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Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?

by brian_d_foy (Abbot)
on Nov 16, 2005 at 02:07 UTC ( #508862=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Once you've gone beyond the Perl canon, which books do you recommend to new programmers? Which ones took you from being an intermediate programmer to a master (and don't be shy, because I know some of you are modest masters ;)

I've been thinking about this over the last year as I've added footnotes to Learning Perl and Intermediate Perl, and also because various people I talk to fairly regularly seem to recommended a lot of books this year. I also recently completed a business consulting project where I recommended to the client a reading list for understanding the techie mind (and how to control it, muahahahaha!)

I've known about Joel Spolsky's recommendations, and I have most of those on my shelf.

Allison Randal recommended some non-techy books, Necessary Losses and Imperfect Control by Judith Viorst.

One of the O'Reilly editors told me about Dear Scott, Dear Max, but that's mostly something interesting to writers.

Someone else recommended a Ship It! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Services from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. Those always seem to be good books.

I have a waist high stack of other books various techies have recommended, and I have no time to read them. I need to pick out the ones I should read and recommend to junior programmers. I'm sure many have slipped past me.

--
brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
Subscribe to The Perl Review

Comment on Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 02:10 UTC

    Are you looking for recommendations from the project management angle?

    Update: okay, judging by the responses, most things go. So I’ll make a few recommendations that haven’t come up yet:

    For something close to Perl, I definitely recommend Mastering Regular Expressions – no matter how good you think you are with them, if you haven’t had formal education on state machines and regular expressions, you don’t actually know what you’re doing until you’ve read this book.

    Something else you absolutely need is an algorithms textbook. I have Algorithms by Sedgewick. If you want to have a hope to ever write computation-heavy code that performs well with large and/or many datasets (what’s nebulously called “scaling”), you need to know your algorithms. Also, even seemingly simple algorithms and data structures can have subtle tradeoffs; choosing correctly can allow you to simplify even already simple code. I’ve heard good things about The Algorithm Design Manual, but not yet read it.

    Beyond that, I suggest books on other programming languages – any other programming languages. It’s a cliché by now, but you should really never stop learning. (I have, lately, and I can clearly see how it has stunted my growth. Don’t do it.)

    Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by dug (Chaplain) on Nov 16, 2005 at 02:38 UTC

    For a domain specific book, I can't recommend Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment enough. It not only helped me understand standard *NIX facilities, but it has great programming practices throughout. For a general programming practices book, I recently picked up and love The Practice of Programming. I wish I had seen the book when it was published in 1999. Each chapter ends with a "Suplimentary Reading" section that has promising titles.

    -- Douglas Hunter
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by bilfurd (Hermit) on Nov 16, 2005 at 02:51 UTC
    One for me was Herrington's Code Generation in Action. Thinking about generating code algorithmically and efficiently changed my perspective a bit.

    Past that, I found OS-specific books to be a big help -- Windows XP Under the Hood for example. Little tips and tricks that you can leverage in your code can make a difference.

    Once a programmer reaches the stage where they question the code in a book and look for more efficient and/or secure ways to perform the same task, they are usually well on the path.

    There is no substitute for experience, of course, but getting people beyond the stage of "do it like this, for this is the way I was taught" is usally a big step. TIMTOWTDI is just an acronymn until you practice it.

    If you want to break away from tech books in general, there is always Musashi's Book of Five Rings, the "Earth Scroll" in particular, to get people to recognize their tools. Perl, C++, C#, JavaScript, SQL, etc., are just tools; if you don't take care of your tools and stay in practice, you have to spend time sharpening them again.

    Just my dos centavos.

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by itub (Priest) on Nov 16, 2005 at 03:20 UTC

      All of Jon Bentley's stuff is pretty amazing. I read those after working in Perl for a couple of years and it was almost like reading the desing docs of Perl.

      --
      brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
      Subscribe to The Perl Review
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by xdg (Monsignor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 03:56 UTC
      I will second the recommendation for The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. I learned a great deal from this book, and it is well worth the time to read.

