Zen and the Art of Systems Analysis: Meditations on Computer Systems Development Paperback – 21 Nov 2002
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From the Author
I wrote this book as a summary of what Ive learned in the trenches as a programmer and systems analyst. Ive been free with my opinions, some of which I even agree with, and try to share a certain offbeat thought process. You should think from analogy, and even life generally, so many of these stories might not immediately seem to relate directly to information systems analysis. And youll find lots of contradictions here. Like any good list of aphorisms, some are opposites. Youll find impossible proverbs, parable paradoxes, fighting fables, contradictory kotowaza, and muddy maxims: Dont bite off more than you can chewbut if you aim for the stars you might reach the moon; Look before you leapbut he who hesitates is lost; You snooze, you losebut sleep on it. I didnt do extensive research, so some are apocryphal stories, which I define as stories that should be true even if they arent. I lived in Texas when in grade school, so I appreciate the tall tale, and my Irish heritage would never let the truth ruin a good story. So the book is nebulous, ambiguous, and filled with off-topic and contradictory stories that might not even be true.
Come to think of it, that pretty much describes a systems analysts life, so if you are, or want to be, a systems analyst, this is the perfect book for you.
About the Author
PATRICK McDERMOTT was a professional economist before becoming a computer programmer, and so understands Business Art and Systems Science, and connects them in his writing and teaching. He teaches seminars at Cal Berkeley Extension and runs his own consulting firm, in Oakland, specializing in training and consulting on computer technology.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is like that person. Mr. McDermott's experience is extensive - I purchased this book based on the high regard I have for one he coauthored titled, "Workflow Modeling: Tools for Process Improvement and Application Development" ISBN 1580530214. He is also a born teacher who uses anecdotes, past experiences, analogies and other devices to impart knowledge about the most important topics in systems analysis - analysis, design, consulting, business, economics, corporate culture and models.
Each topic area contains a mixture of experience from jobs he has worked, his reflections on the key issues, published works and comments by others with whom he has worked, and clear advice. There is a thread of humor that runs through this book, but the messages he give are serious and well thought out.
As you read this book you will be drawn in by the conversational style - it's as though he is talking to and mentoring you, and much of what he says may be something you already know on a conscious or subconscious level. However, it's the presentation and the personal voice that make much of this material sound like fresh ideas. That is where the Zen comes in. A read through this book will open your eyes to subtleties of ideas that on the surface seem obvious. Certainly you will approach analysis with a fresh perspective.
If for no other reason, read this book for the pleasure of reading - you'll still come away with insights that will stay with you.
Patrick has done a great job placing small wise notes in each chapters to summarize his thoughts and the chapter, for quick readers they can quickly skim those.
The only thing I hate about the book is the Title, I mean it could be ZenAnalysis or MeditAnalyst something like that but the title is so long and thats maybe why its not getting so much attention.
But a great read for developers and system analyst
I rate it 5 stars :-)