( learning-lisp )

Lisp is incredibly easy to learn, little kids quickly pick up the lispy graphics language Logo. Lisp's ease of learning is especially true if it's your FIRST programming language as shown by MIT's traditional teaching of Scheme to every undergrad.

This is a far from complete list of all available resources, it is targeted to teaching LISP for beginners and developers with previous experience in other languages. For the most part advanced topics are not represented here but if there is something you feel would be a good fit, please contact us.

Understanding Lisp

  • "The Little Schemer" (Amazon) hand-downs this book is probably the best way to think in lisp. Part of the brilliance is that it assumes you know nothing more than English. Don't let the title fool you, the latest edition supports Scheme and Common Lisp. Clojure support is compliments of Emanon's clojure examples. Here are some hints on using it with the highly respected Racket.


Common Lisp

  • Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computing by David Touretzky is a great starter especially for those without previous programming experience.
  • ANSI Common Lisp by Paul Graham is great way to learn Common Lisp.
  • On Lisp by Paul Graham is a true classic. This is a more advanced book that contains one of the best treatments of macros.
  • Practical Common Lisp (Amazon) by Peter Seibel "Practical Common Lisp is a solid introductory text to Common Lisp for people with previous programming experience, and is sufficiently no-nonsense that even relatively experienced lisp programmers will benefit from it." - N. Siivola
  • Land of Lisp, Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time! (Amazon) by Conrad Barski "The first incarnation of Lisp was discovered by John McCarthy over 50 years ago, so it's difficult to imagine that a book on the subject bringing a fresh perspective, but Land of Lisp pulls it off in spades. The book manages to carve its own unique niche in the Lisp book landscape through a masterful blend of cartoons, game development examples, interesting prose, and a highly sharpened whit." - Fogus
  • Basic Lisp Techniques by David Cooper Although written with Allegro Common Lisp in mind 90% of the 100 page book is applicable to all implementations and is a good introduction to learning Common Lisp.
  • Loving Lisp, the Savy Programmer's Secret Weapon by Mark Watson
  • Successful Lisp by David Lamkins is a good way to learn Common Lisp if you already have programming experience with other languages.
  • COMMON LISP: An Interactive Approach by Stuart C. Shapiro
  • Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming by Peter Norvig



Racket, a superset of Scheme is compatible with many of the Scheme books and is one of the best development environments ever designed.

Simple Development Environments

Here are a few easy to get started development environments that work in Windows, Mac and Linux. The aim of these is simplicity and not speed/configurability or any of the other dozens of reasons where other products shine.

Clojure Clooj is a free IDE written in Clojure itself, all it requires is Java.

Common Lisp LispWorks is a proprietary environment with a liberal license and few limitations in the Personal Edition. Multi-threaded 32/64bit customizable IDE sporting a debugger and object inspector.

Scheme and Racket Racket includes Scheme-mode and is a great free environment with debugger and stepper.

LispNYC is a nonprofit unincorporated association dedicated to the advocacy and advancement of Lisp-based software and development technologies such as Common Lisp, Clojure and Scheme.

We focus on education, outreach, regular monthly meetings and development projects.

Meetings are the second Tuesday of every month, are free and open to all.

Providing parentheses to NYC since 2002