      TStanley
      --------
      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke
        I will third the recommendation for this book: it actually sits beside my bed and I re-read it from time to time..
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Nov 16, 2005 at 04:13 UTC
    • Code Complete: My copy is completely dogeared, has like 15 bookmarks in it, and took me from master journeyman to apprenctice master.
    • http://www.extremeperl.com: Helped me understand exactly what XP was all about. While I still have some Kool-Aid left in my cup, TDD is definitely an improvement over prior processes.
    • Programming Ruby: Learning another language is always good as it gives you a new perspective on your other languages.
    • Someone mentioned Hackers and Painters and the OP mentioned Joel Spolsky. Read everything they write. It's not always good, but there's rocks among the gems, not gems among the rocks.
    • Design Patterns by Gamma et al. I don't agree with a lot of it, but my mind opened up just through exposure.
    • ANSI Lisp: I haven't read it yet, but am eagerly anticipating what will happen when I do.
    In addition, you should have read one book in each of the following:
    • Database administration - you may never be a DBA, but you need to know what they're dealing with. Plus, when you're solo, you are the DBA. And, the single greatest bottleneck in any application is the datastore. Learning how to improve the performance of this section will provide the greatest bang for the buck.
    • System adminstration - Same thing.
    • Project administration - Same thing.
    A master in a skill is at least a journeyman in all skills that touch upon it. Only then does he have true mastery of his skill.

    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by japhy (Canon) on Nov 16, 2005 at 04:43 UTC
    I suggest "The Mythical Man-Month" for programmers working in the corporate machine, and for them to suggest to their managers.

    Jeff japhy Pinyan, P.L., P.M., P.O.D, X.S.: Perl, regex, and perl hacker
    How can we ever be the sold short or the cheated, we who for every service have long ago been overpaid? ~~ Meister Eckhart
      I suggest "The Mythical Man-Month" for programmers working in the corporate machine, and for them to suggest to their managers.

      Seconded.

      I usually recommend it along with DeMarco & Lister's "Peopleware" and Scott Adams "The Dilbert Principle" as a triumvirate that seems to install a vague clue as to how the real world actually works :-)

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by perrin (Chancellor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 04:44 UTC
    One that I don't recommend is Hackers and Painters. I found it pretty dissapointing. The articles were not well written and all had a pretty shallow point that could have been covered in a page or two. Many of them seemed very self-serving too, with an overtone of "I got rich with my company, so that proves I'm right." Graham has established himself as a LISP expert, but I don't think his musings on things outside of that domain are worth your time.

    I know this books is something of a sacred cow in the Perl community, because he tells us things we want to hear, like we're smart and Java programmers are idiots. Nevertheless, I think some of the Java programmers have more to teach you than this book does.

    There is an amusing critique of the title essay in the book here.

      I actually don't like that book that much. I think he falls for the fallacy of outstanding example. It worked for him (at a time when just about anything you a millionaire), so he must be right about everything.

      My main problem with him, though, is that he gives techies the wrong-headed notion that they are better than everyone. Many programmers aren't artists or hackers. It's not fundamentally a noble profession. Most of the stuff programmers do is monkey work. No matter how cleverly we code, the documenting, testing, debugging, and maintaining isn't all that artistic. Not many people care about beautiful looking programs. Most of them care about getting work done.

      --
      brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
      Subscribe to The Perl Review
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Nov 16, 2005 at 05:11 UTC

    The first programming book I ever read was the most influential.

    A picked up a copy of Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs(N.Wirth) from the college library when looking for ideas for a term project, probably because it was the first one on the shelf in the computing section.

    Even though it didn't directly relate to the project I ended up doing, I extended the loan to the maximium period allowed, and then took a permanent lean on it(flag that meant whenever the book was returned a note was left in my pidgeon-hole), for the rest of that year and when I asked to do so the following year, they bought a second copy.

    There is a deceptively simple idea in that title, that in 1976 way pre-dated the OO movement, but it encapsulates a great deal of mileage. All programs exists to manipulate data of one sort or another, and arranging that data into suitable structures to give the algorithms applied to it, easy, efficient and reliable access to those parts of it they need, is what that book is all about.

    Shame it is out of print. I've already bought two copies. One I lent to a colleague who never returned it, the other I left at a customer's site somewhere in Germany when rushing to catch a plane and I never got back there. I've been waiting for a re-print to buy another, but it seems I might have to put up with a second-hand copy :(

    This is a good read too, but you probably wouldn't spend money on it unless you're a Wirth fan.


    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    Lingua non convalesco, consenesco et abolesco. -- Rule 1 has a caveat! -- Who broke the cabal?
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by tirwhan (Abbot) on Nov 16, 2005 at 07:08 UTC

    Apart of what otheres have already recommended:


    Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by tilly (Archbishop) on Nov 16, 2005 at 07:53 UTC
    It is hard to find a real classic that has not yet been brought up. Certainly my first recommend is Code Complete, which seens to be on everyone's list.

