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The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers (Robert C. Martin Series) [Paperback]

by Robert C. Martin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 23, 2011 9780137081073 978-0137081073 1

Programmers who endure and succeed amidst swirling uncertainty and nonstop pressure share a common attribute: They care deeply about the practice of creating software. They treat it as a craft. They are professionals.


In The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers, legendary software expert Robert C. Martin introduces the disciplines, techniques, tools, and practices of true software craftsmanship. This book is packed with practical advice–about everything from estimating and coding to refactoring and testing. It covers much more than technique: It is about attitude. Martin shows how to approach software development with honor, self-respect, and pride; work well and work clean; communicate and estimate faithfully; face difficult decisions with clarity and honesty; and understand that deep knowledge comes with a responsibility to act.


Readers will learn

  • What it means to behave as a true software craftsman
  • How to deal with conflict, tight schedules, and unreasonable managers
  • How to get into the flow of coding, and get past writer’s block
  • How to handle unrelenting pressure and avoid burnout
  • How to combine enduring attitudes with new development paradigms
  • How to manage your time, and avoid blind alleys, marshes, bogs, and swamps
  • How to foster environments where programmers and teams can thrive
  • When to say “No”–and how to say it
  • When to say “Yes”–and what yes really means


Great software is something to marvel at: powerful, elegant, functional, a pleasure to work with as both a developer and as a user. Great software isn’t written by machines. It is written by professionals with an unshakable commitment to craftsmanship. The Clean Coder will help you become one of them–and earn the pride and fulfillment that they alone possess.

Frequently Bought Together

The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers (Robert C. Martin Series) + Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship + The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Price for all three: $98.40

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Editorial Reviews


“‘Uncle Bob’ Martin definitely raises the bar with his latest book. He explains his expectation for a professional programmer on management interactions, time management, pressure, on collaboration, and on the choice of tools to use. Beyond TDD and ATDD, Martin explains what every programmer who considers him- or herself a professional not only needs to know, but also needs to follow in order to make the young profession of software development grow.”

–Markus Gärtner

Senior Software Developer

it-agile GmbH


“Some technical books inspire and teach; some delight and amuse. Rarely does a technical book do all four of these things. Robert Martin’s always have for me and The Clean Coder is no exception. Read, learn, and live the lessons in this book and you can accurately call yourself a software professional.”

–George Bullock

Senior Program Manager

Microsoft Corp.


“If a computer science degree had ‘required reading for after you graduate,’ this would be it. In the real world, your bad code doesn’t vanish when the semester’s over, you don’t get an A for marathon coding the night before an assignment’s due, and, worst of all, you have to deal with people. So, coding gurus are not necessarily professionals. The Clean Coder describes the journey to professionalism . . . and it does a remarkably entertaining job of it.”

–Jeff Overbey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The Clean Coder is much more than a set of rules or guidelines. It contains hard-earned wisdom and knowledge that is normally obtained through many years of trial and error or by working as an apprentice to a master craftsman. If you call yourself a software professional, you need this book.”

–R. L. Bogetti

Lead System Designer

Baxter Healthcare

About the Author

Robert C. Martin (“Uncle Bob”) has been a programmer since 1970. He is founder and president of Object Mentor, Inc., an international firm of highly experienced software developers and managers who specialize in helping companies get their projects done. Object Mentor offers process improvement consulting, object-oriented software design consulting, training, and skill development services to major corporations worldwide. Martin has published dozens of articles in various trade journals and is a regular speaker at international conferences and trade shows.


He has authored and edited many books, including:


  • Designing Object Oriented C++ Applications Using the Booch Method
  • Patterns Languages of Program Design 3
  • More C++ Gems
  • Extreme Programming in Practice
  • Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices
  • UML for Java Programmers
  • Clean Code

A leader in the industry of software development, Martin served for three years as editor-in-chief of the C++ Report, and he served as the first chairman of the Agile Alliance.


Robert is also the founder of Uncle Bob Consulting, LLC, and cofounder with his son Micah Martin of The Clean Coders LLC.

Product Details

  • Series: Robert C. Martin Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (May 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780137081073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137081073
  • ASIN: 0137081073
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a long talk with a software mentor May 30, 2011
This book is good at providing a general overview of what it means to be a software professional. Lots of good advice and provides many resources and a general framework for thinking about the subjects he presents.

Sometimes the author presents strategies very specific to him that wouldn't work for me. For example, I tried the pomodoro method before and had mixed results. I think readers would benefit more looking at the goal (better time management) and finding a methodology that works for them to accomplish that goal.

He is very bullish on unit tests, stating that there is no longer and controversy over TDD. As a huge fan of unit tests, I find many places I have worked at have very little interest in unit testing or don't see any real benefit.

The book is also very strongly against being in the Flow to program which I found interesting. This is pretty much 100% the opposite of everything else I have ever heard/read.

