March 16, 2006
It's remarkable how much you can learn from other programmers. Not by reading their code, mind you, but by realizing that programmers are human beings. Nowhere is that more evident than these two collections of interviews with notable programmers:
Programmers At Work: Interviews with 19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry and
Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists are packed with amazing insights, even though these interviews are now more than 15 years old.
For more of the human side of software development, I also recommend this list of real world programming stories.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Also, Accidental Empires by Robert Cringely. Although the book casts a largely wry eye on the PC industry, there are some excellent (and also some funny) stories about famous names in the industry -- Simonyi, Gates, Woz, Bricklin, Warnock, et al.
Also of note are Cringely's NerdTV, which is usually really cool. It's more than just programming, it touches a lot on business and tech culture, but there's some good code stories too.
Stop reading my mind! I was about to post my review of Programmers at Work today.
Where Are They Now?: I can't stop! Today I read Programmers at Work, a 1986 book of interviews by Susan Lammers (I got the version that doesn't have Bill Gates's head taking up half the cover.) For some reason I was compelled to write this weblog entry detailing what all of the people mentioned in the book did since the book was published. Some interesting links and history below.