Byzantine Reality

Searching for Byzantine failures in the world around us

Pragmatic Learning and Thinking

So while I promised I’d be back on track posting as usual, that obviously hasn’t happened thus far. But in the spirit of getting back on track, I’ve grabbed a book I’ve been working on to talk about. From the usual line of Pragmatic Bookshelf books I’ve been reading lately, here’s Pragmatic Thinking and Learning. It’s a fun read, so follow on as we check it out:

It’s not entirely fair to say this book is a non-programming book, as it’s really programming a layer removed from the actual system: you. The book shows you how to get the most out of your mind and be a more effective programmer. There’s many tips and tricks and tons of fun anecdotes.

But that’s really all there is to say about the book. It’s a super-easy read, and a good half of the book is what I guess would be relatively straightforward. I suspect part of this feeling is reading all the Joel on Softwareposts/books, so if you don’t normally read it or anything else along those lines then this will be a refreshing read.

The other half of the book turns out to be pretty good though. There’s about half a dozen solid ideas on how to straighten up your working environment that I’m going to try out and have high hopes for, but rather than spoil them here, I’d recommend checking out the book for what they are.

The book stays to a common theme of shaping up your mind, so you’ll see the same points hit in over and over again from different angles. It’s fine if you need to be sold on the main premises of the book, but if you already agree with them then you’re may be a little bored by the speeches selling you on them.

So that’s also the criteria I’d recommend buying the book on: if you’re a skeptic of the Agile Methodology, you should definitely check out this book. If you’ve already read The Pragmatic Programmer and other Pragmatic Bookshelf books, you’ll find that this book very much summarizes the ideology of it (and the Pragmatic “movement”, if one does exist). It’s still a good read, but you’ll get a bit less out of it than the people in the former category.

Happy reading!