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4.1 out of 5 stars15
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2009
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 :-)
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on 5 May 2011
I'm a professional software developer for about 11 years. I have some stories and ideas about software development and programming in specific. I got acquainted with the writing style of Peter Seibel by reading his Practical Common Lisp book.

This book with its 15 well conducted interviews with several of the top programmers of our days contains rich and very interesting stories on software development. It has also perspectives by these programmers on the field of computing and software development in particular.

A very good thing is the personal perspective on how these persons attack a software development project. How do they recognize other good programmers for hiring. What do they think is beautiful code, etc.

I read it cover to cover and I might read it again in about one year, a full interview each time (i.e., in a more disciplined way than I did it in the first time).

There are funny stories (1st interview with Jamie Zawinski), deep perspectives on what and how should be the programming experience (Dan Ingalls and Donald Knuth) and what his programming more related to (maths, art, music, etc in all interviews).
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on 17 September 2010
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. While not an overly technical book there is enough depth here to give an insight into how different the programming process is for different people and how their approaches differ.

While there are some interesting lessons to learn from these experiences, this is not a book about learning programming skills but about the history,thoughts and motivations of programmers who have demonstrated their ability through the significant projects they have been involved in.

The interviews seemed about the right length to me and I found this format made it a good book to dip into occasionally, partly to ration it out otherwise I'd have read it all in one go!

Highly recommended.
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on 10 March 2011
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 face with Donald Knuth, or the other great practitioners of the craft in this book. How do you do debugging? Where do you use asserts? What questions do you ask at interviews? This book should rate alongside The Little Lisper or The Art of Computer Programming as one of the must-buy books for programmers.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2009
This is one of those quintessential books that all Software Engineers need to read.
It will help validate and correct many of the foibles that we pick up throughout our professional life.

I can't recommend this book enough.
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on 4 August 2014
Pretty interesting real-life stories that give you a good range of good advice. Great insights into Computer Science history too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2009
It's entertaining and easy to read.
But at the same time insightful and packed with wisdom.

Certainly worth a dozen "Teach yourself ASDF .NET in 21 days" kind of books.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2009
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. Just listen those people's stories and motivations will be back to your. I've started to read this book from the interview with Brad Fitzpatrick because he is closer to my generation. And even after this chapter I've established again for my self -- just don't listen to anybody and do stuff that makes your fun. That's it. And you will never regret about the years spent for this.

No doubt this book is worth to be read because something every developer needs something different from PDFs with specifications and manuals.
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