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Book Review: The Pragmatic Programmer

For a long time I have heard that The Pragmatic Programmer (Amazon) is considered required reading as a developer. For whatever reason I finally decided it was time to read it so I bought a copy. The publisher is Addison-Wesley, who also publishes another classic called The Mythical Man Month. That review will come at another time.

I like to read the front and back of the book before the main content and the first thing I noticed was a foldout in the back of the book. It is a sheet with 50 programming tips. Some of them made sense, some I didn't understand, but a few provided new insight immediately. This was enough for me. I could already tell there would be some good information in the book.

The whole book is build around these 50 tips. It is all elaboration and anecdotes on each tip. Some of the stories are funny, and other analogies really drive home points. I found it inspiring and it got me excited because I could already feel some of the advice reshaping how I look at code. Some of the tips are general principles and some are ways of thinking. Some are technical and some cover soft skills. There are lots of stories and quotes. I don't want to spoil any of them by giving them away, but I do have a few favorites.

There were some general themes that stuck out to me. One was the emphasis on learning. Learn, learn how to learn better, and then yearn to learn more. Constantly improve and always be seeking ways to improve even the little things you do.

Overall, I am really glad I read the book and I would highly recommend it to other programmers and hackers. It is worth of its place on the must-read list in my book.