15 February 2010

Book Review: "Coders at Work"


Coders at Work is for programmers and computing scientists interested in how some very well known coders think about their art or craft. It is a series of interviews of some of the top coders of our time. It includes their thoughts on some very controversial issues on coding style, algorithm development, testing, documentation, etc.

It's a great book to read to get a sense of how some of these people think about those issues, and it's incredibly rewarding if you already know the names of some of the coders interviewed. I was especially excited to read the interviews of Peter Norvig, Guy Steele, Ken Thompson, and Donald Knuth. The other interviews were great too, and better if you already know something about those people.

Now just because some of these people think one way or another on an issue doesn't mean I would go and imitate them. The main thing is to read their explanation of what they're thinking, the why's and how's, and examine it to understand how they're thinking about an issue. Now how they think about issues — that is possibly worthy of imitation.

Definitely recommended for programmers and computing scientists wanting to improve their game!

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