This is the 2019 Top-10 Books Every Computer Scientist Must Read (with the number of votes for each book). All books are available at the TU Graz library, Inffeldgasse branch.

  1. George Orwell, 1984, 25
  2. Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 23
  3. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 14
  4. George Orwell, Animal Farm, 13
  5. Stephen Hawkin, A Brief History of Time, 11
  6. Douglas Hofstaedter, Goedel, Escher, Bach, 11
  7. Karl Popper, Logik der Forschung, 9
  8. Randall Munroe, What if, 9
  9. Marc Elsberg, Blackout, 8
  10. Cory Doctorow, Little Brother, 8
  11. Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, 8

Here is the list at Amazon.

What do we learn from this list? (1) We are one pessimistic bunch! Six out of eleven books are dystopian warnings: 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Blackout, Little Brother, Weapons of Math Destruction. We are lucky nobody thought of nominating Fahrenheit 451! If you want a positive spin on this – we are well aware of the dangers posed by Computer Science. (2) We like Science: A Brief History of Time, Logik der Forschung, and What If. (3) There is only one funny book. And I don’t think any normal people find it

What else? There are 11 books in the Top 10. (Including a trilogy in four parts.) Tastes don’t change much (5 books from 2004, 6 new.) Lord of the Rings and Die Verwandlung dropped most. I guess the movie didn’t help.

Statistics: 49 books nominated, 49 votes cast. Nine books were good enough to nominate but not good enough to vote for (including one book on working efficiently, I guess there was a belated lesson for the nominator in there).

Some comments from you (with answers from me):

  • What shitty list is that? Where is my Sedgewick? My Stoustrup? My Knuth? My Kernighan-Ritchie? You must be kidding, you little Tolkien-critter, you… Ah, well, that must be because I explicitly ruled out textbooks, you nerd, you…
  • This list is a mess/hard to read, please clean up the next time. 😉 Great idea. Want to help?
  • Please keep this list somewhere. I often don’t know what to read and I think this list could solve this problem for a couple of years Here it is!