Programming pearls is essentially a collection of column articles written by author in the 80s. Each article delivers an insight to the practical problem every programmer will meet in their daily job. It differ from the introduction to algorithm that programming pearls does not aim at to providing a complete list of data structures and generic algorithms. On the contrary, it shows people how to code smart after spotting the right problem. It also provides some interesting discussions about tuning codes. I'd say if you need a book to sharpen you skill, you need it. And it is light and small. You can read anytime anywhere you like.