Cheap Perl books == false economy?

Tom Hukins tom at
Sun Jul 12 14:05:22 PDT 2009

On Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 01:29:04PM +0100, Andy Selby wrote:
> I found "The Complete Reference Perl" on eBay for 99p
> But its for Perl 5.6
> is it worth it?
> would it teach me outdated practices?
> should I, instead, buy new at full price?

Andy, nice question.

These all look like nice, easy yes/no questions, but I think you've
hit on some interesting aspects of Perl.

Firstly, why do you think you want to buy the book?  What do you
expect to get from it?

Different books suit different people at different stages of
programming.  Why not think up what an ideal Perl book for you would
cover and tell us about it?  I've not read the particular book you
mention and I don't know exactly what you might want from it, although
I've got a rough idea.

I'm happy to talk about this on Tuesday if I'm not fast asleep..

One of my favourite books on Perl is "Effective Perl Programming".  I
read it when I was in my early twenties.  So it predates Perl 5.6.  I
remember when this was all fields and I had my own teeth.  But it's a
really good book (in certain circumstances - the trick with books is
to figure out what you want from them).

I've seen Perl books published recently, littered with errors, that I
wouldn't recommend to anyone.  Ever.  But they might tell you a thing
or two about some of Perl's recent features.  So what?

Then again, older Perl books can't consider newer modules (as
mentioned by oliver on IRC), so there's some merit in newer books.

I guess I'd figure out what you want to learn, then ask which book
might help achive that rather than buying stuff just because it
happens to be cheap on ebay at the moment.


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