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The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition Anl Sub Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0932633422
ISBN-10: 0932633420
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Editorial Reviews

Review

I recently reread parts of The Psychology of Computer Programming that seemed very radical to me when I first read them in 1971. As I look around at today's programmers, I can see what a large, beneficial effect that work has had. --Richard Mateosian, IEEE Micro

The Psychology of Computer Programming . . . was the first major book to address programming as an individual and team effort, and became a classic in the field. . . . Despite, or perhaps even because of, the perspective of 1971, this book remains a must-read for all software development managers. --J.J. Hirschfelder, Computing Reviews

Whether you're part of the generation of the 1960's and 1970's, or part of the current generation . . . you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this wonderful book. Once you've digested it, you should then track down all [twenty] of the other Weinberg textbooks published by Dorset House. . . . Every one of them is a jewel. --Ed Yourdon, Cutter IT E-Mail Advisor

About the Author

Internationally respected for his innovative thinking on both human and technical issues, GERALD M. WEINBERG focuses on ways to help people improve their productivity. A highly influential author, lecturer, and consultant, he draws on experiences gained in all three roles, as well as from a long technical career as a software developer and researcher.

Gerald M. Weinberg has written on topics ranging from computer systems and programming to education and problem solving -- and most recently, on writing, itself, and fiction! He is author, coauthor, or editor of more than twenty Dorset House books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House; Anl Sub edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633422
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The silver anniversary edition is an updated version of the classic work originally published in 1971. How can this still be relevant? Easy: people haven't really changed.

Weinberg did something courageous in his updated text. Instead of whitewashing history, he let his original text stand, unedited, and simply commented on each chapter separately. The approach worked for me, making an already entertaining text a joy to read.

What is all this about? Weinberg writes "This book has only one major purpose--to trigger the beginning of a new field of study: computer programming as a human activity, or, in short, the psychology of computer programming. All other goals are subservient to that one." Indeed there has been much study of computer programming as an art and as a discipline for individuals and for groups. This book may represent the beginning of that noble effort.

Don't be put off by the technology Weinberg occasionally uses within the text. At the time of this book's writing, FORTRAN, PL/1, and APL were in common use and OS/360 was the defacto standard. If echoes of the past bother you, ignore them! Instead, concentrate on Weinberg's main topic: the people who develop software systems. For example, consider the following: "...the average programming manager would prefer that a project be estimated at twelve months and take twelve than the same project be estimated at six months and take nine. This is an area where psychological study could be rewarding, but there are indications from other situations that it is not the mean length of estimated time that annoys people, but, rather, the standard deviation in actual time taken." Of course this notion applies as much today as it did then.
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Format: Paperback
What prompted me to buy and read this book was Steve McConnel's recommendation in Code Complete. After reading Psychology from cover to cover, I have become a Weinberg fan!
The book is a true jewel - not deficient, not redundant. Every sentence means a lot, and carries insight and pure wisdom. The book demands your utmost attention. Weinberg speaks with precision, simplicity, grace, and wisdom. I found myself quoting him very often! The anecdotes are memorable and relevant - you'll find yourself narrating them to others!
Things I liked most: The entire section on "Egoless Programming". The first three parts of the book are amazingly relevant, although the book has been written over 25 years back (I didn't even exist back then!)
Things I liked least: The last part "Programming Tools" seems to be the only part that's dated. It may be more meaningful to someoone who has experienced such tools and languages.
Now I look forward to reading Weinberg's other books, including "Becoming a Technical Leader", "The Secrets of Consulting", and the "Quality Software Management" series.
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Format: Paperback
This book has a wealth of information on how programmers work when in groups, and is a useful read for both managers and individual contributors alike. Many of the fuzzier, less-quantifiable people issues that affect programmers are covered well.
However, it really suffers in three ways:
- All of the examples and technology details are dated to the point of distraction.
- The typography appears to be photocopies of the original text, and really looks terrible. Couldn't they have reset it?
- Not a lot of concrete advice.
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By A Customer on November 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you need to inspire creative, independent people to work together, you'll learn a lot from this book. Smart, sensible, and non-obvious desc riptions of what makes a good team.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the 70s, system programmers from local industry flocked to SUNY-Binghamton to take Gerry's course, and they gave it rave reviews. A quarter-century later and still involved in relatively complex programming, I decided that I might find some value from reading "Psychology." Pleased to find that there was a new "silver anniversary" edition, I bit, tasted, and finished it -- and found little of any value.

Gerry pretty-much summed it up himself in his Epilogue when he quotes a reviewer who spent a delightful afternoon reading it, but finding little of value in the book. I, also, enjoyed the parts that reflected the times.

My biggest disappointment was with the new material. The approach taken was to add retrospectives at the ends of sections, but the thoughts-after are, well, after thoughts. And, I was bitter that the author or the publisher didn't take the occasion of the new edition to clean up the errors and typos left in the 25-year-old book. Too tired, I guess.

I did get continuing chuckles at prospects of 60s commune-style programming groups self-organizing, self-planning, and self-directing. Occasionally, a big laugh.
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Format: Paperback
The book's present-day relevance was amazing. The similarities in the behavior and interaction of the programmers of today and the programmers of old provides a unique perspective. This perspective highlights what makes some individual programmers and programming teams succeed regardless of the techology or decade they're working in.
Because of my background in psychology and my more recently acquired expertise in programming, this book quickly found a special resonance with me. Weinberg's grasp on both programmer attitudes and the psychological framework make this book one-of-a-kind.
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