I read the K&R book when I was a kid and it was likely the most influencing reading I ever had on programming. At least, there were two stunning truths which, as I think, determined my life and profession:
- Programming is fun
- Programming is simple
It was an astonishing “You can do that” idea: you don’t have to be a mature, qualified engineer to start doing things with the computer right now. I still don’t know whether it’s a property of the C language itself, or of the book (in very good Russian translation); but even complex subjects, like pointers etc., were explained in an amusing way, intuitive for an average 13 y.o. schoolboy.
I don’t know another programming language specification that were such fundamental and detailed but simple and inspiring at the same time. I really owe to it in particular and to the C in general for I had not been lost in the jungles of something like BASIC (as it was suggested by the most of the “beginner” books of those days) and got a taste for a good language and for a fun of programming from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, I never remember Mr. Ritchie when I turn on my Linux (UNIX!) computer for doing my everyday work (those curly braces and all that stuff). And it’s sad.