    However there are some business books that are particularly enlightening for programmers who want to understand the dynamics of the world they live in. In particular I recommend Information Rules to understand the dynamics that lead to vendor lockin, how standards are set, why customer support sucks, and other realities of the IT world. To help you identify which products and companies are on their way in or out (very important when making career decisions!), I recommend either The Innovator's Dilemma or The Innovator's Solution. The latter is probably more useful than the former since it focuses on how the theory applies in practice while the former tries to convince people of the theory.

    Oh, and I highly recommend Winning at New Products. I don't I recommend it specifically to junior programmers in particular, but I definitely recommend it...

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by salva (Monsignor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 08:17 UTC
    Well, it seems that most people has suggested books that go towards the high level side (technical or management wise) of programming, but I believe going in the oposite direction (the low level one) can also be very productive, for instance learning assembler lets any programmer understand how things really work.

    So I would recommend See MIPS Run and don't get bewildered but the fact that it is about MIPS processors, for learning purposes it is far better than going the x86 way!!!

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by dws (Chancellor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 08:43 UTC

    I need to pick out the ones I should read and recommend to junior programmers.

    Given that qualification, I recommend Gauss and Weinberg, Are Your Lights On?: How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is. Particularly for junior programmers who are moving from environments where the problem they're given really is the problem (e.g., academic assignments), to environments where the problem is starting to get fuzzy and ill-defined.

    It's a short book, and some of the examples are dated, but it's the kind of book that plants seeds.

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by davorg (Chancellor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 09:32 UTC

    Firstly I wanted to back up everyone else's plugs for "The Pragmatic Programmer". Everyone should read this book.

    And a great new book that I've just read is Karl Fogel's Producing Open Source Software. It covers everything that you need to know if you're at all involved in an Open Source software project - from technical infrastructure to political machinations. It's available online, but you should buy a copy anyway.

    --
    <http://dave.org.uk>

    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Nov 16, 2005 at 11:47 UTC
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by RicardoPortilho (Novice) on Nov 16, 2005 at 11:49 UTC
    "Hackers ans Painters" help me to understand why do I program in Perl, and why itīs good. A must read for programmers and managers either.
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by grinder (Bishop) on Nov 16, 2005 at 13:02 UTC

    Here's a classic text that no-one has mentioned yet: Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgement to Calculation by Joseph Weizenbaum. I notice that someone has stolen it from my bookshelf. Hmmm, that's the second time that has happened.

    An absolutely crucial read to anyone working in the field of computing (especially when you work with other people who don't).

    I'll also second anything written by Jon Bentley, especially Programming Pearls, More Programming Perls, and Efficient Programming.

    And to add a contrarian opinion, I was rather underwhelmed by The Pragmatic Programmer. Whether that means I'm pragmatic by nature, I don't know, but I didn't come away from with any new insights.

    • another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by etm117 (Pilgrim) on Nov 16, 2005 at 13:07 UTC
    Something I learned from a great mentor when I was an intern in college. This probably applies best to those of us who work for non-software companies, where your boss or boss's boss is not an former programmer and doesn't understand how things work...

    Find the management books on your boss's (and his or her's boss's desk), go sit in a Barnes & Noble for a couple of Saturday afternoons and read them. Even if they are awful, at least skim through them to get the jist of what your boss and the boss above them have read.

    While this will not make you a better programmer. It will help you understand how they think when they make a (in your mind: dumb) decision. If you know what they are thinking when making a bad decision, you have a better chance of steering them away from it tactfully without causing a big fuss. And that is the most important part, doing it tactfully such that you make your boss think they made the newer (better) decision themselves. It will keep your group running more smoothly because of the better decision and your boss will be happy. A happy boss gives good reviews and raises/bonuses. :-)

    I know this concept is in "The Mythical Man Month" but knowing exactly the books and ideas your boss reads will put you in a better position to change bad decisions to good decisions while not coming off as a know-it-all. (Remember, no boss likes to be shown up, even if they realize they were making the wrong decision... ego drives most people in that situation)

    As for the best (non Perl) programming book I have read... it is hands down the Sybase Performance and Tuning Guide. After reading that, I could have serious database level conversation with my DBA group and they trust my knowledge. Now when I work with DBAs, I have a sort of 'street-cred' and they usually trust my idea of what I want and do it instead of wasting time double-checking everyone's new table schemas and such.

