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The Mythical Man Month and Other Essays on Software Engineering [Paperback]

Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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The Mythical Man-month: Essays on Software Engineering The Mythical Man-month: Essays on Software Engineering 4.3 out of 5 stars (38)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co (Dec 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201006502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201006506
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Deals with the management problems of maintaining a conceptual coherence in a large computer programming system.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A piece of computing history 6 Dec 2010
By malc400
A legendary text but less than relevant these days. At its core are principles that don't date but it's relevance is to the history of the development of computer software systems. An entertaining read nonetheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Myth Busting 9 Feb 2010
Although the work for this book was completed many years ago, few industries seem to have benefited from the lessons described. Naysayers will dismiss the ideas because the data source is too old and "technology has moved on so much since then". The fundamental lessons though refer more to people than any specific technology and are probably even more valuable today than when the book was first published.
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By Sohnee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, not just because of the astute observations Fred Brooks draws from experiences on projects he worked on, but also because we're still making the same mistakes so many decades later. Asides for a recommendation to move to microfiche, which indicates how long ago this book was written (and it was a fair suggestion at the time), this book is pure gold.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read it. 30 May 2010
This is a really good book. But when you read it think of that it is a child of its time. Some parts might need an update in the world that we live in today.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic -- but of its time 20 Dec 1999
By I. Alexander - Published on
There really are very few software engineering books written in 1975 that are worth reading today. Brooks remains powerful stuff because large system projects are still often disastrous. We are not often bothered by the flowcharts that Brooks dislikes, but the disorganized projects, endless meetings, problems of scaling, unhelpful documentation and inflexible systems are certainly still with us.
I was struck recently by the parallels with Kent Beck's Extreme Programming: Brooks had in his way foreseen much of what this recent movement has been urging.
Brooks' classic book underlies much systems engineering thinking, and his example along with the frightening story of OS/360, enlivened with Brooks' inimitable anecdotes and illustrations, remains essential reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for anyone dealing regularly with complexity. 13 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
This is a classic tale of managment philosophy and software engineering. It contains some of the best descriptions of human behavior and engineering intuition ever distilled into book format. A must read for anyone managing, or working on, complex projects of any sort.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great condition 18 Feb 2014
By Talon - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yeah just got it in and the condition of the book is great. I am really excited to read this book Wendell of Tek syndicate suggested this to me and he suggested another book of Brooks that I will have to give a read as well
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, not technical 7 Jan 2014
By BW - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is ideal for anyone new to programming, supervising programming, or managing development projects. You don't have to be a programmer to understand it. If you are hiring developers to work for you, this will really help you understand "how projects work" so you can work well with your employees!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, undying, informative, inspiring and enjoyable read! 17 Oct 2010
By Book Glutton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I learned by my own mistakes the meaning of the expression, "You can pay me now or pay me later." There are few or sometimes no short-cuts in software or hardware development or engineering, or electronics in general. Fred Brooks, best known as the "father of the IBM System 360," and after 30 years still holds the title of the most influential book on software project management, likened it to pregnancy. He said you can add all the women you want "to the project" and still, it will take nine months! That's why, in managing software development projects, I learned to spend ample time with the software developers beforehand. Otherwise, I would inevitably spend the time with them afterwards. I was the one knowing the design. I had the "big picture" that needed to be communicated to them.

In his book, Brooks described the foibles of the early design teams and programming at IBM. From his own mistakes, he came up with snappy principles like "If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you find time to do it over?" He also coined what became known as the "Second-System Approach," which basically said "by the time you finish developing a system, you know what you should have done"--therefore, throw it away and start from scratch again. He identified the corruptible optimism of good intentions that truly but erroneously believed, for most of the project, that the work was 90% done or that debugging was 99% done most of the time. He insisted, "Ask whenever there's a doubt. NEVER assume anything."

This book is filled with timeless development advice by a master from a previous age. The advice, however, is as valuable now as it was then.

A good, undying, informative, inspiring and enjoyable read!
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