the hard stuff, get the idea, and keep going.

The second half of the book is a reference. As Hadley Wickham said in
Badarudheen Kunnathodi
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone interested in practical algorithm implementation.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
A rare book on algorithms that is actually fun to read :)
Alexander Osmanov
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good examples and explanations of algorithms that are commonly asked in interviews.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Certainly worth a read. I give it 5 stars because it certainly deserves 4, and I'd love more software developers to read it :).

I liked that algorithms were not presented in vacuum. Quite the opposite. A lot of attention is placed on practical applications of algorithms. Author talks a lot about ways to recognize that many popular problems can be solved using popular algorithms.

In my opinion, this book has a very pragmatic approach. It doesn't go into details of flavors of algorithms that most de
Vibhor Rawal
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I picked it up, I instantly became a fan of Skiena. Some of the writings span beyond algorithm design and it was a delight reading those. Especially the war stories helped as a reader to get a clearer picture of an algorist's job. Though in my opinion the book deteriorates in writing quality (not knowledge imparted per chapter), it still is a good design manual, don't get me wrong the worst pages of this book felt superior to some other books out their.

Danial Kalbasi
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A useful read for anyone who likes to have a deeper understanding of algorithm design. The book covers many aspects such as time/space complexity, NP-completeness, and many other concepts. The part that I personally really appreciate was the first few chapters about how to set our mindset to design an algorithm.

This book, like most academic books, is hard to read and comprehend and needs the reader to do more research about the subjects. I wish people who write these books, they come out of thei
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Most of the books in this category provide a rigorous catalog of different algorithmic problems and their solutions, and this one is not an exception. At least its second part. What makes this books stand out is its first half. There, author provides a practical view on solving algorithmic problems, providing intuitive explanations of the major problems in each category. Each of the first 10 chapters also contain war stories, where the algorithms are brought to real practical applications based ...more
Alexey Zorin
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just a bit less academic and a bit more casual than the famous "Introduction to Algorithms" however it's all about applications.
Every chapter starts off with a problem statement, then questions are asked to help identify hidden nuances of the problem, followed by a "War story" showing where exactly that particular algorithm found it's application and tricky exercises of course.
Author provides dozens of references to each topic so the reader could study the particular subject in deta
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the best Algorithmic Design books out there: not only does it approach every problem with the consideration of heuristic and through reasoning and demonstrations, but it also helps with writing simple code.

What makes this book better than most other books about the topic is the scrupulous definition of each term, and the absurdly clear explanation of every problem and heuristic that's presented throughout the volume.

Overall, i'd definitely suggest this book to anyone interested in algorit
Scott Holstad
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
A pretty good resource and one of the better books on the subject, in my opinion. However, many describe it as "introductory" algorithms, and I'm not sure I totally agree. Unless you already posses a solid foundation in related areas, a newbie will often find it hard to walk into this and immediately understand it. And maybe some will say that would be unrealistic, and I would be one of those. However, I actually have heard and seen others say exactly that, and again, I don't agree. Nonetheless, ...more
Philippe Fanaro
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A work of art and mastery of many fields. Decades and decades of research in addition to the much more valuable big picture of their integration. This is *the* book to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

I don't know if this book could be read with someone with zero knowledge of the topics involved. I am a graduate student of electrical engineering who knew a reasonable lot before trying this book out and, still, couldn't read more than 40-60 pages a day (I separated 2 weeks off for this
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy crap, wish I'd found this book before I retired. I've been recommending Sedgwick's book for 30 years, this one is even better.

Something I really like is how he shows how useful graph theory can be. If you can turn your problem into a graph (and you'd be surprised how often you can) there are a lot of non-obvious algorithms that will beat the pants of any non-graphical algorithm. I got a B.A. in math, the most useful class I took was graph theory.
Priyanka Shah
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Amazing and informative book for anyone interested in knowing how algorithms shape the world we live and power almost all the electronic machines we interact with on day to day basis. Most importantly gives you a zoom out version to analyze and breakdown big problems into small informative chunks which can then be processed to get a value.
Mayur Patil
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book but obviously not for beginners. You need to do refresher course in Algorithms or take one if you are graduating. You will become good problem solver and algorithmist after completing this text. Go for it if you want to challenge your algorithmic learning.
Dawn Drain
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Skiena is an extremely likeable author! I loved his stories and sense of humor. I think I'd recommend this book over CLRS, although I could imagine a past version of myself being frustrated by the practical lack of detail. ...more
Vikas Srivastava
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book taking a hands approach on solving algorithmic problems. A brief introduction to the algorithms followed by specific implementations of everyday problems makes it truly a ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to Algorithms’
Matt McCormick
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: software
A very thorough book but I found that the explanations for most algorithms could have been better. I found it to be more of a reference book for looking up how to write an algorithm if you need one rather than learning well about a variety of algorithms.
Priyavasanthan Pandiyan
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Best of the algorithms book read among a lot of others. Real time challenges with progressive optimization. The best of it how the Data structure themself are built and why they are built the way that it is. Worth keeping as a companion for CS career.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are a self taught software engineer like myself this book is an amazing resource for not only preparing for technical interviews but getting into a rhythm of thinking like a computer scientist and breaking from being just a programmer
Ben Yang
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best algorithm book I read, ever.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Algorithms book. I will always read and re-read it.
Jared Tobin
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad, but I preferred CLRS. Okasaki is miles more enjoyable than either of them, but of course has a different scope.
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rather good as a cover to cover read and as reference as well. It might get a bit too fast paced towards the end, but still loads of good information and ideas
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