Practical Common Lisp
"Practical Common Lisp", an introduction to Common Lisp by Peter Seibel, available on the web at and also in dead-tree form from Apress.

It won a Productivity Award in the technical book category of the 2006 Jolt Product Excellence and Productivity Awards.

If you are new to Common Lisp, a great way to quickly peek into this world, is to work through the first three chapters of this book. The book's website has a "lisp in a box" [dead, but see Portacle] distribution ready for you and these chapters are completely online. Warning: Lisp is addictive and you may end up ordering this book after you have gotten your first dose. You have been warned.

Topics covered in this book

  • How do I install (and which) Lisp?
  • What does CL look like?
  • Walk me through several tutorials
  • Why is CL different?
  • What are these macros everyone is talking about?
  • How do I do normal modern programming tasks, like talking http or generating web pages?
  • How do I write portable cl code?
  • How do packages work?

Lisp in a box

Seibel has customized Matthew Danish and Mikel Evins' Lisp in a Box to give you a complete and standalone lisp environment. This includes pre-installed cl libraries such as cl-ppcre for Perl compatible regular expressions.

Once you start to gain some confidence with CL, you will want to install a fresh Common Lisp distribution, ASDF-INSTALL, etc. outside of the book's LispBox. The book's LispBox limits a few things to guarantee that the tutorials will all work with the book.

Practical Common Lisp - Distilled

An aide-mémoire for readers of Practical Common Lisp. This document attempts to summarise the core facilities of Common Lisp as presented by the technical chapters of the book, to help the reader when working through the practical chapters and beyond.

Document Online Tutorial book