He is also against listening to music while programming. He provides a weird example where while listening to Pink Floyd his code comments had Pink Floyd references. The author has a tendency to confuse something that is true for him ("I don't listen to music while programming") to a general universal rule ("Programmers shouldn't listen to music while programming").

Most programmers I know who listen to music do so as white noise. For instance, I listen to techno many times while programming. I don't like techno but the droning drum servies to drown out the office chitter chatter at my current gig.

Like Clean Code, I don't always agree with the author but provides good food for thought and is worth the read!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is no try! June 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In "The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers," Uncle Bob Martin is his usual, controversial self, but he is often convincing. One upshot is that I will never again tell a manager that "I'll try" to hit an overly ambitious deadline: I will either commit or refuse to commit, or offer an estimate of the odds of success. On the topic of deadlines, Martin observes that project managers and "suits" regard completion dates as commitments, while programmers tend to regard them as estimates, usually overly optimistic estimates. He makes the case that it is the professional duty of programmers to come up with realistic estimates and then stick to their guns.

Another good point Martin makes is that a professional programmer should take the responsibility to hone his or her skills outside working hours. He recommends working a focused and productive 40 hours a week, and then spending 20 hours a week on career development: reading, learning other languages, even practicing programming "katas".

One of the most controversial claims Martin makes is that getting into "the zone" - that mental state of total concentration for which programmers strive - is a bad idea, because it results in too narrow a focus. Personally, I'm not convinced. I think that the problems of focused programming can be remedied by being sure to take a big-picture view from time to time, and also by code reviews.

A problem with this book is Martin's use of overstatement to indicate emphasis. So when he says "never, never, never" agree to meet a deadline by working extra hard and long, he means "hardly ever". His insistence that agreeing to accelerate effort inevitably result in low quality code just does not wash.
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94 of 114 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. June 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall, I would say this book was disappointing. Admittedly, I had high expectation after reading "Clean Code". Perhaps it was the rather too personal anecdotes that initially turned me off. I would say you are better of reading "Pragmatic Programmer" and a book on Scrum XP and software project estimation.
As other reviews have said, it feels like a collection of blog articles published in a book.

Chapter 1. Professionalism
The book got off to a bad start for me... the first chapter on professionalism:
"Do the math. In a week there are 168 hours. Give your employer 40, and your career another 20. That leaves 108. Another 56 for sleep leaves 52 for everything else.

Perhaps you don't want to make that kind of commitment, That's fine, but should not think of yourself as a professional. Professionals spend time caring for their profession."

Really? 20 hours per week; so if you spend 10 per week reading blogs, listening to podcasts, doing kata's etc... you are no longer a professional? While I agree, you have to take personal responsibility for your career, asserting that you have to spend 20 hours a week seems over the top to me. Perhaps the author wishes to be controversial and overly opinionated to provoke debate?

Chapter 4. Coding.
The section on listening to music while coding has a truly bizarre anecdote:
"One day I went back into a module that I been editing while listening to the opening sequence of The Wall. The comments in that code contained lyrics from the piece, and editorial notations about dive bombers and crying babies."

I'm guessing lots of people listen to music while coding without a problem.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of best-practices made easy to read
I found a great wealth of knowledge to be gained out of this book. In the end it did a good job of indicting both myself and the company I work for in what we have been failing at,... Read more
Published 6 days ago by RagingGeek
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book about attitude
Although it has the word “code” in the title, this book is more about the programmer’s personality: how to get to a place where you can be responsible and enjoy it.
Published 9 days ago by Vlad GURDIGA
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any professional developer
While I don't agree with everything in this book, I think most points the author makes are valid.
It can help anyone to get to a higher level of doing your job the right way.
Published 20 days ago by Rik D'huyvetters
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent guide for devs and biz types
After 15 years in the industry I still managed to learn a number of things. Too much focus on tdd but that can be overlooked
Published 1 month ago by M. Takata
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for provoking discussion
I suggested my team read this book (most did), and it was a great starting point for collaborative creating our own developer code of conduct for work. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic guide on how to become a true professional
While I don't fully agree with everything that he brings up most of it rings very true to me. I recommend this book to each and every one of us that either are or want to be... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Henriksson Mikael
5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoyed Clean Code you will like this
This book is some sort of the authors diary. He writes about things that he done and saw in his 40+ years career as a programmer. He draws conclusions after each story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Soea
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Recent Graduates
I'm 3 months into my first post-university job, and this book has helped me approach my co-workers, job, and craft in a more professional way. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Influential Read
Robert's experiences influenced a change in my behaviors as an employed professional. This book contains many common sense tips that help to define the true role of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nelson
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing and not worth my time
Based on other writings from the author, he does understand what Professional Programming is about. While I agree with his recommendations about professionalism in programming,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rob van der Heij
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