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on 14 December 2016
Very dated but very accurate - still very true today
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on 26 July 2009
This is surreal book. After almost forty years not much has hanged. Some details are a bit outdated, but mostly the book is as relevant as it must have been at the time of writing. The book is worth of reading for two reasons. Firstly anyone who is computer professional should be aware of history, and the book is piece of living history of the computer science & engineering. Secondly the book gives comfort. Problems of programming have been known for long time, but there are ways how to live with the problems and such ideas are almost as old as problems.

George Santayana; 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'. Unfortunately this book (like so many other excellent books) has not teach most of computer professionals and that's why the whole industry is in endless repeat loop.
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on 8 January 2001
I read this book fifteen years ago and it changed the way I wrote programs. I do not have any doubts that reading this book made me a better programmer, analyst and team leader. It made me think about what I was doing, why I was doing it and why the people around me were motivated to do what they did. It gave me insights into how to adjust my interactions with other people and thus get the best out of them with their willing cooperation.
Originally I borrowed it from the University library, but this recent reprint gave me the chance to buy my own copy and reread it with fifteen years more experience. It is still a very good read, in spite of the rather dry title. It is well written with clear arguments and Weinberg does not pull his punches.
The book was written in 1971 and as a result the technology is very dated with a lot of discussion about PL/1 and punched cards. However, the technology is not actually that important. This book is about people and they have not changed in the thirty years since this book was written. Many of the same situations outlined by Weinberg have happened to me and people I know. The questions for managers and programmers at the end of each chapter are still totally relevant. People are still making the same mistakes.
Each chapter contains a large number of anecdotes and an analysis of them. What did the people do wrong? What did they do right? What should they have done differently? Most importantly - what can you learn to stop yourself making the same mistakes? What warning signs should you be on the lookout for?
The book studies programming as a human activity, as a social activity and as an individual activity. There is also an additional section on programming tools and languages. Weinberg strongly promotes what he calls "ego-less programming" and recommends the creation of ego-less programming teams and groups. He offers strong evidence that groups structured in this fashion are significantly more successful than otherwise and my experience to date bears this out.
So, what do I dislike about this book? It contains a few diagrams and the reproduction quality of them is no better than "fair". Furthermore, although the epilogue gives some insight into why the author wrote the book I found one of his reasons vague and slightly suspect with a strong aftertaste of personal morality that has no place in such a book. If you want to know more, you'll have to read the book!
Finally I will let you consider the comments of a reviewer of the first edition of this book. He said "One comes away with the feeling of having spent a pleasant but somewhat wasted afternoon of reading and as the old joke goes '...it ain't till you turn your head that you realise how sharp the razor is..'".
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on 8 July 2003
See how little the industry has really changed in the past 10 or 15 years.
We may be all XP and UML today, and not SSADM and JSP, and Java and .NET rather than Cobol and Fortran, but the same problems exist and the same mistakes are still being made
Read it and then reflect, it certainly makes you think about IT
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on 30 August 2010
As programmers and software developers dealing with the details of code construction and software implementation, we often forget keeping an eye on the bigger picture of what we are doing and why. This book reminds you that you are part of a bigger picture, where psychological aspects play a crucial role as well. Especially when you are part of a team, programming must be seen also as a social activity, and not only as an individual activity. This is the part of the book that I liked most. This book should be a compulsory reading for team leaders and managers, who still consider programmers as black boxes where you give orders and code comes out. As already other readers have pointed out, considering the perspective provided by the book, it is amazing how little things have changed from the 70s.
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on 30 June 2014
This book is so good, I have bought two copies. The first copy doesn't leave my possession - but I allow my colleagues to borrow the other. Despite being written in 1971, we are still a long way from the great concepts in this book.
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on 9 March 2016
A deserved classic, though it sometimes feels slightly anachronistic (a few pages daydreaming about hypothetical programming tools we now take for granted, for example).
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