clean code book cover

Clean Code review: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin

In this Clean Code review, you’ll discover the book’s features, price, feedback from other programmers and more.

TLDR: Clean Code review

📚 Clean Code is a 420+ page book that shows you how to transform yourself into a code craftsman.

⚓ Clean Code features principles, patterns, and practices of clean code.

♨️ The code snippets are in Java. (But you don’t need to be a Java developer to understand the lessons.)

Who is Robert C. Martin (aka Uncle Bob)?

“Uncle Bob” is the nickname given to software engineer Robert C. Martin. He got his start in 1970 and is considered a software expert. He’s also credited with developing numerous software design principles, including SOLID.

His other books include:

You are reading this book for two reasons. First, you are a programmer. Second, you want to be a better programmer. Good. We need better programmers.

“Uncle Bob” Martin in Clean Code

Despite the high quality of Martin’s other books, Clean Code is widely considered his best.

Main topics in the book include:

  • Telling the difference between good and & bad code 
  • The process for writing good code
  • Transforming bad code into good code
  • Creating good names, objects, classes and functions
  • “Code smells”
  • Formatting code for optimal readability
  • Implementing error handling yet not obscuring code logic 
  • Unit testing and TDD (test-driven development).

Uncle Bob writes succinctly and insightfully. For example, on explaining rules about functions, he states:

The first rule of functions is that they should be small. The second rule of functions is that they should be smaller than that.

“Uncle Bob” Martin
Unambiguous Names page from Clean Code by Robert C Martin
Lesson on Names from “Smells and Heuristics” chapter in Clean Code

Is Clean Code outdated?

There is the occasional Clean Code review that has commented that the book has not aged well.

True, some Java code snippets are certainly starting to show their age.

However, the non-coding parts are really where the value is. The code simply emphasizes the point he’s trying to make.

Further, not all the code is outdated. So while the “outdated code” critique may be valid in some parts, it doesn’t apply to the whole book.

And honestly, the first few few non-code chapters are worth the book’s price.

Remember, these are practices you will be using for the rest of your coding career.

What other programmers are saying about the book

Clean Code gets an average of 4.6 stars on Amazon from well over 2,000 reviews.

“Every programmer regardless of experience should read this book.”

For many programmers, the book is a revelation.

For example, this programmer has been in the industry for nearly 20 years. Despite this person’s experience, they still found it insightful.

In their Clean Code review, Deal Stealer writes:

Another Clean Code review simply states:

Profoundly changed how I approach coding. . .Overall this is a great book that I recommend to programmers at all levels. 


Is Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin worth it?

All in all, Clean Code stands in a class by itself.

First, the book is a complete collection of Martin’s most valuable coding insights. Having spent decades in the software industry, his knowledge base is expansive.

Second, Clean Code focuses largely upon daily/regular coding practices. This includes:

  • naming conventions
  • formatting
  • functions
  • comments
  • and more.

Third, the book appeals to all skill levels. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be a Java developer to read it.

To illustrate: the first chapter consists of prominent developers sharing what their idea of clean code is.

For example, Bjarne Stroustrup (inventor of C++) and Ward Cunningham (inventor of Wiki) both have cameos.

And despite its 2009 publication date, the most important parts of the book are also the most timeless.

Who should read Clean Code?

According to the book description, Clean Code is appropriate for:

  • Developers
  • Software engineers
  • Project managers
  • Team leads
  • System analysts

How much does it cost?

Clean Code costs around $42 for paperback and $28.79 for Kindle. Note, these prices are subject to change.

Conclusion: Clean Code review

In summary, Clean Code by Robert C. Martin (“Uncle Bob”) is a must-have book for any software developer.

Despite the book’s code samples written in Java, nearly all levels of programmers can benefit. Even if you’ve never touched a line of Java, there are dozens of pages filled with valuable advice.

With Clean Code, you’re challenged to upgrade the way you approach code. In other words, this book is for anyone who wants to simply create better software.

Lastly, before investing in Clean Code, review your goals as a developer. Do you want to write better code? Build better software? If yes, this book may be the ideal choice.

Enjoy this Clean Code review? Check out our next coding book: Refactoring By Martin Fowler: Improving the Design of Existing Code (2nd Edition) Book Review