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I have taught or taken three Algorithms courses from this same text and not covered everything in it. This is a great text for a first introduction into algorithms for undergraduates, a great text for a number of different upper level/graduate courses, and a great reference for the professional.
The subject matter is well chosen, well organized, and extremely well presented. The material is hard. There is no way around the fact that any introduction to algorithms will cause you to stretch your brain, but CLR presents everything in a clear way that you can follow.
The exercises progress from reasonable to very difficult. The more difficult exercises sometime include as much learning as the text. If you ever use this book, go to Cormen's website for an explanation of his bad jokes. This stuff is much easier if you can keep your sense of humor.
Lastly, the pseudo code is presented in a consistent matter as is the nomenclature. Apparently the pseudo code is presented so well that some of the IEEE publications are considering making CLR pseudo code the standard for publication.
If this sounds like a glowing fan letter, it is. Buy this book. Buy it in hard cover because it is NOT going to go out of style.
PS: Buy the third edition. Some chapters are very much clearer than in the second edition. I have both but never even open my second edition.
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