Reviews and Testimonials of the Mastering Emacs book

  • 326 pages
  • Updated for Emacs 28
  • PDF & ePub
  • Continuously Updated
  • Available in English and Japanese
With the little I knew about emacs, I felt it had so much potential to help me get stuff done but the learning curve was really too much. With Mastering Emacs, I found a way to get up that curve in a way that allowed me to get the benefit quickly whilst not cutting corners in providing an in depth understanding. I would recommend it to anyone looking to quickly get the most from emacs. Simon Watson
This text solves a hard problem with teaching yourself emacs: Where should I start? H.G.M
There are a lot of tutorials and manuals for emacs, so why choose this book over them? Well, for starters, this is not a book about emacs as a cold static application, but a book about how to experience emacs as a living and dynamic system to achieve your goals, wether they are coding, writing a novel, or just taking notes. This book is not a mix of functions, commands and keybindings, but the condensed life experience of someone that has dabbled into the jungle of emacs, and comes back with dos, but no dont's, about how to better navigate your way to your destination. Its value comes from that accumulated experience, the fine grain explanation about the nuances of emacs, and all the real life advices that will help you to start your journey, whatever it may be. FJC, Information Security Engineer and aspiring author
This book has helped me immensely!
I would argue that this book is a must have for any user of any Emacsen - be they novice or learned "graybeard" alike! James H.
I've used Emacs for decades, and am comfortable with the sure knowledge that it has far more capabilities than I'll ever understand. This book unlocked a bunch of new tools for me, and clarified some muddied understandings. For a new user, it will provide a critical speed boost to realizing the potential of this wonderfully powerful, albeit quirky, creative environment. Martin Fowler, Chief Scientist, Thoughtworks
I’ve been using Emacs since 1997. Even though I’m a long time user, I still got a lot of value from reading “Mastering Emacs”. Mickey’s summary of “What’s new in 28.1” was invaluable for me, enabling me to test out many new features without having to do manual discovery - that alone is worth the price of the book! J. Bernstein
Beautifully written, concise, and fully up to date - a must for any Emacs user. Nick Higham
My experience with Emacs is (probably) a pretty common one: I used it at a surface level in college, moved on to IDEs/other editors, then came back and became addicted. Mastering Emacs was an eye opening read as it showed me the built-in functionality that I had missed when first learning Emacs. From the absolute beginner to the seasoned user, Mastering Emacs will teach you something and make you a better Emacs user. Essential reading. Alex M.
Mastering Emacs is by far the best resource to take your emacs knowledge to the next level. Mickey writes in a way that is brief and to the point, but still approachable for beginners. Even if you think you know everything you'll ever need to know about emacs, you'll still learn a lot from flipping through this book, and even more by going through it closely. This book helped me develop a better appreciation and understanding of the principles behind emacs, making it more of a joy to use and build tools for. Dany Haddad
Emacs is like an infinite-dimensional labyrinth of wonder. You can go anywhere and be sure to find something you didn’t know, but piecing it together to something coherent and practical is a different matter.
In his book “Mastering Emacs” Mickey Petersen guides us to both the essential and less known parts, and shows you how you can make your Emacs work even better for you, with guaranteed things to learn for both beginners and seasoned veterans.
A highly recommended book for almost any Emacs-user! J. Kjønigsen
I tried to learn Emacs after I started a LISP job but found it was slow & confusing. So I started a blank init.el & read Mastering Emacs over Christmas. It took a few months to get back up to speed but I've enjoyed years of editing since.
This book is a humble but powerful path for a newbie to build understanding of Emacs' concepts. Besides practical usage tips, it teaches important foundational knowledge & philosophy.
For anyone taking the Emacs plunge, this book is my GOTO recommendation. It's an excel starting|lengthpoint that assumes no prior knowledge & will empower you to customize your own workflow. Quest Yarbrough
As a long time Emacs user (> 30 years), I found great tips and insight...even on the basics! I highly recommend it to everyone. Howard Abrams
Mickey's right. No matter your level, you'll get something out of Mastering Emacs. Highly recommended to friends and colleagues. Álvaro Ramírez
Mastering Emacs is the single best book on Emacs that I know of. It tells you what you need to know, and what you didn't know you needed to know, and it does it clearly and comprehensibly. I am now on version 4 of this work which is updated regularly with each new major version. I find something new to try every time I pick it up.
