Getting Started with LISP

I’m yet another person sucked into this by Paul Graham’s essays.

I’m a victim of the OOP obsession that has dominated for the past while.  LISPer types smugly assert that functional programming transcends OOP and that Design Patterns are just formalized work-arounds for dealing with the shortcomings of lowest-common-denominator programming languages that were designed for the masses.  Having lived primarily within the .Net paradigm, I lack the mental tools to even conceive of such thoughts, much less argue with them.

I bought Graham’s ANSI Common Lisp,  but I use Peter Seibel’s Book and Steel’s CLtL a lot as well.  So far I’ve dutifully worked through 18 chapters of Common Lisp: An Interactive Approach.  (I like the fact that Shapiro attempts to break your imperative habits by keeping you locked in to “pure” lisp for as long as possible.)  I use the Lisp-in-a-Box platform suggested on Seibel’s web page.

I hope to make occasional posts here on my progress– especially on things that cost me a lot of unecessary pain.  Hopefully such tidbits will prove useful to those that come along after me.


One Response to “Getting Started with LISP”

  1. Jeff Ober Says:

    I am also learning Lisp. A very helpful book that I found for learning to think applicatively is “Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computing” (available online at It’s a bit dated, but it’s an excellent tutorial in the basics of thinking idiomatically lispy thoughts 🙂

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