Monday, August 31, 2009

The Passionate Programmer

I just finished reading "The Passionate Programmer" by Chad Fowler (no, not related). I really enjoyed the book. It had a short topic driven style which presented ideas in bite sized chunks. I enjoy this style of book because it is easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time if that is all the time you have. It also keeps you reading with engaging topics and the promise of the conclusion of an idea just a few pages away.

While this book is targeted at people early in their careers and people considering careers in computer science, it also has some nice tidbits for those of us already well ahead in our careers.

One of my favorite passages rewrote the common "teach a man to fish" parable:
For us software developer, Lao Tzu's intent might be equally well served with "Ask for a fish; eat for a day. Ask someone to teach you to fish; eat for a lifetime." Better yet, don't ask to be taught--go learn for yourself.
Well said. Always go learn for yourself. This makes sense in public school and later in life. It is not about what you are taught. It is about what you learn. What you take away is far more important than what was presented. Somehow, I feel that in this age of entitlement, we have lost sight of that.

There is also a section on mindfulness. It resonates with sometime that I have found in my own life. It does not matter how mundane the task, it matters how you perform the task. If you are frustrated at having to enhance the code coverage of the unit tests, you are going to move slowly and dread the process and memory. If you are challenged to increase the coverage of the unit tests in the most efficient way possible, you might actually look forward to the challenge. Try to look forward to the challenge as much as possible, it is a small change, but it makes the process the adventure rather than something to be endured. We all deserve a little more adventure.

Check it out.


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