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I think the article does a good job of conveying what Lisp is to someone who just can't get it. I agree, however, that it is a bit on the verbose side. I think that at least a third of the text could have been removed without taking out any content. Heck, some of the content could have probably been removed without taking away from the point the author is trying to convey.

To make the analogy even more succinct, I will first ask you a different question. Have you switched to Firefox? It wasn't long ago that I went from using IE6 to using Firefox. Before too long, between tabs, quick searches, customizable toolbars, incremental page search, and more, I found myself saying, "Wow, this is what browsing should be. How did I ever use IE?" Lisp is the same way.

I disagree with the article's conclusion, "Learning Lisp is an uphill battle." If you have a good reference, it is not hard to start programming in Lisp. You could learn Lisp by writing trivial code in about the same amount of time it would take to learn C or Java. In fact, your code would probably be structured in much the same way. Once you've learned enough Lisp, however, and once you get to the chapter on macros (of whatever Lisp reference you're using), something will click. Then you will realize that you have been programming all wrong all along, and you will instantly rewrite everything you've ever done in one red-eyed night. The next morning, you will be reborn.

But seriously, if you really want to learn Lisp, drop the $40 (or whatever it costs at the moment) on ANSI Common Lisp; it's a great read. Once you plow through that and are hungry for more, look for On Lisp or Practical Common Lisp; both of them are available online.

If it wasn't for my classes with their requirements to program in C++ or Java, I never would have looked back after learning Lisp. I think any good programmer who gives Lisp an honest try will feel the same way.




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