Posts Tagged 'Books'

The Clean Coder

The Clean Coder

By Robert C. Martin

 

The Clean Coder is a kind of sequel to the famous Clean Code published in 2008. This sequel is a 200-pages-self-help book for programmers that’s sprinkled with biographical material. By and large, the mantra is: read this book and you’ll learn how to be a true professional programmer. To achieve that goal, the author shows a kind of ethic code for “true” developers in a world of sloppy programmers. The most remarkable aspect of the book is that is rather focused on psychology than in practical or technical stuff. Therefore, there are whole chapters dedicated to topics such as: when/how to say No to pushy managers, coding mental-state, etc.

I do support the idea of acting always as a professional no matter if you’re an entrepeneur, an employee working for a large company or a freelancer. One should have always in mind that every mistake we make has consequences and there’s no free lunch. However, I find the approach of this book is a little unreal, the programmer is presented as a kind of medieval knight or so.

To sum up, there are highs and lows in this book. While I enjoyed some chapters like “how to say no” or “how to estimate”, others are pretty much useless, like “Coding”, “Mentoring, Apprenticeship, and Craftsmanship” or the one about teams and projects which, to my surprise, is 4 pages long (!?). The reading is agile and even enjoyable but don’t expect to much and it won’t disappoint you. Usually I’m not very keen on this sort of books, but every now and then, I read one because we all have something to learn or get better at.

This is recent interview with Robert C. Martin:

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The Art Of Start

The Art Of Start

By Guy Kawasaki

This is an entrepreneurship guide that explains what it takes to transform an idea into a succesful startup company. The book describes the different difficulties any startup has to deal with. It tackles subjects such as: the business plan, the bootstrapping stage, funding,… We could say that it focuses mainly on IT companies although the general principles are valid for almost any company. The book is easy-to-read, does not ramble and is peppered with a pinch of entrepreneurial philosophy which is always encouraging when you’re about to choose the red-pill. I found particularly interesting the chapter about raising capital….valuable advice from someone who lives in the Valley and knows very well what it’s all about.

There are hundreds of books about running a business. I chose this one basically for the author: Guy Kawasaki. I first knew him when I read the foreword of Presentation Zen, and I thought that a guy that can write a so awesome introduction, must have lots of smart things to say.

To sum up, the book is good and sometimes brilliant. It’s not overly optimistic which is always welcome; can’t bear those stupid books that make you believe everything is possible if you try it, when we all know it doesn’t work that way.

This is a talk by Guy Kawasaki at Stanford University:

You can watch the rest of the videos here.

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Do Not Cross The DeadLine

Some time ago while I was reading The Pragmatic Programmer I found a reference to the original meaning of the word DeadLine.

A boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.

Do Not Cross

According to Answers.com, this term was coined in 1864 during the Civil War:

It began as a real line, drawn in the dirt or marked by a fence or rail, restricting prisoners in Civil War camps. They were warned, “If you cross this line, you’re dead.” To make dead sure this important boundary was not overlooked, guards and prisoners soon were calling it by its own bluntly descriptive name, the dead line. An 1864 congressional report explains the usage in one camp: “A railing around the inside of the stockade, and about twenty feet from it, constitutes the ‘dead line,’ beyond which the prisoners are not allowed to pass.” […] But it was the newspaper business that made deadline more than just a historical curiosity. To have the latest news and still get a newspaper printed and distributed on time requires strict time limits for those who write it. Yet many are the excuses for writers to go beyond their allotted time: writers’ block, writers’ perfectionism, or just plain procrastination. […] Seeking the strongest possible language to counter these temptations, editors set deadlines, with the implication that “Your story is dead–You are dead–if you go beyond this time to finish it.

Fortunately, in the IT Industry, programmers who don’t meet a deadline are not shot … yet.

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