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Zen and the Art of Systems Analysis: Meditations on Computer Systems Development Paperback – 21 Nov 2002

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3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews from the U.S.

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From the Author

I wrote this book as a summary of what I’ve learned in the trenches as a programmer and systems analyst. I’ve 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 you’ll find lots of contradictions here. Like any good list of aphorisms, some are opposites. You’ll find impossible proverbs, parable paradoxes, fighting fables, contradictory kotowaza, and muddy maxims: Don’t bite off more than you can chew—but if you aim for the stars you might reach the moon; Look before you leap—but he who hesitates is lost; You snooze, you lose—but sleep on it. I didn’t do extensive research, so some are apocryphal stories, which I define as stories that should be true even if they aren’t. 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 analyst’s 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique - and a fun read 17 Jun. 2004
By Mike Tarrani - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To say this book is different from any technical book I've ever read would be an understatement. The best way to describe it is to use an analogy from real life. We all have had a boss or coworker who is a born teacher and imparts their extensive experience in a reflective manner.
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars A potional Bridge between Zen and Computers 18 Dec. 2009
By Hussein Nasser - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is really fun to read, full of potential new tips and ideas to enhance the system analysis process. The way the author reinforced his book with Musashi Mayamoto book of five rings is excellent

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
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boo! 25 July 2010
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Not worth it. I was expecting a book about Systems Analysis from a unique perspective. This is really just a rambling collection of 'no-duh' concepts mixed in with poorly developed eastern philosophic analogies. It doesn't work and earns a "boo."
2 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting! 22 July 2003
By sr_optimus_prime - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hi everyone! I think this is one of the most interesting books out there. How could the authur connect two different things together? the Zen and the computer systems analysis? Enjoy reading it!
I rate it 5 stars :-)
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