Learning Common Lisp

Many online sources say that Lisp is a “programmable programming language.” Defining my own macros, being creative, and all that sounded a lot like the Art of Problem Solving spirit. So I decided to learn it. I’m reading Practical Common Lisp by Peter Seibel. The examples make things clear. I can’t say much else because I’m still a novice.

From “If programming languages were cars…”:

Lisp: looks like a car, but with enough tweaking you can turn it into a pretty effective airplane or submarine.

[from Paul Tanimoto:]

Lisp: At first it doesn’t seem to be a car at all, but now and then you spot a few people driving it around. After a point you decide to learn more about it and you realize it’s actually a car that can make more cars. You tell your friends, but they all laugh and say these cars look way too weird. You still keep one in your garage, hoping one day they will take over the streets.

And from Paul Graham, author of On Lisp, another ostensibly good book:

Lisp code looks weird. But those parentheses are there for a reason. They are the outward evidence of a fundamental difference between Lisp and other languages.

For good measure, other entries from “If programming languages were cars…”:

Python is a great beginner’s car; you can drive it without a license. Unless you want to drive really fast or on really treacherous terrain, you may never need another car.

C++ is a souped-up version of the C racing car with dozens of extra features that only breaks down every 250 miles, but when it does, nobody can figure out what went wrong.

I hope I’m getting somewhere with all this.

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