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The C Programming Language

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  10,203 ratings  ·  479 reviews
This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.

From the Preface:
We have tried to retain the brevity of the fir
Paperback, Second Edition, 288 pages
Published March 22nd 1988 by Pearson (first published 1978)
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Danny This is it. Even after all these years, it's still the go-to resource for learning about C programming. Some call it "the C bible". …moreThis is it. Even after all these years, it's still the go-to resource for learning about C programming. Some call it "the C bible". (less)

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Nick Black
Found myself rereading this the other day, after recommending Chapter 8 to a young engineer seeking the Truth behind malloc(3)...still as fresh as the day it was printed, although I do note minor failings now (ubiquitous definitions of MAXLINE to 1000 rather than idiomatic use of ANSI/ISO's BUFSIZ, rather more use of register than I care to see in peacetime, etc). Also, when are we getting an update for C99? I'd like to see more people making proper use of stdint.h than is today typical.

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Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
If you're a geek, you have to prostrate yourself in the direction of Bell Labs whenever this book is mentioned. I'm not really a geek, so it's optional.

Well, perhaps I'd better do it anyway. Just in case.

Michael Finocchiaro
For evolution of the planet earth and our modern understanding of biology, there was Darwin's Origin of the Species. For mathematics, there was Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Well, for the internet, for Facebook, for LinkedIn, Twitter, Instgram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pornhub amd even the odious website for Justin Bieber would never have existed without Kernigan and Ritchie (more affectionately known as K&R)'s classic, The C Programming Language. What language was TCP/IP writ ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I‘m in my second semester and we are being taught (beside algorithms) the C programming language. In the first semester we were introduced to this (for me) completely new world - world of programming - through Python.

As someone that had no prior experience with programming, this book had definitely helped and explained A LOT - it definitely (I‘d say) covers pretty much everything!

Even though I am still making some syntax errors (thanks Python😭), I‘m making some progress, which definitely keeps
P Doerr lulz
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent A+++++++ Would read again!
The C Programming Language is THE VERY BEST way to learn the C programming language. Starting with the basic "Hello World" program, this book covers everything (of course, as the official guide to the language this is expected). As any programmer worth his salt will tell you, C is one of the most useful languages, and at least basic knowledge is mandatory.
Roy Vanegas
Apr 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Regardless of the fact that the architect of the language is a co-author, this book is simply not a good book on discussing the intricacies of C, a language replete with low-level details defining its behavior.

Everything, including a discussion on sequence points and side effects, among other topics, is included in Peter Prinz's and Tony Crawford's C in a Nutshell, which is masterful in its coverage of the language. Combine C in a Nutshell with Summit's C Programming FAQs and you have the entire
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago when I was first taking C. I don't have this edition, but an earlier one. After wading through several other books, I kept coming back to this one as a reference while programming. It is deceptively short & sweet. Re-reads constantly found me more avenues to explore using their basics.

I gave a copy to my son & he came to the same conclusion. While other, larger, & more specific books come & go as C evolves, this basic work is a must for any serious programmer.
Darshana Unnikrishnan
The book is missing many important parts of the subject. Also the explanations are not so good. Not suitable for someone who wants to learn the subject from scratch. May be an experienced professional might be able to benefit from the book better.

As for me I was just trying brush up the knowledge I had about this subject but didn't find the book that useful.
Jeffrey Rubard
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You Say You Want to Learn to Program, Well, You've Got to Read This Book...

The C Programming Language (1978, rev. 1988) is rather totally the most important book ever written about computer science. As the language's name "C" indicates it was not the first language to include block form (that was Algol, a "committee" prototype language never used extensively in industry) and modern control structures, but its centrality and ubiquity in programming projects up to the present day has meant that on
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ok dudes, this is THE book. If you want to know how to program in C, the once and future language of all computing, you must buy this book.

EFF this C#, CLI, J#, VB, and all those other abominational languages that are trying to kill good programming skills. If you want to learn how to really program you need to DO this book.

