Hello everyone

I'm looking for a good gift book to give my friend.
he is doing his PHD in computer science and always an A class student since his BSc!

he helped me alot with my degree and i want to get him a good "computing" book but something highly professional that is not easy and boring for someone who has a phd !!

it is hard to decide, but has anyone read a book that he liked very much and learned from it alot?

even like a good book to read before working for example but related to computer science

i know im asking for something hard but maybe someone can help !

Thank you in advance :)


6 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by oalee

Probably anyone doing a PhD has plenty of tech books to read, and a list as long as your arm of books they're going to read next. I'd suggest you stay away from the more technical stuff.
If they like reading, though, there's some excellent fiction out there that they're likely to enjoy. Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is a classic - if they haven't read it, they'll love it. His most recent novel, Anathem, is also a lot of fun.
William Gibson more or less invented the world we live in today in his first three novels - Neuromancer is a fine example. Again, a classic, so he may well have read it, but if he hasn't he'll probably like it.
I just read a little book called "Close to the Machine" by Ellen Ullman - more of a memoir of a developer in the 90's, California. Very good writer and observer, this has the real advantage of putting a lot of meat into a very few pages, which a PhD student is likely to appreciate. It's also one that he's not likely to have come across, since it's relatively obscure, but excellent.

If you want to splash out on something technical, I'm pretty sure everyone in computers covets a copy of Knuth and most of us haven't got a copy yet. It's a bit spendy, but the the boxed edition of volumes 1-3 of the Art of Computer Programming is one that he can easily spend the rest of his life absorbing. But again, a PhD student is likely to have plenty to read, so that might be a slightly heavy sort of a gift. I'd go with Stephenson or Ullman.


Thank you all for the advices!!
he will be done with his PhD in a month so im not worried about heavy books, these books might be helpful for him for his work as a programmer kind of.
But I also do like Cryptonomicon , I read about it ans it seems interesting !

Thanks again !


Edited by jowana: n/a


Cryptonomicon is nice, i have a copy of it at home but haven't gone about finishing it.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.