Late to the party

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good is a hard book to judge by its cover. It’s about the Haskell programming language, but what is it like? The title and the art work are playful, and that gives the impression the book is light-weight. On the other hand, the table of contents lists two chapters on monads, so maybe it isn’t so light-weight after all.

Is this book funny or serious? It’s both. It reminds me of a couple of my favorite lines from G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics:

Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else.

I’m not going to write a detailed review here because a lot of other people have reviewed it and I have only started reading it. Like I said in the title, I’m late to this party. But I’ve read enough that I think I understand why people recommend it. The book is written with a sense of humor and a casual pace, and yet it covers quite a bit. If you’ve looked at other Haskell books and found them too dry to read, as I have, you might want to try this one.

Related posts:

How to get started with functional programming
Keeping multiple programming languages straight

6 thoughts on “Late to the party

  1. I cut my Haskell teeth on LYAHFGG back when it was merely a web serial. Reminds me a little of a quirky title I picked up in a used book store back in the 90s, Mr. Bunny’s Guide to ActiveX.

  2. John:

    I fear that some people underestimated the contributions of my book, Red State Blue State Rick State Poor State, because of its silly title and cover. I intended the title and cover to signal that the book would be fun and accessible–I thought I needed to push against the expectation that a book by a statistician would be dry and technical–but I fear I went too far and that people didn’t realize that the book was full of original research.

  3. Great book! I first read it online and absolutely loved it. Now it sits proudly on my bookshelf and I’m hoping some of that money trickled down to its author, Miran Lipovača.

  4. +1 for the Chesterton Quote :)

    And yes, this is a fantastic book, though I never quite got around to reading past the first few chapters. Give us an update once you’re done!

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