- Series: Pragmatic Programmers
- Paperback: 252 pages
- Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (November 7, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934356050
- ISBN-13: 978-1934356050
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware (Pragmatic Programmers) 1st Edition
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"I’ve recommended it to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to me. I was familiar with some of the ideas and techniques from my various readings on the science of learning, but its invaluable to have them gathered in one concise book, especially one geared towards developers."
"I’ve always been looking for something to help me improve my learning skills, but i’ve never found anything as effective as this book."
"Absolutely terrific! I’m only beginning the 3rd chapter and I’ve already found the book VERY, VERY useful. It makes me look at what I am doing and how I do it in a different light."
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Top Customer Reviews
Now that I have that portion off my chest, I will discus the book as a whole. The authors give a huge amount of tips and advice for improving our thinking. Much of the book is focused on coxing the L-mode (creative) part of our thinking to come forward. All the advice is objective, with a huge amount of source references. It is plainly stated by the authors that not all of the tips/advice will be useful to all users, but instead suggest that you try as many as you can and use those that have positive results.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in become more objective and valid in their thinking. Since reading the book, I feel I am able to incorporate new knowledge much easier. I can also recall information with increased ease. The principles covered in this book can be applied to all thinking and learning, but the information in the book is given largely through computer/programming analogy. This may cause it to be harder to understand for those unfamiliar with these topics.
This reviewer enjoyed Hunt's discussion on the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, which outlines five discrete stages through which one must pass on their journey: the novice, the advanced beginner, the competent, the proficient, and the expert. It is always interesting to read about this journey, and although many seem to choose five stages for models, somehow it makes sense to do so (this reviewer for example usually thinks of the career of a software professional as a series of progressive stages: coder, programmer, software developer, software engineer, and software architect). Hunt follows up this presentation writing that "by misunderstanding the Dreyfus model, we can rob them of their expertise. It's actually easy to derail an expert and ruin their performance. All you have to do is force them to follow the rules". The author continues by stating that "intuition is the tool of the expert in all fields, but organizations tend to discount it because they mistakenly feel that intuition 'isn't scientific' or 'isn't reasonable'. So, we tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater and don't listen to the experts to whom we pay so much. Conversely, we also tend to take novices and throw them in the deep end of the development pool - far over their heads." To sum up his points, Hunt states that "this is the progression from novice to expert, away from detached and absolute rules and into intuition and (remember systems thinking?) eventually part of the system itself". Very well said.
The chapter entitled "Get in Your Right Mind" was also well done. After a high-level discussion on the different modes of brain processing in the previous chapter, Hunt continues by investigating how these modes might apply to the reader. Contrary to some other reviewers here, this reviewer enjoyed some of the author's sidebars, including one named "Sh**ty First Drafts", in which Hunt shares a quote from author Anne Lamott: "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a sh**ty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it". And although much of the information in the chapter entitled "Learn Deliberately" might be found elsewhere (including from one's own experience), Hunt well presents information on why one's ability to learn might be the most important element of success, starting with what learning is and is not actually all about: "Many HR departments haven't figured this out yet, but in reality, it's less important to know Java, Ruby, .NET, or the iPhone SDK. There's always going to be a new technology or a new version of an existing technology to be learned. The technology itself isn't as important: it's the constant learning that counts". This reviewer especially appreciated the author's follow-up on this topic later in the chapter, where he states that "one major difference between knowledge investments and financial investments is that all knowledge investments have some value. Even if you never use a particular technology on the job, it will impact the way you think and solve problems".
Can't stay focused? Try some simultaneous sensory input. Experiencing too many distractions? Organize your thinking with context in mind. Need to convey a task description to someone really well? Find out where they are on the novice to expert spectrum.
These are but a few of the areas that are treated. On top of that, practical "Next Actions" are offered to get the reader up and making improvements right away.
All in all, the book is very insightful, well explained and readable.
I would recommend this to anyone in software at any level. Product was delivered quickly and in perfect condition.
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