This is a good book for helping the beginner to get started, and a great book for helping the more advanced user to discover new tools and opportunities. Britt Anderson
I found Master Emacs at the beginning of my Emacs journey. I'd read the documentation, many blog posts, but nothing was helping me actually understand the how & why of Emacs, and using it day-to-day, until I read Mastering Emacs. Now, I use Emacs every day and am very comfortable with it, thanks to this book James Hebden
I've been using Emacs for more than 20 years and Mastering Emacs opened my eyes to many capabilities I was unaware of or hadn't taken the time to properly understand. It's a great resource for folks new to Emacs and veterans alike, I highly recommend it if you have even a casual interest in Emacs. It's well-written, updated regularly, and full of explanations and examples of how to increase your mastery of this powerful platform. Matthew Ray
I think that Mastering Emacs is the easiest and clearest way to get started with Emacs. It's a very easy read and is super well structured. I read it cover to cover in one afternoon and couldn't put it down (well aside from when I need to free both hands to try some keybindings). Adrien Brochard
Mastering Emacs is a great book. I bought it to help with learning org-mode (an Emacs package). The first-class Emacs docs show you exactly what each command does. Mastering Emacs shows you how commands fit together — it’s an excellent combination. I purchased Mastering Emacs 5 years ago, and am still getting free updates with each major release of Emacs. If you like the posts on, then you’ll probably love the book. Jeffrey Smart, Ph.D, Los Angeles, California
I started using Emacs a year and a half ago by taking the 'Emacs pledge' ---no other editor until I would get comfortable with Emacs. Your book was there from the start, and the tremendously inspired chapter 2 'The Way of Emacs' alone is worth a whole manual. It's what gave me a taste of what Emacs can be, before I could experience it myself. The rest of the book is just the gold standard for this kind of resources: a thoughtful selection of topics, explained in a way that encourages the reader to explore on their own. Enrico Flor
Whenever I read about Emacs, and typically this was related to discussions involving other editors too, I thought it sounded so incredibly daunting. I actually put off even looking into Emacs for several years because of this. When this book came out I decided that I would give it a shot, especially because this book looked to be a way for even a complete novice to start learning. The thing that really blew me away about this book is how patient Mickey is with teaching how the systems work, why things work as they do, and how to train yourself alongside the books guidance to become comfortable with working in Emacs, even when you go in knowing absolutely nothing. I highly recommend this book, especially for absolute Emacs beginners like I was because it is one of the kindest introductions to a piece of software I can imagine. Louis Hansen
Emacs is the best and most flexible tool for personal productivity. Mastering Emacs is the best book about learning Emacs. Bar none. Carlo Fusco
Mastering Emacs is the best book about Emacs I know of. It is well suited for both beginners and experienced users of Emacs. Being a longtime Emacs developer, I still find new hints about Emacs again and again. Recommended for everybody who wants to dive deep into the Emacs universe. Michael Albinus, Emacs Tramp maintainer
Even after more than 20 years of using Emacs, the book Mastering Emacs gives me structured and new insights into the things I use daily. The book, as well as the web site, are mandatory resources for every active Emacs user. Alan Pavičić, software developer
Here's the reason I value Mastering Emacs above all other Emacs books and tutorials: when I re-read the book, I learn new things. Always. Every time. That's because, as my own mastery of Emacs has grown over the years. I'm able to understand discussions that were over my head, or I didn't appreciate on the previous go-round.
Emacs is not just for computer programmers, something I am not. It's great for business and project-management types, too. I admire "Mastering Emacs" because it puts a lot of emphasis on wrangling the keyboard and optimizing one’s personal editing workflow, what the book calls "tempo." As someone who writes for a living, this has hugely boosted my productivity at what I do all day long: type stuff.
Mickey updates the book with every new release of Emacs. In 2016, when I bought the first edition, it covered what it called "the upcoming next version of Emacs," which was Emacs 25. Now, six years later, the fourth edition of "Mastering Emacs" is up to Emacs 28.
I’ve seen each update to "Mastering Emacs" grow in length and depth, to stay abreast of the growth in Emacs itself. And each update is free – which is amazing -- after your initial purchase. Speaking for me, I can't think of any other investment where such a modest sum has yielded such outstanding continuing returns.