You don't read this book, you DO it! Thought I made a typo, huh? As a general rule, shorter books are better than those SAMS-type 1000 page tomes, teach you more, and are har
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
this "book" was the bane of my existence ...more
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So lucky I did read this book during the summer and started to audit classes using more serious language last winter... Otherwise, this first project of the semester would be even more of a struggle.
AmirMohammad Taati
Aug 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Skimming through this book was really enjoyable and fun. This book is not just about C programming language, but also about how to write good code in general. Reading this book is definitely recommended.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computer-science
I can't say I learned how to program C using this book -- that distinction goes to the long-forgotten Microsoft Quick C for Windows manuals and a reference manual put out by the Waite Group. I can't even say that I need to consult this very often anymore, although it will quickly clear up any questions you might have about arrays of pointers to unions of structs.

This book is the ideal presentation of a language. (When was the last time you saw both the grammar and standard library of a language
Jacob Williams
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it
A great example of how to write a solid programming language tutorial: not too shallow, numerous complete programs, lots of good exercises. It's also a neat window into an earlier, very different time in the programming world.

This sometimes still makes lists of "best books for learning C", and I'm giving it a mediocre rating simply to push back against that. This book is older than I am; new versions of the language have been standardized three times since it was published, and the landscape of
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Used to remember reading this in high school (coming to me only in vague shapes of green with distorted contours of my school lab receding from my minds grasp)...

A masterpiece of pure technical brilliance. You gotta C and read() for yourself.
Nov 26, 2021 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
For those uninterested in the historical context or don't want to know why this book is was considered the de-facto book to teach oneself C (just knowing that it was, is enough trivia for the avg Programmer) before slightly better and updated alternatives like C Programming: A Modern Approach came along, just SKIP.
It's 2021 and there exist way better and updated resources and for free.
Kenghis Khan
Jul 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
I simply do not understand why this book is so popular. I find it utterly unreadable and a pain in the butt to use. There are much better books introducing you to C, that serve as a reference to C, etc... Use if you want to impress your friends; otherwise, there are other places to look.
Kyusik Chung
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly the C Bible

If only all programming books were this succinct and to the point...
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
a masterpiece of modern literature
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oldschool but still relevant, just as the language. It's not a thick book, compared to the four times heavier C++ Primer and that's exactly how I feel about both languages. The C Prog. lang. does a fine job at explaining the key components of the C language using rudimentary code - and I like that, because that's what you'll encounter in the C world. The quicksort implementation using pointers for example. There's not much to say: it's a great introduction and reference, although learning C can ...more
Joe Cole
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet despite this, I believe there are alternative books which would have made the learning experience at first much easier.

If you have zero experience with programming or C in general, C Programming Absolute Beginner's Guide by Greg Perry and Dean Miller would be the best place to start. It does not get any simpler than this and the book is written with this in mind.
Hots Hartley
Jul 31, 2021 rated it did not like it
Dry. Boring. Outdated. Lack of imagery. Too much focus on memory management, not enough on UI or usability.

The lessons contained are sound, with examples. But it seems geared to weird, quirky problem-solving programming, like sorting and subclassing, rather than building or architecting of real-life applications. It would benefit from discussion of design patterns (MVC, singleton, etc) and usage in UI, to provide context to motivate the lessons.
Elijah Oyekunle
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While I've written some C in the past, I needed a brush-up for my Graduate Operating Systems course this fall.

Book is a classic! I'll definitely be revisiting soon.
Samiur Khan
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This gets the first ever Samiur stamp of approval.
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
My copy is falling apart. It is the goto book for C. Really doesn't need me to say much more than that. ...more
Azan Ng
Sep 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
fav femboy book
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction

** Pointers - how I miss thee...
This is a really valuable book. The examples given are very stimulating and actually still provide lots of insight so many years after this book was released.
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
I'm not new to programming, but I'm no expert either. This book does say at the start that "some" programming knowledge is expected. That is an understatement. But the problem isn't how complicated the concepts are, the problem is one that plagues academia, and that is that the explanations aren't made with a focus on teaching, but rather with a focus on being so explicit in the explanations that it becomes robotic, as if the reader were a computer rather than someone learning about computers. T ...more
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Brian Wilson Kernighan is a computer scientist who worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed greatly to Unix and its school of thought.

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