      Let me second that (the Sybase book). And I'd like to praise the entire Sybase set of manuals (at least for Adaptive Server Enterprise). They rank among the best manuals I know for software. Everything I ever needed to know about Sybase, I was able to find - every detail documented. Granted, it's not always easy to find the right book to search, but the info is there.
      Perl --((8:>*
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by hawtin (Prior) on Nov 16, 2005 at 14:04 UTC

    How come no-one has mentioned "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" by Ableson and Sussman? I know that it predates Perl by a good few years but it still has the best explination of closures I have read in a book

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by derby (Abbot) on Nov 16, 2005 at 14:14 UTC

      Strong ++ for Strunk and White. No matter what you're writing, it will make it better. Some of its concise, direct, no nonsense advice might even be applied to writing Perl and certainly to POD.

      Original 1918 edition online here: Elements of Style.

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by gawatkins (Monsignor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 14:25 UTC

    I really enjoyed the Programming Microsoft Windows With C#. Charles Petzoid, IMHO, is a great author, his books are geared toward actually teaching what the code does, not how to configure application in a visual tool. The fact that entire book is from the stanpoint that a text editor is being used along with the .Net command line tools really seems to make the book language independent.

    Thanks,
    Greg
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on Nov 16, 2005 at 15:16 UTC
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by Your Mother (Canon) on Nov 16, 2005 at 18:20 UTC
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by samtregar (Abbot) on Nov 16, 2005 at 18:29 UTC
    Here's a favorite of mine that doesn't get a lot of press:

    Zen of Code Optimization by Michael Abrash.

    Code optimization is my favorite part of my job and that's a book that gives you the tools to do it right. And as a bonus, it's full of crazy 80x86 assembler!

    -sam

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by hossman (Prior) on Nov 16, 2005 at 18:38 UTC
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by swampyankee (Parson) on Nov 16, 2005 at 22:49 UTC

    I'll cast another vote for each of Programming Pearls and The Mythical Man Month.

    I'd also like to nominate Kernighan & Plauger, Elements of Programming Style, Kernighan, Software Tools, and Yourdon, Techniques of Prgram Structure and Design. One could argue that all of these last three are outdated, as they predate oop. One mustn't forget Knuth Art and Science of Computer Programming, although I suspect he will never finish it; I don't think volume 4 has made it onto store shelves, let alone 5 through 7.

    Slightly further afield, I recommend Petroski, To Engineer is Human, Karen Gordon's lovely books on grammar and punctuation, and Neville Shute, Slide Rule, which is not a history of an analogue computing device. I also support those monks nominating Strunk & White's Elements of Style.

    emc

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by leriksen (Curate) on Nov 16, 2005 at 23:28 UTC
    On the technical side two stand out above all others

    Generic Programming and the STL - I love this book because it is incredible well structured, leading the reader through quite complex material in an almost mathematical fashion - concept builds on concept, idea on idea. Sometimes the pace is a little slow - like watching a floor being laid down plank by plank, you want to start walking on it before its "really finished".

    The other is Design Patterns - a difficult book to read, because understanding only comes from putting these topics to use - so you need to return to this book several times as your understanding and experience grows. Again a precise, almost mathematical, treatment.

    For a non-technical selection, I have two as well. I guess these books made me a better person, rather than programmer.
    Collective Wisdom by Brent Kelly. I think you will have a lot of trouble finding it - it was published in Australia, written by a guy trying to understand why some people seem to always succeed, no matter how hard life gets for them. He'd lost his high-flying job, without warning, and was having trouble getting any work. And so he became depressed and spent the days watching daytime TV. Then it occurred to him that one of the presenters was always "up" - even though her troubled career was well known. He wondered how come she was able to always get her career going again each time. So he started asking successful Australians to talk about their lives, background, struggles and personal philosophy of life. He even had a previous prime minister and state premier (US equivalent is a president and state govenor, I guess). In the end he had enough material for a book about how these highly successful people dealt with personal challenges, and what they felt the future was for Australian youth. My favourite quote is by Peter Brock, a highly successful car racer and business man, who lost nearly everything, and bounced back. Asked his personal motto he replied
    "Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like hell."

