K and R are Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie. Their book, The C Programming Language, Second Edition, is still one of the most highly regarded of tomes discussing the C language, even though it's at least twenty years old and at one centimeter's thickness probably the thinnest of books about C. It is from this book that the holy brace style of 1TBS is derived.

One (though hardly the only) remarkable thing about the K&R book is indeed its thinness; it is a great book not despite, but rather (in part) because of its brevity. It is the epitome of pithiness, and not at all in any negative sense, either -- the book packs a huge amount of information, but it presents its truths simply, without decoration or repetition or mind-numbing chapter-end summaries. It is a book to be read carefully, and several times, because if you miss or aren't ready for any of its many pieces of keen advice when you pass over them, you don't get a second chance.

The thinness of K&R is of course in marked contrast to just about every other "modern" programming book on the market. (The briefest of glances at the software section of a technical bookstore reveals thicker and thicker books on narrower and narrower topics.)

Rather amusingly, a year or two ago Prentice-Hall started printing K&R on thicker paper, so that (although it contains the exact same number of pages) it now doesn't get quite so lost on the shelves next to all the bloatware books...

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