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Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age 1st Edition
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About the Author
Paul Graham , designer of the new Arc language, was the creator of Yahoo Store, the first web-based application. His technique for spam filtering inspired most current filters. He has a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia in Florence.
- Item Weight : 11.3 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1449389554
- ISBN-13 : 978-1449389550
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (June 15, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #165,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Hackers and painters is a book which reads like a collection of random essays. The first few chapters is about the start of computing and about childhood while later chapters are about both starting a startup and socioeconomic policies. The last chapters are about programming languages where he strongly argues for lisp.
Anyone so have read one of his essays know how well articulate Graham can be and the this book is no exception. The chapters themselves are really well written even though he sometimes argues unconvincingly.
In the end I did not feel that this book was anything else than a collection of essays and while some are interesting, it does not save the entire book. A stronger focus and some narrative between the chapters would improve this book immensely.
Oh the chapter about nerds! oh my. Growing up a severe bookworm I always felt traditional schooling was the kid version of the shawshank redemption. Apparently I wasn't the only one.
What this Paul fellow is doing with his ycombinator startup monopoly in Silicon Valley is fixing the inefficiencies of a broken school system and sharing the education on his blog and youtube.
If you haven't seen Stanford CS -183b (his is lecture 3) it is a refreshing reminder of where the focus should be ~ learning how to create things people actually want not gaming and tricking the system with a bunch of hype.
The first article is triggered by Pauls growing up and asks why nerds are unpopular when you are younger. He explores memories of his childhood and tries to clarify them. He continues with a article after which the book is named. He explains that he has *some* education in painting and explores the similarity between hacking and painting.
The next couple chapters are an attack to taboos in general. What can we say? Why can we say that? And he claims that hackers are more comfortable breaking taboos, breaking the rules.
In the article "The road ahead" he is making predictions related to web-based server software, of which some are insightful (or were insightful). He claims that server-based software will be the future and the recent years have certainly shown that to be true.
The next couple of articles relate to capitalism and I did disagree with a lot of the statements he made in here. Though, often his points are carefully crafts.. here I found them simplistic. It annoyed me and even thought about stop reading it. The well-written-ness made me continue though.
The middle of the book contains an article about spam. This one doesn't fit well in the book and could have better left out, in my opinion.
The last articles in the book relate to programming languages and were fun to read. Paul is a serious Lisp fan and tries to argue about programming languages in such a way that it always supports his chose of lisp. He does make a couple of good points.
All in all, I've enjoyed reading "Hackers & Painters". Its an easy read with interesting strong opinions from Paul. I'd rate it between 3 and 4 stars, mainly because the amount of learning is not high. Though, I remember some articles got me laughing out loud, so decided to go for a 4. Worth reading if you like strong opinions relate to hacker cultures.
I recently decided to purchase and read Graham's book, "Hackers & Painters", to casually read through some of his favorite essays. This book is comprised of 15 of Graham's essays pulled from his blog, which he updates several times a year. The topics of his essays are diverse, but all represent a hacker's point of view.
What makes this book worth reading is that you get inside of Paul Graham's mind. He has an amazingly clear writing style (one that I am extremely fond of), and is able to walk you through his thoughts and arguments in a clear manner.
If you're at all interested in entrepreneurship, technology, or programming, I would give this book a read. It can be read casually in a day or so, and will make you think deeply about the topics discussed for weeks afterwards.
Top reviews from other countries
If you're a fan of his writing then this is definitely worth picking up.
It's always great to read about PG's thoughts surrounding start-ups and what he learned when he started Viaweb.
Se você é programador, LEIA, provavelmente vai ser seu livro favorito.
You can get really interesting philosophical smell from this writing.
The autor really loves what he does and gives you real high level knowledge from his vast and deep experience in computing.
Really good for picking chapters in a random manner.
I loved reading it.
--Sounds familiar? Well...I BORROWED (read 'stole'). Never knew how "Unconscious Incompetent" I was...how big the "Dunning–Kruger effect" was on me.
Wish I would have read it in the days I started coding...
Anyway, it's still better that I didn't miss it totally. I believe I still have "quite" an amount of "rest of my days".