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Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters: What I Learned in Ten Years as a Microsoft Programmer Paperback – December 26, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (December 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595161286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595161287
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,089,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

First-time author Barr describes his ten years of experience as a software developer for Microsoft. Beginning with a detailed account of the hiring process, especially the interviewing methodology for new hires, Barr goes on to trace not only his career but the history of software development over the past quarter-century. He discusses Microsoft's role in software development, especially its evangelism the process of convincing other programmers to write software that interfaces with another which is a major factor in Microsoft's success. Barr compares the company to competitors such as Linux and details issues such as company organization, benefits, stock options, and public perception, both positive and negative. A good glossary gets the novice through the technical jargon. Barr, who discloses that he no longer works there but owns "a good chunk of Microsoft stock," succeeds in being as unbiased as possible. A good choice for business collections in large public and academic libraries. Steven J. Mayover, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Author

For more information about the book, including the origin of the title, the full text of the book online, comments about the book from Microsoft employees, and an extra chapter not included in the printed version, visit the website at proudlyserving.com. Feel free to email me at adam@proudlyserving.com. Thanks! -- Adam Barr

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Weinberg on May 22, 2001
While the beginning of the book was an interesting read with the author talking about Microsoft's hiring practices, the inner workings of the company and his experience at SoftImage, a company acquired by Microsoft, I felt that the book went downhill quickly from there.
At exactly page 146, I felt like I was reading a different book. Unfortunately, it was a book that I did not enjoy nearly as much as the first 145 pages. From this point onward, Mr. Barr felt the need to write a long drawn out essay about the history of the computer industry peppered with comments about how it affected Microsoft.
I have read this history countless other times in books much more entertaining and comprehensive (i.e. Fire in the Valley) than this book.
The author supposedly worked on two different versions of Windows NT and Windows 2000, but there was no talk whatsoever of what it was like to work on those teams. I definitely expected more information about what specifically went on inside Microsoft (from an insider's point of view) rather than Microsoft's relation to the industry which is public knowledge.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sundar Narasimhan on March 16, 2003
Adam Barr writes well. I found myself agreeing with several of his analyses: esp. his dissection of MSFT's evangelistic activities and his keen understanding of the api-itis that afflicts MSFT products today.
The book is in four parts. The first is a look at MSFT hiring and interview processes, which is followed by a description of his time at Softimage (which includes a brilliant dissection of type-1 through type-4 demos), then a long and meandering recounting of his early involvement with computers and then an equally meandering final part which is a compilation of his observations about MSFT and the industry in general. I found the first two interesting enough to read, but found the final two not as compelling. He completely mis-understands the point about middleware and Java (see Lou Gerstner's book "Who said elephants can't dance?" for a different definition of middleware and business strategy). Perhaps his narrow, unappealing and unfocussed second half meanders so much because he didn't take his chances to widen his own career within MSFT as a manager or PM.
Like Adam with his interviewees, I agonized over whether or not I should give this book a "four" or a "three" star rating :). Ultimately, I had to go with the lower rating because as a developer, I was hoping to read about what "he" had actually "learnt as a developer" when I picked up the book. Unfortunately, while he talks about a whole lot of things (such as the importance of testing for product quality, and the importance of programmers getting a 'life' as they mature, the contributions of MSFT to the open source movement, etc. etc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sky Kruse on July 13, 2001
Can't fault the author for trying, really - this is a reasonably entertaining tale and conveys a number of interesting points along the way. And frankly, I bought it for the title and the amusing things I'd heard, rather than an expectation of great insight. As long as that's your level of interest, I suspect you'll do fine. There were some good observations made herein about Microsoft's road to power (including why Win95 adoption was so crucial, which will be mirrored shortly by WinXP) and some dubious ones (like why APIs are good but middleware is bad). A mixed bag, and definitely one written in a fashion that makes its name ring rtue, but for all that it certainly has its moments.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2001
This is a great book for anyone who really wants to know what it's like, and was like, on the inside at Microsoft. If you want to know how the world's most successful software company really operates from a person who has been in the trenches, as opposed to some breathless overhyped narrative by a "writer", then get this book. Adam Barr's book is an entertaining mix of some history, some common sense debunking of a few of the myths that exist about Microsoft, and some real reflection on the way that the company operates. Microsoft's challenge moving forward will be to preserve the small company values that made it so successful while addressing some of the real issues raised in this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2001
Verified Purchase
In this book you'll find the story of Microsoft and SoftImage in the 1990s, from a software developer's point of view. I worked at Microsoft myself for most of this time and I can say that the book is accurate and gives a good sense of the place, and of the problems facing software developers. I especially liked the detailed discussion of hiring practices. In the software business the assets walk out the door each night and a software company is only as good as its employees - hence the critical importance of hiring and retaining good ones.
The author includes a history of the personal computer industry and some thoughts on the problems facing Microsoft now, from court battles to public opinion. If you want to get a sense of what it's like inside the company, this is a really good book. I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to you.
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