Top Books Referenced on Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow commenters want you to read plenty of books.

If you ask a question on Stack Overflow, there’s a good chance you’ll be directed to a link so you can buy someone’s favorite book. By scanning over 40 million questions and answers on Stack Overflow, one website has compiled a list of the most-referenced books.

Using a publicly available dump of user-contributed content on Stack Overflow, dev-books.com analyzed links to Amazon. It then compiled a list, which is handily searchable via tabs such as ‘Java’ or ‘Math.’

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top return (with 309 links) is ‘Working Effectively with Legacy Code.’ Stack Overflow is ripe with developers asking about legacy code, often related to older syntax or dreaded ‘spaghetti code’ that has been patched together over the ages.

In second place is a book that’s closely related to the top pick. ‘Design Patterns’ is a deep dive into designing code that can be reused for object-oriented software, which helps you avoid Frankenstein code-bases (for your own sanity, as well as that of your team). The third-most-referenced book, ‘Clean Code,’ helps you start out on the right foot (sensing a pattern yet?).

Most of the top ten books cover designing and managing code (Code Complete’ and ‘Refactoring’ are handy). It’s not until number six that we get our first language-specific text, the boringly named (but obviously very useful) ‘JavaScript.’ ‘The C Programming Language’ checks in at #11, followed by ‘Effective C++.’

Six of the top 30 books directly relate to the C programming languages, which are some of the most widely used. TIOBE routinely ranks at least two C languages in its top five, and the most recent Stack Overflow survey has C, C# and C++ in its top ten.

Dev-books has the full list, replete with Amazon links and a nice tag filtering system for your language or discipline of choice. If nothing else, it’s a good resource to visit now and then if you’re looking for a new book to read.

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