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Edited to incorporate @Craig Sefton's suggestions.

About a book that I admire, I wrote in an SE computer-programming group:

The material seems old -- well, it is old -- because it's been around for long and, while by no means trivial, is well understood. A solution you can lift is published in W. Richard Stevens's superb and unparalleled book (read "bible"), Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, Second Edition. The book is the rare treasure that's clear, concise, and complete; its every page gives real, immediate value.

In the emboldened phrase, I want to convey that the book is in contrast to other 1200-page doorstops because it has no fluff, no extraneous or off-topic matter. Almost every other programming book should be of 256 pages; this book justifies its length on every page. So:

  • Should I even try to include that idea? Maybe I should just let the contrast go and talk about the book itself.
  • If so, how can I do it concisely? I'm afraid that too many words will bore the reader and weaken the contrast.
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  • 2
    this is a great example of what a critique question should be: specific!
    – justkt
    Apr 15, 2011 at 12:28
  • @NeilFein what's with all the sudden edits to old questions? May 2, 2012 at 8:14
  • @NeilFein Oh are you reviving a ton of critique-type questions for some reason? May 2, 2012 at 8:14
  • @NeilFein OH you got rid of the Critique tag. Okay. I'll stop now. May 2, 2012 at 8:15

2 Answers 2

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Well, I think you've already used the word I would use in your question: concise. I would also perhaps split the overall sentence into two lines. A possible suggestion:

A solution you can lift is published in W. Richard Stevens's superb and unparalleled book (read "bible"), Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, Second Edition. It is one of those rare books that is clear and concise, which gives every page real and immediate value.

Edit: Based on the update to the question, I think including the idea is necessary. Concise and clear programming books are invaluable, so that's a big strength. Don't worry about boring the reader; you'll only do that if your review isn't ... umm ... clear and concise. Oh, and I would probably drop either tangible, or real, since they essentially mean the same thing (I've edited my recommendation above to reflect this).

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  • @CS -- yes, that's right, thanks. I'll edit the Q to incorporate your good idea. Apr 15, 2011 at 10:19
  • @CS -- right, ditto. Apr 15, 2011 at 10:30
  • @CS -- the "tangible" was there just for scansion, anway, so to dump that word is an improvement. Apr 15, 2011 at 10:34
  • @Pete Wilson - Not sure about the usage of "correct"; it seems redundant. If the book was incorrect, it wouldn't be such a good resource. This could work: The book is one of those rare treasures that is clear, concise, and complete, giving every page real and immediate value. Apr 15, 2011 at 10:36
  • @Craig Sefton -- Thanks. And now I'll give the thing a rest until later. I'll take another look then. Apr 15, 2011 at 10:53
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Okay, I really like your 1200-page doorstop comment. That's not boring, and it's evocative.

Can you use that?

This is a big book, but unlike 1200-page doorstops, this book justifies its length. It is the rare treasure that's clear, concise, and complete; its every page gives real, immediate value.

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  • Thanks! I'll try to work that figure in. Maybe "10-pound" is better than "1200-page." What do you think? Apr 17, 2011 at 13:01
  • I'd probably stick with page count, but either is good. :) Apr 17, 2011 at 21:05

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