    The second "life" book is a biography of Dr Fritjof Nansen - I dont have an ISBN, so it may again be hard to find. His resume might be summed up as "Drifter, Scientist, Explorer, Diplomat, Humanist" - reflecting the disparate phases of his life. After starting and abandoning many careers, he eventually became curator of a museum, where he discovered nerve features in the brain still called Nansen fibres. He was the first to cross Norway on ski's, first to cross Greenland, held the record for closest approach to the North Pole, played a role in Norway's separation from Sweden, became ambassador to England, and finally worked on resettling refugees from the Communist rise and famine in Russia, as part of the League of Nations. The lesson I take from this is "Follow your passion, because your greatest work will flow from there."

    And finally, my personal motto is from my old school
    "Spectamur Agendo" - By your actions you will be known.

    ...reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. - R P Feynmann

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by awohld (Hermit) on Nov 17, 2005 at 05:18 UTC
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by BerntB (Deacon) on Nov 17, 2005 at 13:33 UTC
    I don't know if I have much to add to the above (most are already mentioned).

    I wonder if "Object Thinking" (Msoft press) is good?

    It was recommended to me from one I generally trust, but it seemed a bit too heavy on the philosophy, so I thought I'd ask before buying? :-)

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by QM (Vicar) on Nov 17, 2005 at 17:56 UTC
    The Art of Computer Programming, especially volume 2. I didn't realize how many difficult computational issues had already been analyzed and understood in depth.

    Unix Haters, which makes me realize: There is always another edge case I've missed; and People will use my software in ways I didn't anticipate or intend, but I want it to behave well if possible.

    Unix Power Tools, which informed me on the origins of Perl, and what kind of tools are already available on the underlying OS (or might be missing, depending on the flavor, whims of sysadmins, or non-Unix systems).

    Calvin and Hobbes: Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons: Who said snowmen have just one head, or any, or match any particular description? When I get stuck on a problem, it helps to pick up something that makes me think outside the box. We're always making assumptions, and we don't always examine the assumptions, but sometimes blindly follow along. Try to color outside the lines sometimes, sorta like "fishnet" as a color.

    -QM
    --
    Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by gsiems (Chaplain) on Nov 17, 2005 at 21:43 UTC

    One book that I haven't seen mentioned yet is Practical Software Mainetance by Thomas Pigoski. It's about the only book that I have seen that focuses on maintaining existing systems. (Why is that there is so much literature devoted to building new systems and so little on maintaining existing ones when the majority of the work out there is presumably maintaining the existing ones?)

Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by Scott7477 (Chaplain) on Mar 13, 2006 at 07:13 UTC
    Two non-Perl books that have been very influential for me are "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", and "Consulting Demons" by Lewis Pinault.

    The first book is thought provoking in many areas, but the theme most relevant to programming is the author's meditations on
    craftsmanship and quality of work. The reason the title of the book includes "the art of motorcycle maintenance" is that the author uses motorcycles as a metaphor for any object produced by a person or group of people. The author maintains his own motorcycles because mechanics at a shop do a sloppy job because it's just a job to them. To him, the motorcycle is a finely crafted piece of engineering. I think that many Perl programmers (and open source programmers) feel the same way about the difference between software that is the product of careful craftsmanship and that which is the result of the ship-it-because-the-ship-date-is-here mentality.

    The book by Pinault is a memoir by a former management consultant who worked at Cap Gemini, BCG, and others. He pulls back the curtain to show the reader the reality of top-tier consulting firms' motivations, culture, and attitude towards clients. He writes from the perspective of having left the consulting field, and thus being able to expose some of the sordid details
    of the profession without fear of repercussion.

    I think this is a must read for anyone working in the corporate world as the influence of top-tier consulting firms in the world is enormous, and many monks are likely to have to deal with one or another of these organizations during their career. If you are considering a job offer from such a company, Pinault's insights into the pro's and con's of this field would be very useful to you.

    Scott
Re: Which non-Perl books made you a better (?:Perl )?Programmer?
by Tabari (Monk) on Aug 01, 2007 at 14:29 UTC
    It may be a bit wry, but I recently found : Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Jared Diamond) a very interesting book.

    Many software projects or organisations simply don't survive, if you happen to be in that situation, the richness of geographical, economic, historical ,biological and sociological perspectives described in this book may help you to reflect on your own experience.

    I don't think however that it will help you on your path towards mastership.

    Tabari

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