On Lisp is a comprehensive study of advanced Lisp techniques, with bottom-up programming as the unifying theme. It gives the first complete description of macros and macro applications. The book also covers important subjects related to bottom-up programming, including functional programming, rapid prototyping, interactive development, and embedded languages. The final chapter takes a deeper look at object-oriented programming than previous Lisp books, showing the step-by-step construction of a working model of the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS).

As well as an indispensable reference, On Lisp is a source of software. Its examples form a library of functions and macros that readers will be able to use in their own Lisp programs.