How did the work of Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011) influence you as a programmer? Of course, there are the obvious things (C, Unix). For me, the biggest thing (other than coding in C, on Unix, for years) was the writing style in The C Programming Language ("K&R"), which was remarkably terse and yet very clear.
Did you know that very early versions of C used
i =- 2; as the syntax for subtracting 2 from i, instead of
i -= 2? And the trouble of course is that then
i =- 2 would have a different meaning from
i = -2, a dangerous whitespace sensitivity. And if you find yourself nodding along with me, remembering this old syntax which never actually saw the light of day outside of Bell Labs, it's because it's reported at the very end of K&R, and you read that because K&R was so dang short that you ran out of things to read before you ran out of patience with the book, and that in itself is a testament to the bold, clean simplicity of the C language.