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The Joy of Clojure

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  936 ratings  ·  49 reviews
About the Book

If you've seen how dozens of lines of Java or Ruby can dissolve into just a few lines of Clojure, you'll know why the authors of this book call it a "joyful language." Clojure is a dialect of Lisp that runs on the JVM. It combines the nice features of a scripting language with the powerful features of a production environment—features like persistent data str
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 28th 2011 by Manning Publishing (first published November 28th 2010)
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May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, own, technical, 2011, 2012, clojure
In the realm of technical, programming-related, computer science-type books, The Joy of Clojure is a bit of an oddity. And this is a very good thing.

WHAT THE BOOK IS NOT: The Joy of Clojure is not a beginner's introduction to the language. The Joy of Clojure is not a glorified appendix of methods and syntax. The Joy of Clojure is not a "cookbook" or a "how-to" or an "FAQ". The Joy of Clojure is not an explanation on how to shoe-horn your Java code into (some (graceful [parenthetical syntax:])).
Alex Ott
May 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very good book on 'advanced' Clojure programming, discussing questions of clojurish programs design, optimizations, correct and optimal use of data structures.
I highly recommend this book for all, who already studied some Clojure programming (because this book premise, that you have Clojure experience) and wants to make your Clojure skills much better
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming, lisp, clojure
First things first, "The Joy of Clojure" really lives up to its name! Every page oozes with the excitement @fogus and @chrishouser have for the language and its community. This is exactly what makes this book such an enjoyable read, it's hard not to get drawn into the beauty of Clojure when you have two convinced developers sharing their passion with you.

That said JoC may not be a good first book to read for a Clojure newbie. It's deep like the language itself and it will take you a while to fu
Chris Maguire
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a good primer on the advanced uses of Clojure: macros, threading, prototypes, memoization, etc.

This isn't just a regurg of the Clojure API; it was well written, funny and challenging. The authors really know their stuff.

I've ordered "Practical Clojure" and "Programming Clojure" to back fill some of the less advanced stuff.
Alexander Yakushev
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about advanced Clojure usage. The vast number of covered topics and what's more important, how deep they are covered, makes "The Joy of Clojure" the best currently existing book for a skillful Clojure programmer. ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
At the beginning I'll say what the book already says about itself pretty vocally, but it's worth repeating: don't read this as your first book on Clojure! It presumes you already know quite a bit about its syntax, and even some of the most common idioms in use without giving even a passing mention. It jumps in right at the deep end of the pool where the table with cocktails is floating - I guess that's where the book derives its name from.

This is not a classical programming book. It makes a huge
Giovanni Martina
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book that shows you how to write idiomatic Clojure code and explains some of the more advanced ideas of the language.

I cannot rate it 5 stars however. The book is billed as written for programmers coming to Clojure from another programming background but the first two code samples in the book showcase a for-comprehension and the doseq function without explaining anything about Clojure's alien lisp syntax.

I'm pretty sure you can get more out of this book AFTER having read a book t
Marshall Vandegrift
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technical
One of the best language-specific programming books I've read in quite a while. Throws the Clojure-beginner into the deep end a bit (I needed to lookup quite a few functions to understand the examples at first), but goes well beyond a trivial introduction to the language's syntax and standard library. Explains the hows and whys of Clojure idioms in a which clearly communicates what makes the language different. The section on when to use different reference types is worth the price of admission ...more
Josh Glover
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Fantastic! It celebrates the way Lisp changes the way you think, and the way that Clojure implements and extends the Lisp philosophy. This book is much more about "why" than "how"; "Clojure in Action" is more "why"-ish, if that's what you're looking for. Read 'em both!

There is supposed to be a second edition coming out really soon.
Kiran Gangadharan
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A wonderful book if you're looking to learn the philosophies behind the language. I'm afraid I'm spoilt by this book in that I'm secretly hoping that such a book exists for all languages that I'm interested in. The exercises are neat and show off the terseness of Clojure.

I'm definitely looking to reread this after I gain some more experience with the language itself.
Erkin Unlu
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Colleague of mine recommended me this book to improve my understanding of Clojure. Unfortunately, it didn't do its job and nearly sucked all the joy of Clojure from me in the process. Style of writing is unnecessarily cramped, author used examples that usually don't explain why it's a good idea to use certain aspects of Clojure, but rather how clever they are that they could find these very interesting examples with amazing solutions they came up with. I really tried to liked the book but wasn't ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
As someone who's already somewhat familiar with the how of Clojure, and who was looking for more of the why, I think I was looking for a book that went more into detail with its examples. Especially the mutation chapter left me wanting more, and it would have been good to have more discussion on ways to pass state around your application in general, and when to use mutation vs arguments / callbacks.

