edit: lo and behold!
btw, "Lo and Behold (Reveries of the Connected World)" is the name of a documentary by Werner Herzog about the history of the Internet. "LO" was the first text sent on UCLA's Internet test. They probably intended to enter "LOGIN" but the network crashed. :)
I was sitting in Steve's office when Lynn Takahashi,. Steve's assistant, announced Knuth's arrival. Steve bounced out of his chair, bounded over to the door and extended a welcoming hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Professor Knuth," Steve said. "I've read all of your books."
"You're full of shit," Knuth responded.
 - http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story...
Further, Donald Knuth, as is pointed out in another link on this thread, is quite humble and polite and unlikely to have called anyone full of shit.
This is uninteresting and very likely wrong. Let's not post junk like this.
Just off the top of my head... He lied to Woz about being paid to develop break out and stole money from him to go to India; He presented essentially a block of wood as the finished, functioning iPhone in 2008-ish; oh, and he denied paternity of his daughter Lisa as in "I am not the father" even after a paternity test. The last one seems pretty outrageous.
I'm not convinced he viewed himself as outright lying; He probably had seen Knuth's books and in his brain that meant he had read and understood them in their entirety.
So maybe don't be so quick to dismiss this as junk. It's a pretty innocuous example but completely inline with his behavior.
TAOCP is in my opinion like the Bible. If you've "read" it, you probably didn't study the begats* and skimmed it out of order quite a bit.
* e.g. the fold-out charts in the tape sorting section
However, this is not in the modern editions, as apparently even the mainframe folks don't sort on tape any more.
(I am keeping the old set for nostalgia, and read/reference the newer volumes.)
Three years later, while talking to Don at a picnic, he said, "When I first met you I couldn't tell if you were really smart or really stupid." :-) He thought that being part of the original Java team would be the most exiting place to be. Then a couple of years later (2001, post dot com crash) he told me he had decided I had made a pretty smart choice, all things considered. That was a good day.
I have a special respect for people who are both brilliant and humble, and Knuth is my poster person for that.
Knuth is more like the Yoda of CS. What is SV really? He is so far away from all the SV excesses - greed is good, VC shenanigans, founder hubris, drinking cool-aid, becoming new defacto destination for MBAs instead of Finance, FANG mania and worshipping, Leetcode grinding to get into FANGs and their brethren to chase insane comps, starry eyed and naive entrepreneurs who want to change the world
Where does any of this overlap with Knuth. Lot of pirates in SV. Yoda like figure - I can't even think of one. If tweets are any indication, I would nominate Naval and PG as Yoda's of angel-funded/pre-series-A start-up landscape.
That's precisely the point: He's the icon of the ideals that SV claims to espouse - but has obviously long since deserted.
That's why he deserves to be called Yoda.
I've learned about Donald Knuth and TAOCP about 22-23 years ago. Since then, I have dreamed of collecting one check and framing it on a wall in perpetuity.
"Intelligence: Finding an error in a Knuth text. Stupidity: Cashing that $2.56 check you got."
The other was a key part of the MWC story. Bob called up Knuth asking if he knew of any bright programmers and Steve had been a masters student of Knuth's.
I remember working in an Internet cafe and in the evenings out of boredom would read Knuth. I used to visit uni libraries and hunker down with TAOCP for a few hours until cramp, physical and mental, became too painful. Oh my golly what a privilege.
These are the tablets of our age. You'll note these tomes are granted the only definite article in English.
But mainly the thoroughness. Every path is an avenue of thought in this vast mapping of computation. It's always graceful, terse, and full of pleasure. The guy can carve candyfloss with a jackhammer and weave a mountain out spider's web.
Gates famously said anyone who'd read the books would get an interview. Yeah! "So what about ..., pretty lovely eh?"
And he's still going strong. A true hero.
I wonder what he thinks about HOTT... any clues? A quick ddg didn't show anything :(