I still have Volumes 1, 2 and 3...gathering dust.
I first started programming in 1962, on IBM 1401 (dearly loved it's variable-length memory management) and IBM 704 (briefly, before it was replaced with a 709, then the 7090). I used to take a massive printout of the IBSYS operating system for the latter to understand how real people wrote code to achieve an outcome; that was back when programmers still felt it was essential to write comments to explain what/why that specific code was there, and its' purpose). At the same time, I was a junior member of a group of "code sharers" at C-E-I-R; we evolved a punched-card deck for the IBM 1401 that became the basis of every program we subsequently wrote (I ran into the deck, called "CELIB"--for CEIR Library--several years later in a consulting gig in Australia, where they'd been using it for more than a decade after originally getting as part of a contract delivery...which my name in some of the comments). I was also engaged in running huge "linear programming" models on the 7090, such as one that forecast the likely economic consequences to the U.S. of removing the tobacco industry (i.e., abolishing the manufacture and sale of products), but the code was written by my more mathemathically endowed superiors, Eli Hellerman and William Orchard-Hays and you may know it as LP90, which was posted to the SHARE library at IBM; I just wrote some utilities.).
So, by the time Knuth published, I was an experienced programmer, and I devoured his books with interest. Like many programmers and professionals in allied fields, there were lessons to glean (like, "Wow, that's clever," or "Hmm, that's an interesting way to look at that problem"). I'm sure they influenced me, but it was not a "cookbook" to me. After I read them, they went on a shelf, and moved from home to home, and they still reside in a prominent place on my bookshelf, but gathering dust.
Programmers, today (especially those under 35 years of age) seem to eschew the idea that anybody else's code could be educational, and I find that an odd and juvenile approach to the world. We must stand on the shoulders of giants, and I still, to this day, learn new techniques and insights (and folly) in others' code. But, I got here (now aged 75, and still writing the odd bit of code; even CMD language) by learning from others, for no ONE of knows as much as ALL of us.