Best Alvin Alexander books

Functional Programming, Simplified: (Scala Edition)

Alvin Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 34.95

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If you’ve had trouble trying to learn Functional Programming (FP), you’re not alone. In this book, Alvin Alexander — author of the Scala Cookbook and former teacher of Java and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) classes — writes about his own problems in trying to understand FP, and how he finally conquered it.

What he originally learned is that experienced FP developers are driven by two goals: to use only immutable values, and write only pure functions. What he later learned is that they have these goals as the result of another larger goal: they want all of their code to look and work just like algebra.

While that sounds simple, it turns out that these goals require them to use many advanced Scala features — which they often use all at the same time. As a result, their code can look completely foreign to novice FP developers. As Mr. Alexander writes, “When you first see their code it’s easy to ask, ‘Why would anyone write code like this?’”

Mr. Alexander answers that “Why?” question by explaining the benefits of writing pure functional code. Once you understand those benefits — your motivation for learning FP — he shares five rules for programming in the book:

  • All fields must be immutable (‘val’ fields).
  • All functions must be pure functions.
  • Null values are not allowed.
  • Whenever you use an ‘if’ you must also use an ‘else’.
  • You won’t create OOP classes that encapsulate data and behavior; instead you’ll design data structures using Scala ‘case’ classes, and write pure functions that operate on those data structures.

In the book you’ll see how those five, simple rules naturally lead you to write pure, functional code that reads like algebra. He also shares one more Golden Rule for learning:

  • Always ask “Why”?

Lessons in the book include:

  • How and why to write only pure functions
  • Why pure function signatures are much more important than OOP method signatures
  • Why recursion is a natural tool for functional programming, and how to write recursive algorithms
  • Because the Scala ‘for’ expression is so important to FP, dozens of pages explain the details of how it works
  • In the end you’ll see that monads aren’t that difficult because they’re a natural extension of the Five Rules
  • The book finishes with lessons on FP data modeling, and two main approaches for organizing your pure functions

As Mr. Alexander writes, “In this book I take the time to explain all of the concepts that are used to write FP code in Scala. As I learned from my own experience, once you understand the Five Rules and the small concepts, you can understand Scala/FP.”

Please note that because of the limits on how large a printed book can be, the paperback version does not include all of the chapters that are in the Kindle eBook. The following lessons are not in the paperback version:

  • Grandma’s Cookies (a story about pure functions)
  • The ScalaCheck lessons
  • The Type Classes lessons
  • The appendices

Because those lessons didn’ fit in the print version, they have been made freely available online.

(Alvin Alexander (alvinalexander.com) wrote the popular Scala Cookbook for O’Reilly, and also self-published two other books, How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary, and A Survival Guide for New Consultants.)

A Survival Guide for New Consultants

Alvin J Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 9.99

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Alvin Alexander worked as a consultant for over twenty years. He began at the bottom, working for a small salary plus the exciting promise of "performance incentives". Sadly, those incentives didn't come right away. In fact, they barely came at all during the first year. But he kept pushing on, and after working 90-hour weeks for 18-24 months, and making pretty much every mistake a consultant can make -- such as offering advice without knowing all the facts, or before anyone actually asked for his advice -- things got better. The short story is that he created his own consulting firm, grew his income to over $300,000 per year, sold his business, and "retired" before his 45th birthday. Here's how Mr. Alexander describes A Survival Guide for New Consultants: As I wrote this book, I kept thinking back to my first years as a consultant -- the lean years -- and asked, "Would this information have helped me?" I also thought about the employees I hired, and how I coached them to prepare for meetings and handle certain situations. If I thought a story told an important lesson, I included it here. In the end, this book is for any consultant with ambition. It’s written for the consultant who wants to be involved in the big decisions, the consultant who meets with clients and prospects to discuss their most challenging problems, the consultant who makes the big presentations, influences decision-makers, and has happy, long-term customers. It’s for the person who aspires to be a partner in a consulting firm, or who wants to run his own consulting business. Finally, with the summary sections ("cheat sheets") at the end of the book, you can also use this as a reference manual, such as reminding yourself of the important points the night before a big meeting. I hope you enjoy this book, and I hope it leads to a rewarding, fulfilling career. All the best, Al (Note: This book was originally published as a Kindle eBook under the name, "Zen & the Art of Consulting".)

Scala Cookbook: Recipes for Object-Oriented and Functional Programming

Alvin Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 16.47

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Save time and trouble when using Scala to build object-oriented, functional, and concurrent applications. With more than 250 ready-to-use recipes and 700 code examples, this comprehensive cookbook covers the most common problems you’ll encounter when using the Scala language, libraries, and tools. It’s ideal not only for experienced Scala developers, but also for programmers learning to use this JVM language.

Author Alvin Alexander (creator of DevDaily.com) provides solutions based on his experience using Scala for highly scalable, component-based applications that support concurrency and distribution. Packed with real-world scenarios, this book provides recipes for:

  • Strings, numeric types, and control structures
  • Classes, methods, objects, traits, and packaging
  • Functional programming in a variety of situations
  • Collections covering Scala's wealth of classes and methods
  • Concurrency, using the Akka Actors library
  • Using the Scala REPL and the Simple Build Tool (SBT)
  • Web services on both the client and server sides
  • Interacting with SQL and NoSQL databases
  • Best practices in Scala development

Hello, Scala: A swift introduction to a scalable programming language

Alvin Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 0

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In his latest book, Alvin Alexander, author of the Scala Cookbook and Functional Programming, Simplified, brings you a swift introduction to the Scala programming language.

