Pragmatic Thinking and Learning (Pragmatic Programmers Series) / Edition 1

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Software development happens in your head. Not in an editor, IDE, or designtool. You're well educated on how to work with software and hardware, but what about wetware—our own brains? Learning new skills and new technology is critical to your career, and it's all in your head.

In this book by Andy Hunt, you'll learn how our brains are wired, and how to take advantage of your brain's architecture. You'll learn new tricks and tipsto learn more, faster, and retain more of what you learn.

You need a pragmatic approach to thinking and learning. You need to Refactor Your Wetware.

Programmers have to learn constantly; not just the stereotypical new technologies, but also the problem domain of the application, the whims of the user community, the quirks of your teammates, the shifting sands of the industry, and the evolving characteristics of the project itself as it is built.

We'll journey together through bits of cognitive and neuroscience, learning and behavioral theory. You'll see some surprising aspects of how our brains work, and how you can take advantage of the system to improve your own learning and thinking skills.

In this book you'll learn how to:

  • Use the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition to become more expert
  • Leverage the architecture of the brain to strengthen different thinking modes
  • Avoid common "known bugs" in your mind
  • Learn more deliberately and more effectively
  • Manage knowledge more efficiently
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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."

—Dr. Paul V. Gestwicki, Professor & Director of Undergraduate Programs, Ball State University

"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."

—Oscar Del Ben, Software Developer

"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."

—Carol Saah, Java Software Developer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934356050
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Programmers, LLC, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 572,035
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Hunt is a programmer turned consultant, author and publisher. He co-authored the best-selling book "The Pragmatic Programmer," was one of the 17 founders of the Agile Alliance, and co-founded the Pragmatic Bookshelf, publishing award-winning and critically acclaimed books for software developers.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Again with the "Pragmatic"? 4

1.2 Consider the Context 5

1.3 Everyone Is Talking About This Stuff 6

1.4 Where We're Going 7

1.5 Grateful Acknowledgments 11

2 Journey from Novice to Expert 13

2.1 Novices vs. Experts 15

2.2 The Five Dreyfus Model Stages 17

2.3 Dreyfus at Work: Herding Racehorses and Racing Sheep 25

2.4 Using the Dreyfus Model Effectively 31

2.5 Beware the Tool Trap 38

2.6 Consider the Context, Again 41

2.7 Day-to-Day Dreyfus 43

3 This Is Your Brain 45

3.1 Your Dual-CPU Modes 46

3.2 Capture Insight 24x7 51

3.3 Linear and Rich Characteristics 55

3.4 Rise of the R-mode 63

3.5 R-mode Sees Forest; L-mode Sees Trees 68

3.6 DIY Brain Surgery and Neuroplasticity 70

3.7 How Do You Get There? 71

4 Get in Your Right Mind 73

4.1 Turn Up the Sensory Input 73

4.2 Draw on the Right Side 75

4.3 Engage an R-mode to L-mode Flow 80

4.4 Harvest R-mode Cues 92

4.5 Harvesting Patterns 102

4.6 Get It Right 110

5 Debug Your Mind 113

5.1 Meet Your Cognitive Biases 115

5.2 Recognize Your Generational Affinity 123

5.3 Codifying Your Personality Tendencies 133

5.4 Exposing Hardware Bugs 136

5.5 Now I Don't Know What to Think 140

6 Learn Deliberately 145

6.1 What Learning Is...and Isn't 145

6.2 Target SMART Objectives 149

6.3 Create a Pragmatic Investment Plan 154

6.4 Use Your Primary Learning Mode 158

6.5 Work Together, Study Together 164

6.6 Use Enhanced Learning Techniques 166

6.7 Read Deliberately with SQ3R 167

6.8 Visualize Insight with Mind Maps 171

6.9 Harness the Real Power of Documenting 178

6.10 Learn by Teaching 180

6.11 Take It to the Streets 182

7 Gain Experience 183

7.1Play in Order to Learn 183

7.2 Leverage Existing Knowledge 187

7.3 Embed Failing in Practice 189

7.4 Learn About the Inner Game 193

7.5 Pressure Kills Cognition 198

7.6 Imagination Overrides Senses 202

7.7 Learn It like an Expert 206

8 Manage Focus 209

8.1 Increase Focus and Attention 210

8.2 Defocus to Focus 216

8.3 Manage Your Knowledge 219

8.4 Optimize Your Current Context 226

8.5 Manage Interruptions Deliberately 232

8.6 Keep a Big Enough Context 239

8.7 How to Stay Sharp 243

9 Beyond Expertise 245

9.1 Effective Change 245

9.2 What to Do Tomorrow Morning 247

9.3 Beyond Expertise 248

A Photo Credits 253

B Bibliography 255

Index 265

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2010

    A highly researched book of brilliance

    Andy Hunt has always astounded me as a reader. His books are always well-thought, well delivered, and well researched. His writing style is fantastic to read and the excellently cited bibliography will give you enough reading material for months after finishing the book.

    The book is about teaching you how to problem solve, and become a pragmatic thinker. Hunt explains various material and techniques to improve your brain, and outlines what's possible and what concepts are just myths. He dives into personality types and "brain bugs" showing you how these emotions can be controlled to be productive and co-operative in a team, and stop you from stressing out over other team members who can't control.

    Hunt has successfully taught me to learn all over again. I would highly recommend this book to all programmers, managers and PR. Pragmatic Thinking and Learning is an excellent edition to the Pragmatic Programming Series, long live pragprog.

    Rating: 9.5/10

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  • Posted November 6, 2008

    Always learning? Look here for help

    I enjoying learning and thinking, they are some of the activities that lead me into software development in the first place. I was very interested to find this book on two of my favorite subjects and gave it a try.<BR/><BR/>Not all of the ideas are new. I do a few things that are mentioned and have done some others in the past. The real value to me was the new idea juxtaposed with the things I¿m familiar with and a better overall perspective of the thinking and learning process. <BR/><BR/>Some of the more interesting bits, to me, were how to engage more of the non logical parts of my brain in my thinking, debugging the mind, the use of the Dreyfus Model of skills, the use of mind maps and some of the general organizational tools.<BR/><BR/>I encourage everyone in the software industry to pick the book up and give it a try. There is one small problem with the book, if you could call it that. Following the principle of writing what you know about, the book includes many examples geared enough towards software engineering that I¿m can¿t recommend my parents should buy a copy. Though, I might loan them mine for a little while and see if my work will buy me another copy.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Marvelous read.. astounding

    I've always heard that a mans prime is from the age of 18 to 25. I worried about that and weather or not I was ever going to be able to learn like I once was able to. This book is exactly what I needed and the timing couldn't have been better. Within 3 days of purchase I am please to say it was one of the best reads cover to cover I have had in ages. I have the strength and courage to take on new programming endeavours and for that I am in debt to you and the Pragmatic team. I would highly recommend this to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

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