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Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide
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Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,967 ratings  ·  144 reviews

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! is a fun, illustrated guide to learning Haskell, a functional programming language that's growing in popularity. Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! introduces programmers familiar with imperative languages (such as C++, Java, or Python) to the unique aspects of functional programming. Packed with jokes, pop culture references, and the author's ow

Paperback, 376 pages
Published April 18th 2011 by No Starch Press (first published March 1st 2011)
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Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming, haskell
Properly learning Haskell has been on my todo list for years. One of my first more serious attempts was in 2009, when I found a weird little book with lots of cartoons online. As you may have guessed that was Miran Lipovaca's "Learn You a Haskell for Great Good" and I was immediately intrigued by the writing style and cute cartoons. However back then the book was still a work in progress and I eventually stopped reading it before Miran got around to adding the last chapters. I always promised my ...more
Alex Ott
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best intro to Haskell that I've seen - easy to understand, fun to read.
The main drawback - not so many practical examples, but this could be improved by reading Real World Haskell: Code You Can Believe In after this book...
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
I don't usually send fanmail to writers of books I like, but after I finished this book I messaged this guy to say how much fun this book was to read and how much interest it created for me. It is as page turning as fiction. The writer did a very good job at making the content accessible and interesting, and at the same time addressing the readers as intelligent people (it's not a "for dummies" book) and going beyond scratching the surface.
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech
I would give even more stars to this book. The quote from the back cover is just right: " will not find a better way to learn this powerful language...". Of course, you should read a lot of other great books on Haskell (if you want to), but I think this should be the first one. Definitely, one of my favourite books. Just go and enjoy it, you won't regret!
Fantastic book, which sets a serious example of how programming books can be made both enjoyable and technically deep.
Caolan McMahon
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
A very nice gentle introduction to the basics, but doesn't go into enough depth or provide enough examples when you start to get into the harder stuff. This is partly down to the learning curve of the language itself, but I feel like the style of the first few chapters just didn't apply as well to the later ones. Seems like a good starting point, I think I'll be trying 'Real World Haskell' after this.

I already have some experience with functional programming, so I can't say how well
The first couple of chapters are a mild introduction to some of the reasons Haskell is still worth a look and feels current today.

I rate this as 2 stars as a didn't like the language and writing style of the book. Feels authored by a 15 year old. Examples:

"Nobuffering usually sucks as buffering mode because it has to access the disk so much"

"It will get called with args (so ["todo.txt", "Spank the monkey"]).."

"for example, if someone runs todo UP Y
Absolutely horrible, confusing and misinformating.

Unpopular opinion: this book sucks. No, it's not because I just did not understood it or some pretentious reason like that. Haskell is hard but not that hard if taught correctly.

It's because of the following reasons.
1) Tons of implicit cross-references. This book begins to use many concepts from the get-go not explaining how they work. Haskell has a lot of syntactic sugar, so guess what happens:
a) Book tries t
Renato Zannon
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book multiple times. It's a great introduction to Haskell, and pure functional programming in general. On top of everything, it's fun!

I really recommend it to any programmer. Learning Haskell is a powerful tool to expand your toolset and ways of thinking, and this book is a very good guide through the roughest parts of the process.
Pavlo Pohrebnyi
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is one of the best books I have ever read about a programming language.
Jeroen Vaelen
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ask me about Monads.

I'm transitioning to a Haskell project at work and decided to pick up this book in order to ramp up. I was in a Haskell course at university which did not get a lot further than higher order functions. Imagine my surprise when it turns out that's only when things start to get really interesting!

Many people associate Haskell with the arcane subject of "Monads". "So, do you understand Monads now?" is the first question many would-be Haskell programmers g
Ulas Tuerkmen
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This unassuming book is a smart introduction to Haskell, a programming language that is notoriously hard to learn, since it's so different from mainstream languages. At the time when it was published, the landscape for Haskell texts, especially for beginners, was relatively sparse. The only other introductory book directed towards practical daily work was Practical Haskell, a text with its own problems (see my review of it). This book filled, and is still filling, the gap for texts that give one ...more
Regis Hattori
I liked this book and I feel it is a good source of information about Haskell and functional programming. But after reading 90% of the book I feel I need to reread the last half in the future. Maybe it was because of my background, but I think that the difference in complexity between the first and last half of the book is so huge that perhaps the author could have used a different approach. For example, warning about it or at least providing a better overview of the relationships between the ch ...more
Dylan Lea
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now a Haskell wizard what's up
Gang Lei
Excellent read, no matetr how much experience you have.
Henrik Lindblom
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a sickleave dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, I ended up reading about Haskell. Basically I was really, really bored and started flipping through the book since it's freely available at