In a little over 200 fast-paced pages, Mr. Alexander demonstrates that Scala is a beautiful, modern, expressive programming language. The book is broken down into 56 short chapters to help you easily find what you need. Lessons include:

- An introduction to Scala’s two types of variables, `val` and `var`
- Scala control structures, including powerful `for` expressions and `match` expressions
- An overview of Scala collections classes and methods
- Object-oriented programming (OOP), including features of Scala classes and methods
- Functional programming (FP), including pure functions, using functions as variables, case classes, match expressions, functional error handling, and more
- Modular programming with traits
- How to build Scala projects with SBT
- How to write TDD and BDD unit tests with ScalaTest
- Programming concurrency with Akka actors and Scala futures

To help get you started with Scala as fast as possible, the book shares many source code examples, including several open source Github projects that you can run immediately.

All examples in the book have been written with the latest Scala release (version 2.12), and represent 2018’s “best practices” for Scala programming.

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

Best price for this book: $ 21.56

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Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry―anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.

Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements.

Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole.

A Friends Fund Publication.

Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans

Alvin F. Poussaint

Best price for this book: $ 14.01

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Through stories (including their own), interviews, and analysis of the most recent data available, Dr. Alvin Poussaint and journalist Amy Alexander offer a groundbreaking look at 'posttraumatic slavery syndrome,' the unique physical and emotional perils for black people that are the legacy of slavery and persistent racism. They examine the historical, cultural, and social factors that make many blacks reluctant to seek health care, and cite ways that everyone from the layperson to the health care provider can help.

How I Sold My Business: a personal diary

Mr. Alvin J Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 9.99

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Alvin Alexander founded a computer consulting business in the basement of his home in the 1990s, grew it into a very successful twenty-person business, and then sold it ten years later. During the process of trying to sell his small business, he wrote many small notes before and after meetings, and those notes eventually became a diary of everything he went through. After the sale was completed, he published a portion of that diary on his website, HowISoldMyBusiness.com. The website quickly grew popular, with many comments like, “Thank you!”, “You helped me make money”, and “Please share more information.” After all that encouragement the book is finally here, including (a) an all-new “Lessons Learned” chapter, and (b) additional chapters on the five years that have passed since he sold his company. If you're thinking, “Should I sell my small business?”, or “How can I sell my company?”, this book is for you. It shares the “behind the scenes” secrets of the process of selling a business that you won’t find anywhere else. Because of everything that happened during the sales process, the book will probably also be very helpful for people interested in buying a business, and people who are partners in a business, such as LLC business partners. In the end, this book is an investment. Think of it this way: How much money would you be willing to spend to make thousands of additional dollars when you sell your business? If just one tip from this book makes you just a thousand dollars, it will still be one of the best investments you ever made.

Alvin and the Chipmunks Sight Words 12-Book Reading Program

Best price for this book: $ 30

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Staple Bound Publisher: Scholastic ASIN: B00HDOX7R4 Package Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.6 x 1.4 inches Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

Zen & the Art of Consulting

Alvin Alexander

Best price for this book: $ 0

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"A Survival Guide for New Consultants."

Alvin Alexander has worked as a consultant for over twenty years. He began at the bottom, working for a small salary plus the exciting promise of "incentives". Sadly, those incentives didn't come right away. In fact, they barely came at all during the first year.

But he kept pushing forward, and after working 90-hour weeks for 18-24 months, and making pretty much every mistake a consultant can make -- such as offering advice without knowing all the facts, or before anyone actually asked for his advice -- things got better. The short story is that he created his own consulting firm, grew his income to over $300,000 per year, sold his business, and "retired" before his 45th birthday.

Here's how Mr. Alexander describes Zen & the Art of Consulting:

As I wrote this book, I kept thinking back to my first years as a consultant -- the lean years -- and asked, "Would this information have helped me?" I also thought about the employees I hired, and how I coached them to prepare for meetings and handle certain situations. If I thought a story told an important lesson, I included it here.

In the end, this book is for any consultant with ambition. It’s written for the consultant who wants to be involved in the big decisions, the consultant who meets with clients and prospects to discuss their most challenging problems, the consultant who makes the big presentations, influences decision-makers, and has happy, long-term customers. It’s for the person who aspires to be a partner in a consulting firm, or who wants to run his own consulting business.

Finally, with the summary sections ("cheat sheets") at the end of the book, you can also use this as a reference manual, such as reminding yourself of the important points the night before a big meeting.

I hope you enjoy this book, and I hope it leads to a rewarding, fulfilling career.

All the best,
Al

Complications of Pediatric and Adult Spinal Surgery

Best price for this book: $ 154.76

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With contributions from more than 100 renowned authorities in the field, this reference compiles treatment recommendations and tips for a myriad of complications associated with nonoperative and operative management of various spinal pathologies in children and adults-providing expert guidance on complication identification, recognition, management, and prevention, as well as the legal and ethical aspects of contemporary spinal care.