Book List: Reading for Computer Science Students

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It is no surprise that I read a lot of books. And listen to nearly as many in the car. I like to pair many of these with other parts of my life: classes, work, hobbies, TV shows I’m binging, etc. So over the last three years while taking CS classes, I read a number of technology / computer science related books that enriched my curriculum and added to my education.

My apologies, almost a third of the list is biographies. Reading biographies can be considered one of my hobbies by itself.

CodeCode by Charles Petzold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Starting with the very simplest of communication problems, how two kids communicate with each other via flashlights from across the street, and slowly building up the examples in complexity, Charles Petzold walks readers through electricity, telegraphs, morse code, Braille, and more until they are ready to put together the pieces and arrive at an understanding of basic computer architecture.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software CraftsmanshipClean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In my CS classes, we were graded by the quantity of comments in our code. Author and veteran software developer Robert C. Martin offers a better solution grounded in quality and utility.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human DecisionsAlgorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun mix of sociology, psychology, and computer science. Author Brian Christian applies algorithms studied by computer scientists (e.g. greedy, graphing, explore vs exploit) to everyday problems.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce RacismAlgorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Big data algorithms can do some amazing things for society, but they not only reflect our worst aspects, but also amplify them. In a well laid out argument, Safiya Noble focuses in on this issue at Google and its effects on black women.
The Innovators: How a Group of  Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital RevolutionThe Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A look at the contributions of those individuals who helped found our current digital age. Walter Isaacson starts with Ada Lovelace and moves on to other obscure characters as well as better known ones such as Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee.

Steve JobsSteve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A biography of Steve Jobs. While chronicling his life, Walter Isaacson gives readers a glimpse of the people, culture, hardware, software, and companies which influenced and led to the desktop computer as we know it today.

Alan Turing: The EnigmaAlan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A biography of Alan Turing, a fascinating and tragic person whose contributions to computer science, cryptography, and artificial intelligence were not fully appreciated until after his death.

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