Having previous programming experience from various non-functional (heh) languages I had to unlearn old habits to wrap my brain around some of the concepts in Haskell. Fortunately for me, LYaH 's approach was gentle and each chapt
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fun, fascinating, and challenging tutorial for the Haskell programming language. It starts out deceptively simple, introducing basic Haskell syntax. It feels elegant, concise, and powerful. Then, much like functional languages themselves are designed, this book builds upon its simpler concepts to build more complex concepts. It sneaks up pretty fast. By the time you're halfway through, you're swimming in a sea of relatively new concepts, all working together to build programs. If ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computers
Fantastic introduction to the programming language Haskell. Took a technical, abstract, and difficult language and made it both fun and accessible. I supplemented occasionally with various articles online (most recently on, but also on functors/applicatives/monads). Pretty much nothing to complain about. I'm going to let the topics simmer in my subconscious mind for six months or a year, and then I think I'll re-read.
Steve Losh
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only Haskell book/tutorial I've seen that doesn't get completely stuck in either a bunch of pedantic bullshit or lofty theoretical handwaving. LYAH strikes a nice balance of the two so it feels like you're actually making progress as you go through the book.

I agree with the other reviewers that adding some exercises would complete what is otherwise the perfect introductory book to Haskell.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
It's a great intro to the language, even though I felt a bit lost at times due to a few omissions that I can only assume were made for the sake of brevity. I was able to cover the holes by following up with Real World Haskell, which is a good idea anyway, since it is a complex language and repetition helps with learning it.

Some commitment required.
Ondrej Sykora
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
A nice and quite approachable book about Haskell. I liked it and recommend it to my students (along with the website, from which the book was originally created), but I still feel that if I didn't know most of the concepts before reading the book, I could use more examples (and more examples why a certain feature is needed or useful). But the point probably is that the book is aimed at people, who have experience with programming, but not necessarily with the functional style.
Eric Casteleijn
It does a pretty good job of explaining a lot of the concepts in Haskell in a simple way. Where it gets more complicated it's due to the complexities (or unfamiliarities) of Haskell itself. The humor wore out its welcome after chapter 2 or so, but it's not so obnoxious as to make the book unreadable.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing this again in the present, while it does help ease users into Haskell, it is not a great choice.

Some code samples use homophobic slurs or fat-shaming.

My recommendation: turn to Real World Haskell, or any of the many freely available sources for learning about Haskell.
Rahul Phulore
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best introductory book on Haskell. And it's free!
Weird, fun, and excellent intro to the world of Haskell.
Martin Asenov
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great and easy to read introduction (and not only) to Haskell.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
One way to classify functional programming languages is according to whether they are dynamically or statically typed. Languages like Racket, Scheme, or Clojure are dynamically typed; others, like Typed Racket, OCaml, F#, or Haskell, are statically typed. Haskell makes explicit certain concepts of programming languages that are only implicit, and therefore easily unnoticed, in other languages, such as functors, applicative functors, monads, and monoids—for example, the SelectMany LINQ method of ...more
Shritesh Bhattarai
Haskell has that “elite” status among programming languages. You’ve heard of the benefits - pure, functional, lazy, statically typed, probably correct, immutable, the list goes on. You’ve even heard the claims that it solves all your programming woes, but it is infamous for having a steep learning curve and looks nothing like any “mainstream” language. The only people that you know use it are either people doing Ph.D.’s or math majors who talk about monads as a burrito or being just “a monoid in ...more
Yu-Hsien Kuo
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
A valuable book that includes all the basics of Haskell, and deserves respect for being one of the first widely available comprehensive resources, as well as for being free.

That being said, I can understand why some people would have qualms with this book. It's not aimed at absolute beginners. Many people with no previous knowledge of programming have tried and failed to learn Haskell from it, myself included (I had to return after gaining some more experience in other areas). It's s
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humblelibrary
I wanted to like this book more than I did.

It starts quite strong in introducing the basic principals of functional programming and Haskell in the first few chapters, and even includes a quite good section on I/O in Haskell.

Once it moves from the basics, however, it runs into some serious problems. The higher-level concepts such as functors, applicative functors, monoids and monads are introduced in quite a slap-dash way. I understand that the author is trying to convey t
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Most of his time is spent on doing nothing in particular, but when he's not doing nothing he's either programming, drawing, boxing or playing bass. He even has a cool bass tabs site. He also has a collection of stuffed owls and sometimes he talks to them and they talk back.