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Secrets of the Rock Star Programmers: Riding the IT Crest 1st Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071490832
ISBN-10: 0071490833
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ed Burns is a senior software engineer at Sun Microsystems and a well-known personality in the enterprise IT profession. He is the author of McGraw-Hill's JavaServer Faces:The Complete Reference.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (March 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071490833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071490832
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,102,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book doesn't have any code tricks. It is just a series of interviews with people who have been instrumental in the software and IT industry over the past twenty years with an emphasis on more recent contributors. It mainly goes over how they look at problems and how they solve problems, with a good mix between their approaches to hard and soft skills. If you are a student doing a paper on the history of computing I'd say it would probably give you a pretty good look at some of the personalities involved in computing on which it is difficult to find much written. For example, James Gosling is the father of the Java language, but it is difficult to find any information on his approach to technical problems and his personality in general. This book gives you that kind of insight on Gosling and on other specific personalities that are leaders in the IT field. The final chapter on Weird Al Yankovic is rather strange, since he has nothing to do with the IT field and his intro has his qualifications listed as "The Programmer's Rock Star". I'm not sure how true that is, but it is an amusing chapter.

It's not for everyone, but it is a rare source for this kind of information.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book a great read for a variety of reasons. I don't have an IT background but I enjoy reading about groundbreakers and top performers in any field -- hence my interest in the book. The author does a great job of getting at why these folks are RockStars and how they all think about programming and software. But it also does a great job of getting at the issues they face that we all share -- how do I keep up with the deluge of information in my field, how do I stay current with trends and changes in the industry, how do I maintain a work/life balance, etc? And for those with an IT background, there is some very technical information as well. And with the great interview with Weird Al at the end, there is something here for everyone. You'll find value in this book if you don't know COBOL from Ajax, are in CS 101, or are a 20 year industry veteran.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book because I liked the idea very much. I gave it 3 stars because some of the questions and info he presents seemed to be irrelevant. For example, he has these general questions he asks all the programmers (in addition to the unique questions). Questions like, "how important is it to be aware of your own ignorance?", "how important is it to be thinking about how you're thinking?", just strike me as rhetoric and a bit "boring". Also on each programmer he has a profile page like name, degree, etc. he has some irrelevant things like "Birth Order"... Birth Order?? C'mon man. Also, it would be more interesting if he were to interview some more recognizable programmers (maybe Bjarne Stroustroup that created C++, or people that made some significant technology like Craig from craig's list or Sean Fanning from Napster or the guys at Google, or maybe even Bill Gates). Alot of the people he interviewed I just didn't recognize. Also, it seems he has a bias towards the java world. What was a bit irritating is that at the end of the book he interviews Weird Al Yankovic. Again, I just felt this was irrelevant information to the subject at hand. Overall, I'm not dissapointed I got this book.. I just guess I wasn't completely satisfied after reading it.
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Format: Paperback
After reading the book, I'm not quite certain what qualifies a programmer as being of rock star quality, and I'm not sure why "secrets" was chosen to describe the contents of the book.

Perhaps 'an informal exploration of how some rather well-known programmers approach their craft' would have been a more appropriate title for this book, though I freely admit that it is far less catchy!

I did enjoy reading the interviews, and probably would have rated the book higher if the cover and title were less... sensationalist.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a full time programmer but I am in charge of a programming team who must trust that I know what I'm talking about when I suggest different approaches and different technologies. Even though the only code that I can get working on my own in a number of languages is a 'Hello World' script, I must still be able to provide insight on the programming for our application. This is not easy when most of the books on programming are filled with code. In order to stay current, I try to get my hands on whatever accessible content there is. 'Dreaming in Code' by Scott Rosenberg wasn't bad. The author did the best he could to make the building of a PIM read like a John Grisham novel. But the focus was narrow and it took me longer than expected to get through. Not the case with 'Secrets of the Rock Star Programmer.' This book has 14 interviews with top programmers who discuss what they were thinking when they each decided to change the world. Thankfully there's no code. But it's clearly written by a programmer and for programmers. Much was over my head but I'd rather have more in-depth, detailed info than something that was made for the lowest common denominator. There's a pretty neat chart in the back that indexes the commonly asked questions with each subject and that makes it easier than a traditional index in finding sections that are relevant. Another cool feature is how the author points out the 'character attributes' of his subjects along with his own 'observations' in a sidebar at various points. My first read-through basically consisted of just reading these. The bottom line is that there aren't many books that I can read that provide a thorough overview of the programming world. I browse the computer shelves at the bookstore every week looking for something like this, usually to no avail.Read more ›
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