I learned about "Mastering Emacs", the book, by finding Mickey's blog through a Web search and studying the posts. So many things about Emacs began to click. If you like the articles on the Mastering Emacs website, you'll adore "Mastering Emacs" the book. Tom Davey, New York City, USA
I have been using Emacs intensely since 1990 and I have read much about it. Nevertheless, even after 30 years of experience, Mickey's book taught me many new and very useful things about Emacs. Mickey has skillfully organized the contents of this book to describe the concepts of Emacs in a compact form that elegantly takes the reader from beginner to expert level. I highly recommend this book. It is a pleasure to read. I believe it is the best book about Emacs you can get your hands on! Dr. Frank Ernst, Professor.
I have a humanities background and am anything but an accomplished programmer. But I got into using Emacs as my main text editor (using Markdown). *Mastering Emacs* was easy to follow, even as a beginner, but it also covers an extensive array of advanced techniques and tricks. If you want to understand Emacs but are feeling lost, this is an excellent guide. John Carter Wood
There is a real dearth of emacs writing at a level that informs the reader about possibilities and provides a clear sense of the "emacs-way" but does not bury and paralyze the reader in details of customization and complexity. Your writing is the only source I've discovered that is regularly successful in this goal. Thanks for the amazing work. Ryan Elliott
The great thing about this book is that it guides you through the whole Emacs universe like a good friend who is providing helpful explanations and giving you new ideas. As an advanced Emacs user, I always find it very helpful to (re-)read chapters of "Mastering Emacs" in order to remember forgotten features or discover new functionality that helps me organizing my digital workflows. Karl Voit
The ME book is an excellent book for grasping the general power that Emcas editor brings to you. I really enjoyed all the tips and tricks, so making it a soft path to me, a beginner-intermediate user. Thanks for condensing all your knowledge into this book, truly appreciate it. Leonardo Sandoval
This is the best introduction to Emacs there is. It takes a strongly pragmatic approach to learning Emacs, providing a much more solid foundation for a user to expand from than Emacs' own tutorial, or any set of blogs I've found. I personally used Emacs as my primary text editor in the late 90s and 2000s, took most of a decade off, and then picked it back up around 2020. I read Mastering Emacs and wished I had had such a guide 20 years earlier; it made me a much stronger user than I ever had been before. Thanks, Mickey! Rob Gonzalez
If you have even a passing interest in Emacs, then there is no better way to get started than this book. Covers all the essentials plus some! James Cook
Mastering Emacs fills an important gap left by the Emacs Manual. The manual is amazing as a reference to read more about specific topics but it's beyond intimidating to read as a whole. Mastering Emacs is more of a guided experience containing a bit of everything to form a solid foundation for further learning. Essentially years of Emacs experience and "know-how" written down in a pleasant to read and easy to digest format. Wojciech
I've been using emacs for almost 30 years now. Reading through _Mastering Emacs_ I found some things I never knew, many things I had forgotten, and even more that have been improved since I first started. This is a great book for all emacs users, from just getting started, to living in emacs for everything. Steve Downey
Emacs! If you have been using Emacs for a while and want to get to the next level, or if you are thinking about getting into Emacs and are looking for a dependable resource, look no further: Mastering Emacs is by far the best tool to learn all about Emacs. Unlike web articles that vary in quality and target disparate versions of Emacs, this book will plow through all the difficulties attendant to an infinitely configurable tool and will set you on the right path. There is too much to know about Emacs--this book is a curated guide that will teach you the fundamentals and give you all the confidence you need to navigate the immense world of Emacs. Best money I ever spent on a productivity tool, ever! Andres Moreno
It's a valuable resource for me when I need to learn about fundamental Emacs features. I'm far from being an expert for Emacs, but I can use Emacs daily without going insane anymore. Your book is doing a great job explaining the sometimes confusing Emacs concepts in an easy way to understand them. I recommend your book to everybody who wants to master Emacs in the long run. Ingo Richter
"Mastering Emacs" by Mickey Petersen is an absolute revelation for anyone interested in becoming fluent with Emacs. This book acts as an in-depth tutorial for the Emacs environment, covering topics from the very first stages to more complicated aspects.
The chapter on "Exploring Emacs" under the heading "The Practicals of Emacs" in this book stands out to me as one of its highlight portions. Although it might seem like a simple topic, this book's investigation of Emacs is brilliantly explained and has helped me unlock the Emacs' full potential.
Since reading "Mastering Emacs" my proficiency has improved by a remarkable 30%. Mickey has a knack for explaining complex concepts in a way that is not only easy to grasp but also immediately applicable. The book doesn’t just tell you how to use Emacs, it shows you how to wield it effectively Adrian Sanchez