The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition, by Gerald M. Weinberg ISBN 0932633420
Five out of five stars
It is not all that far away from the silver anniversary of the publication of this silver anniversary edition. Therefore, there is enough elapsed time for an effective look-back and what was a look-back.
It is a fact that the effective shelf life of computing books is generally limited to the number of years that you can count on the fingers of one hand, excluding the thumb. This one is an exception, the content is timeless. It is true even though many of the processes and tactics for running a program listed in this book will make no sense to the modern programmer.
What is covered in this book is exactly what is stated in the title. It is not about the technical details of programming, but about the social, political and psychological aspects of the profession. In one sense, Weinberg’s points are even more valid now than they were when the book was first written. He describes programming as a social activity where problems in coding were discussed and solved. At the time of publication, the large group project was in its infancy, it was possible for the lone coder to create a working project.
In the modern world of programs composed of millions of lines of code and no person understanding any but a small fraction of that, group projects are essential. That means effective communication is essential, success or failure is based more on the quality of the applied psychology of the group rather than the technical skills of the coders.
This was, is and will continue to be a great book on computer programming. It is also an excellent book for managers of programmers, there is a lot of sound material on how to manage coders, people that rely on creative insight rather than simply grinding away at a problem.