Start reading Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming

Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming [Kindle Edition]

Peter Seibel
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £23.99
Kindle Price: £12.68 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £11.31 (47%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £12.68  
Kindle Edition, 16 Sep 2009 £12.68  
Paperback £23.99  
Kindle Summer Sale: Over 500 Books from £0.99
Have you seen the Kindle Summer Sale yet? Browse selected books from popular authors and debut novelists, including new releases and bestsellers. Learn more

Product Description

Product Description

Peter Seibel interviews 15 of the most interesting computer programmers alive today in Coders at Work, offering a companion volume to Apress’s highly acclaimed best-seller Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston. As the words “at work” suggest, Peter Seibel focuses on how his interviewees tackle the day-to-day work of programming, while revealing much more, like how they became great programmers, how they recognize programming talent in others, and what kinds of problems they find most interesting.

The complete list was 284 names. Having digested everyone’s feedback, we selected 15 folks who’ve been kind enough to agree to be interviewed:

  • Frances Allen: Pioneer in optimizing compilers, first woman to win the Turing Award (2006) and first female IBM fellow
  • Joe Armstrong: Inventor of Erlang
  • Joshua Bloch: Author of the Java collections framework, now at Google
  • Bernie Cosell: One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMPs and a master debugger
  • Douglas Crockford: JSON founder, JavaScript architect at Yahoo!
  • L. Peter Deutsch: Author of Ghostscript, implementer of Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1
  • Brendan Eich: Inventor of JavaScript, CTO of the Mozilla Corporation
  • Brad Fitzpatrick: Writer of LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, and Perlbal
  • Dan Ingalls: Smalltalk implementor and designer
  • Simon Peyton Jones: Coinventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler
  • Donald Knuth: Author of The Art of Computer Programming and creator of TeX
  • Peter Norvig: Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI
  • Guy Steele: Coinventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five, currently working on Fortress
  • Ken Thompson: Inventor of UNIX
  • Jamie Zawinski: Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker

What you’ll learn

How the best programmers in the world do their jobs!

Who this book is for

Programmers interested in the point of view of leaders in the field. Programmers looking for approaches that work for some of these outstanding programmers.

Table of Contents

  1. Jamie Zawinski
  2. Brad Fitzpatrick
  3. Douglas Crockford
  4. Brendan Eich
  5. Joshua Bloch
  6. Joe Armstrong
  7. Simon Peyton Jones
  8. Peter Norvig
  9. Guy Steele
  10. Dan Ingalls
  11. L Peter Deutsch
  12. Ken Thompson
  13. Fran Allen
  14. Bernie Cosell
  15. Donald Knuth

About the Author

Peter Seibel is a serious developer of long standing. In the early days of the Web, he hacked Perl for Mother Jones and Organic Online. He participated in the Java revolution as an early employee at WebLogic which, after its acquisition by BEA, became the cornerstone of the latter's rapid growth in the J2EE sphere. He has also taught Java programming at UC Berkeley Extension. He is the author of Practical Common LISP from Apress.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4080 KB
  • Print Length: 632 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (16 Sep 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RHN7RM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #338,546 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight 1 Nov 2009
This book is a set of informal interviews with a variety of well-known programmers. Peter Seibel's interviewing style is informed and probing and yet he covers similar topics in each interview, which makes for interesting comparisons. The style is like a drama with a number of actors rather than dry prose, which takes a little getting used to.

Some of the interviewees are clearly brilliant individuals, others would like us to think they are, and yet others are open and humble - which makes them all the more likeable.

What came across most to me was the common love of programming in these people and how they found their way into their various areas of expertise. Reading the book increases my confidence in my own abilities as I can relate to many of the stories described. There are times of inspiration, but lots of hard work and application to build successful software.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the craft of programming and what makes programmers tick. It helps practising programmers, like myself, reflect on the essence of what we do and why it is so enjoyable.
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A collection of interviews 6 Feb 2010
This book is literally the transcription of 15 interviews, do not expect more than that. Interviewed are fifteen programmers who have left a visible imprint on the world of programming as it stands now. The author reminds us in a short introduction that the field of computer programming is only 70 years old and a large part of the programmers he interviews started in the field punching cards roughly 40 years ago. The author asks similar questions to all his interlocutors enabling the reader to draw comparison on some topics such as: How do you proceed when you write new code? How do you debug code? How do you approach other coders programs? What do you look for when hiring programmers? How did you start coding...

