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This is a general problem with asking masters in some discipline about the best way to learn - they almost always tend to recommend simply doing what they did, but they do not say "I did x, y and z", but "x, y and z are the best way to learn" and what is worse some people actually take those recommendations seriously.

The problem with this is twofold: first, the times are always changing and yesterdays path is seldom adequate today anymore and second, progress is made by the younger generations not having to repeat the mistakes of the older ones. So, if you want good recommendations for learning, ask the people who actually teach others on a daily basis. I think 2-3 good courses in programming languages can compress a lot of the knowledge you would gain following this recommendation in a much shorter period - "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs", "Concepts, Techniques and Models of Computer Programming" and "Programming Language Pragmatics" are three excellent textbooks that go in this direction.

But then, if you strive for mastery, and I think that's what Dr. Joe Armstrong is interested in, it is nothing exceptional to spent 15 years learning.

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