Vainolo's Blog

Book Review – The Passionate Programmer

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The Pragmatic Programmer was a book that had a great impact on my view of programming. I read it after having programmed for 6 years, and the book just put names on so many things I had felt and done during this time. It was like the time when I was studying my B.Sc, I had a good friend who was really interested in the same topics as me and we would discuss theoretical computer science on my terrace all night. I read this book and understood that I was not special, (some would say this is bad, but I think it is actually good not being special) there are many programmers out there that feel that things are not right and we should start changing how we work (a favorite from the book is “programming by coincidence“, which many web-copy-paste coders do all the time and that is why there are so many problems with software.

So I was expecting a great deal from The Passionate Programmer. I have to say that although the book is really good, I was a bit disappointed. This book is less about technology and more about a state of mind. More philosophical than concrete. More about business and less about the art of programming. I don’t mean to say that the book is bad, but it is not a book about passionate programmers. It is a book about programmers that want to grow, love what they do, earn money doing it and be happy. Many of the themes proposed in the book are relevant for all fields of work, from music (the author is a saxophone player) to many kinds of entrepreneurship, to being a good engineer in many fields, and even outside engineering most of the book is relevant if you want to be better than the rest. I would rename it to “the passionate career person” or something like that. There are people out there that are passionate about programming regardless of pay. Think Linus Torvalds, think the original Apache Web Server developer. I would have liked to read how they think, how the do things, what triggers their passion.

Still, the best and most surprising part of the book is on page 95, which says that in order to get paid for you passion, you have to work! what nonsense :-). But seriously, the book has many good tips for any person who is passionate about what he does, and for programmers there are even more guidelines on how to improve your career, get the job you want and earn better.

If you like my reviews (or not), and you want to continue supporting my extreme reading habits (I think that I am currently finishing one book each week, reading about 2/3 books at the same time), please purchase either The Pragmatic Programmer or The Passionate Programmer from amazon. I’ll get a small percentage, but every bit counts.

Written by vainolo

December 6th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

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