When comparing The C Programming Language (AKA: K&R) vs For Dummies, the Slant community recommends The C Programming Language (AKA: K&R) for most people. In the question“What are the best beginner's books for programming?” The C Programming Language (AKA: K&R) is ranked 3rd while For Dummies is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose The C Programming Language (AKA: K&R) is:
This book is so well known that it's affectionately called "K & R", after the authors. It's been cited in many other books and is familiar to most, if not all, CS students.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Well known classic
This book is so well known that it's affectionately called "K & R", after the authors.
It's been cited in many other books and is familiar to most, if not all, CS students.
Pro It's excerpted from the idea of its creators
This book is written by Dennis Ritchie, who was one of the main people behind the development and design of C and UNIX.
Pro Creative, challenging exercises
The challenges at the end of each chapter do a great job of requiring many of the skills learned up to that point. Completing the challenges is a great way of insuring you understand the material.
Compared to beginner books of the same language by another publisher, For Dummies books are usually the more affordable option.
Pro Great for complete beginners
For someone who has no prior programming experience, these books will take you through the fundamentals of programming at a reasonable pace.
Con Not for beginners
Assumes familiarity not only with programming concepts but some C language specifics.
Con Teaches bad style
The K&R style works for old Unix mainframe command-line programs that exit after a simple task and leave the cleanup to the OS; where input is only from trusted experts; and most functions are only called internally to the program. The environment is very different today. This style will get your server owned by hackers, or crash it due to a memory leak, etc. You will have to unlearn what you've learned from this book to use C correctly in the real world today.
Con Out of Date
Some commands and practices are out of date, so errata and googling is needed while going through the book.
The "For Dummies" series covers a wide variety of languages. However the style is largely inconsistent across the different books, so it's recommended that you look up reviews for that specific book first.