I may reevaluate my rating if I come back to this with the kind of background the book seems to re
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book to work through if you're going to use Clojure regularly and want a bit of introduction to some more advanced features. I was disappointed learning Clojure. I thought macros would be more interesting and useful. The best parts to steal from Clojure are its concepts for dealing with concurrency, which aren't really covered in depth here. To understand those, I recommend 7 Concurrency Models in 7 weeks, which has several chapters on Clojure. ...more
Wanderson Ferreira
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From cover to cover this book is pure gold. Congratulations Michael Fogus for the amazing work. I learned so much and the references are very valuable too. I will continue to return to the book for more in-depth learning as I progress in my career.

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Jan 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I've dropped this book with about a third of the way in.

I really disliked the way the authors present the content in this book. It's like speaking to a subject matter expert (which they are) that's more concerned about showing how clever and how much he knows, rather than laying out the concepts clearly, on target, and with less distraction.
Tony Poerio
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book on Clojure. Really helped me to understand macros for the first time. The first few chapters are a more general overview of the language, but then the pace picks up very quickly.

The later chapters get more deeply into advanced features and can be quite dense. I could see myself using this as a desktop reference manual in the future.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great deep-dive in the philosophy behind the Clojure functional features.
Bobby Schultz
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best programming book I've ever read. ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the best book for people who already know some Clojure idea and want to push it to the next level
Anurag Peshne
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Complements well with Rich's talks. ...more
J. Pablo
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm giving it five stars because this is the kind of books I like seeing. I don't want a catalog of syntax and features. The problem with that, specially when you arrive at a programming language that is vastly different than your own, is that you end writing programs in one programming language like if it was another. You could write Ruby like if it was Java and you'd be missing out all the wonderful bits of Ruby.

When it comes to Lisp and Clojure in particularly, there are many things that are
Jon Gauthier
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Intermediate Clojure programmers
This book will not make you a master of the Clojure API. It will not drone on about minute details of the language's JVM implementation. Its authors do a brilliant job, however, of detailing the power and personality of Clojure and its opinionated backing philosophy. They show exactly why Clojure, its ecosystem, and its community are continually thriving nowadays — what makes the language so distinctive among modern systems and even among other Lisps.

This book is by no means a quick read — I end
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utilitas, 01
This is a densely packed book. It covers many programming techniques. At times, I felt that the number got in the way of the exposition, in the sense that I felt like I could only get the best out of it when I brought an existing knowledge of the technique and it's motivations. However, this is hardly a fault but rather a reflection of the intended audience. In deed, I always found the examples rewarded a close reading.

This was the second time I read this book in that I also read two thirds of t
Suvash Thapaliya
This was a pretty intense book, and I'm glad I managed to go through at my 3rd attempt. Covers a lot, most importantly teaches 'The Clojure way'. It is sprinkled with references all over for the interested ones. Also, it really feels like the authors have tried to stay honest whenever it comes to talking/comparing techniques across various languages, whenever present. Being honest, there were sections that I just glossed over as this is my first pass at the book and my brain felt overworked. I'm ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a dense book, in a good way. It didn't seem like any page was wasted, and the authors were never afraid to dive into real code and make things work. The organization of the book shows that the authors really have their act together and had lots of experience teaching the language before they wrote the book. As far as meaty, advanced Clojure literature goes, I'll say this is the best book currently out there. In fact, I might go so far as to say that this is one of the best hands-on progr ...more
Robert Postill
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is lovely. As a second book about Clojure it propels you from basic understanding through to deep understanding. It doesn't exhaustively cover the library for Clojure but it covers the thought process behind the language and definitely exhorts a better style of development. The information flow doesn't let up for all the chapters and as such you feel like you've learned an immense amount aas you move through the book. Having said that the conclusion is pretty much, we've stopped writin ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that the title is more clever than I like. I've learned in the past few years that "clever" things are the ones I wind up regretting, while "elegant" ones stand the test of time. That said, it's pretty much what the title implies: an exploration of how you can do this thing (program in Clojure, in this case) in ways that will maximize your enjoyment of it.

It's not aimed at the novice programmer, but at someone who's already familiar with Java programming and its underlying conce
Todd Webb
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Partial Review: So I made it through to chapter 9 and then stopped to take a breath. The authors move very quickly through a lot of concepts and assume a significant amount of knowledge (they mention many CS concepts in passing and don't stop to explain). The book is probably great for someone with a very solid grounding in computer science theory. Given the minimal number of CS classes I had as an Industrial & Operations Engineer I just didn't feel like I could keep up. I'll probably revisit th ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book. Learned some things, but just a few.

Most of clojure, I learned online, but this book did have some things I'm really glad I learned; things I didn't get from reading and playing.

My big beef is that the book is ancient (in computer years). A second edition is coming out soon, and maybe that will fix it, but the book is based off clojure 1.2, and 1.5 is out now. So a lot of it felt rather outdated.
Igor Bondarenko
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book to gain advanced understanding of Clojure.

If you're already familiar with functional programming and lisps in particular you can use it as your first Clojure book, if not it's better to start from something more beginner-oriented and then embrace all the cool stuff in The Joy of Clojure.
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