I read that book cover to cover, in places it could have been better edited. In terms of content, I found it both interesting and lacking. Interesting, because the programmers interviewed achieved a lot and one always gain something from learning about the circumstances of those achievements. On the lacking side of my impression, well it is hard to define: The author promises on the back-cover to give us insight into how great programmers learned how to code and how they go about programming and he certainly delivers that in their own words, but, as could be expected, out of 15 interviews you get 15 different answers and it is impossible to draw any conclusion.

In a sense I am not sure the question "how do you code?" has a lot of meaning, I get the feeling that it is similar to asking mathematicians how they think when they do mathematics.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is like a history textbook of the computing generation.

It's basically a collection of interviews with notable programmers, done in a very natural and readable style. If you're a techie, or you're in the technology industry in any way, then you should read it to get a sense of where "it" all came from, and especially to hear from some of the people who made it happen.

The contrast between the different interviews is interesting in its own right - you can go from one guy to the next to get a completely different or even opposing viewpoint, so the end result is a broad perspective.

It made me nostalgic for those days I spent hunched over a ZX Spectrum keyboard POKEing memory to see what happened :-)
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming 16 Dec 2012
Having looked at this book time and again, I was waiting for Santa to bring some vouchers and pick it up, its sat on my wishlist to that effect for weeks. Luckily a friend already had a copy and I've had a good old read... Thank goodness...

The book is okay, it does contain simple straight forward interviews between the author and the programmers at hand, but the interviews are not really what I was expecting. I had expected pearls of wisdom, some insight into the work at hand, instead the interviews are very much more about the programmers past, what they did in a sort of poor biographical style, not very technical at all.

Even the interview with Ken Thompson, the main one I was interested in reading, is not very technically insightful at all.

This is perhaps my fault, I did expect a lot from this book, most of which being a technical insight, but there simply is none. So, if this might be why you want to read this, don't buy it. If you check out say the interview with Bjarne Stroustrup over at BigThink (you can see this on youtube also) regarding the development of C++, that's the kind of thing I expected this to be, or some sort of coverage of "we had to solve X problem to ship Y product on Z platform" and this is how I did it, but there's little to none of this.

The writing style was okay, and the interviews had small snippets of interest, but on the whole I found it hard to read all this book, I have however read it all, and I'm so glad I didn't actually buy it, my friend can have their copy back and good luck to them, very mediocre fair.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for Computing students
Pretty interesting real-life stories that give you a good range of good advice. Great insights into Computer Science history too.
Published 15 days ago by 60Griff
3.0 out of 5 stars The concept sounds good but in reality it's rather dull
As a coder I bought this because Joel Spolsky said I should. And it does have moments of interest but mainly it's fairly dull and rambling. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars stories, perspectives and experiences that make you think
I'm a professional software developer for about 11 years. I have some stories and ideas about software development and programming in specific. Read more
Published on 5 May 2011 by Luis Sergio Oliveira
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable insight into how real programmers think
A book of interviews with programmers: why would that be interesting? It is because Siebel asks just the sorts of practical questions you would want to ask if you were face to... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by Marcus
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
There are some interesting nuggets here, but by about the halfway point the identical series of questions to each interviewee becomes tedious. Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2010 by jcs
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone interested in the craft of programming
I really enjoyed this book. Each of the interviees had an interesting tale to tell and the questions Siebel asks are well targeted to bring these out. Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2010 by J Root
2.0 out of 5 stars An unexciting book
Really quite boring, laid out in a question & answer format. You need to be a rea geek to enjoy this!
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by Alan
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look into what makes these software pioneers tick
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, especially the parts where people like Donald Knuth tell of their learning processes, how they came to think about the profession and... Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2009 by Robbert Jan van M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Really fun reading
If you think your life is rubbish because you have to do mostly tedious and boring stuff at work, there is no fun or feeling that you do something cool, please read this book. Read more
Published on 1 Dec 2009 by Alexander Demin
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly high signal to noise ratio for an interview book
It's entertaining and easy to read.
But at the same time insightful and packed with wisdom.

Certainly worth a dozen "Teach yourself ASDF . Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2009 by Ruslan Shestopalyuk
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
At the end of the day, ship the fucking thing! It's great to rewrite your code and make it cleaner and by the third time it'll actually be pretty. But that's not the point-you're not here to write code; you're here to ship products. &quote;
Highlighted by 60 Kindle users
"One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies." &quote;
Highlighted by 46 Kindle users
Readability of code is now my first priority. It's more important than being fast, almost as important as being correct, but I think being readable is actually the most likely way of making it correct. &quote;
Highlighted by 42 Kindle users

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category