Found in 23 comments on Hacker News
roganp · 2022-08-13 · Original thread
Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets

Entertaining and informative. Highly recommended.

dig1 · 2021-03-13 · Original thread
"The C Programming Language" from K&R is something everyone should read, even if they are not fond of C.

"Expert C Programming" [1]. Not up to date, but written from a C compiler writer standpoint. A lot of references to why C (and libs) are the way they are.


ktr · 2021-02-28 · Original thread
I really enjoyed Expert C Programming (
This is a fun book to start with "Expert C Programming Pete van Linden"
mmjaa · 2017-10-16 · Original thread
This is the book for this particular subject:

Every C programmer should have this on their bookshelf!

hatsunearu · 2016-07-28 · Original thread
How is this?

Some random guy suggested this to me to take my C to the next level: Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets

What's the rush?

Learning C is difficult because you need to know how the machine actually works. Trust me, there are no shortcuts. The year can be 2036, learning C will be the same.

With that said, these books are excellent:

fit2rule · 2015-09-02 · Original thread
I concur .. another good book that will teach you more about C in a productive way, is "Expert C Programming- Deep C Secrets":

Elrac · 2015-04-07 · Original thread
35 years ago, when I was told my 2nd freshman course in programming would be in Pascal, I bought the _Pascal User's Manual and Report_, read through it in one sitting, managed to remember most of it (Pascal is a small language) and was able to program in it - at a beginner level, of course. K&R is roughly the C equivalent. If you want the language and nothing but, then it should do you nicely.

My personal favorite, because it explains better (so I think) and dives into a little more depth where K&R leaves you to extrapolate on your own, is Peter van der Linden's "Expert C Programming" (Deep C Secrets): . Also, I enjoy the author's entertaining style, and think it aids learning.

More of a general (i.e., not embedded systems specific) book on C is "Deep C Secrets", by Peter Van Der Linden.

Amazon link:

tjr · 2014-07-25 · Original thread
C would be worth studying, as would some books around and about C. (Peter van der Linden's Expert C Programming comes to mind.) Even if you don't actually use C much, it's been a standard for a long time, with lots of interesting heritage.

agentultra · 2013-10-23 · Original thread
I love this presentation. It led me to read Expert C Programming [1] by Peter Van Der Linden. My knowledge of C had vastly improved after reading that book (and subsequently C++). Even if you're not a C programmer I would recommend the book as the anecdotes alone are worth reading for the questions that it encourages you to ask.

I've since come to believe that reading the specifications and having the attention necessary to delve into these kinds of details and ask the right questions is important for mastery. It seems to me that learning 1 - 2 languages to this level of detail is worthwhile. I've been thinking of cutting back the number of languages I, "know," down to just those for which I am familiar with the specifications and how they're compiled, assembled, etc. Everything else is superficial.

Sometimes all you need is just a cursory knowledge to get something done and the ends justify those means. However if you really love your craft then mastery should be the goal, no? It seems to be the difference between, "getting something working," and, "pushing the boundaries of what is possible."


halayli · 2013-03-09 · Original thread
Just FYI, If you know C and you want to take it to the next level, then Expert C Programming:Deep Secrets is one of the best books out there.

unimpressive · 2013-02-19 · Original thread
I never got into C because of books like "Expert C Programming"[0], knowing they exist tells me that theres a ton of "gotchas", and life is too short for that if I'm not really crazy about it in the first place.

Then again, as far as actual grammars go, I've heard C++ is bad enough that the compilers are the standard, and that if you want to be "compliant" with real world C++ code you copy every feature [1] of GCC.



cjg_ · 2013-02-10 · Original thread
K&R is great! For a really deep understanding how pointer and arrays are related I also recommend Expert C Programming by Peter van der Linden (
robomartin · 2012-11-27 · Original thread
OK, if you don't have any real experience in low-level embedded coding (relevant to device drivers), RTOS or OS design in general, file systems, data structures, algorithms, interfaces, etc. And, if you have "hobby level" experience with Assembler, C and C++. And, if your intent is to write a desktop OS, from the ground up, without making use of existing technologies, drivers, file systems, memory management, POSIX, etc. Here's a list of books that could be considered required reading before you can really start to write specifications and code. Pick twenty of these and that might be a good start.

In no particular order:






















































54- ...well, I'll stop here.

Of course, the equivalent knowledge can be obtained by trial-and-error, which would take longer and might result in costly errors and imperfect design. The greater danger here is that a sole developer, without the feedback and interaction of even a small group of capable and experienced programmers could simply burn a lot of time repeating the mistakes made by those who have already trenched that territory.

If the goal is to write a small RTOS on a small but nicely-featured microcontroller, then the C books and the uC/OS book might be a good shove in the right direction. Things start getting complicated if you need to write such things as a full USB stack, PCIe subsystem, graphics drivers, etc.

Erwin · 2012-10-03 · Original thread
EatenByGrues · 2010-11-13 · Original thread
I may be using the word 'modern' a bit liberally here, but these are all more recent than K&R at least. 'C A Reference Manual' I think is what a lot of people really want out of a C book and 'Expert C'/'C Traps and Pitfalls' both help with all of the less intuitive parts of the language that you don't really get out of K&R.

C A Reference Manual

Expert C

C Interfaces and Implementations

C Traps and Pitfalls

jaimzob · 2010-09-28 · Original thread
The Butt-Ugly Fish Book has a great section on this:

In fact it's filled with great sections - go read it if you haven't.

gcv · 2010-03-23 · Original thread
After K&R, I highly recommend Peter van der Linden's Expert C Programming ( It's fun to read (yes, really), and you'll understand the language better for it. C is fairly quirky, and this book helps navigate those quirks.

For example, I bet most people who claim to "know" C can neither explain the difference between arrays and pointers, nor clarify where they cannot be used interchangeably. I was lucky to have read that book early on in my days of C, so I actually know the answer.

jonke · 2009-05-07 · Original thread
This is like a never ending issue. One way to start the path to a better practice of C is to read after you finished

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.