Computer Science Distilled was a very thorough book, bringing a wide range of topics together in a very manageable format. He covers everything from Big-O notation to recursion to data structures, all in short digestible chunks, organized in a well-thought-out manner. He also suggests resources at the end of each chapter for those whose interest was piqued; all of the ones I checked out were excellent, so his curation was on point. While I was already familiar with all the topics in the book, everything was a very helpful review for me and I think things were presented in a clear enough way to be helpful even to those just looking for a quick introduction. The book is probably more of a teaser for those curious about computer science, though, rather than an in-depth exploration. It’s simply too short of a work to have a chance to really get deep into anything. At times that was frustrating — chapters frequently ended right as things were starting to come back to me, so I think the pace might be a little demanding for someone just getting into the subject.
I’d recommend this book both for those in technical fields looking for a brief review, and to others who are interested in getting a quick dose of computer science. My favorite section was probably that of strategy, as it covered a set of topics that I still struggle with in a very manageable way. I usually refrain from using things like recursion and memoization in my programs, just because I find them a bit confusing and so don’t want to have to maintain anything written with them. But this book really broke the topics down well and offered some good resources for follow-up, so maybe I can get over that hurdle now. The book was also written in a very fun style, with lots of color and even emoji throughout. There were plenty of diagrams and a scattering of comics to liven up the read; it was a rather light treatment of a set of topics not usually known for their levity. It’s a very enjoyable way to spend a few hours, and you’ll come away a bit more informed about a subject so critical in our modern world.
In summary, it’s an amazing book! I really admire Filho for putting together such a tidy, informative work on computer science. It covers a broad set of topics in a very approachable way, and is entertaining and illuminating while it does it.