"The computer world is like an intellectual Wild West, in which you can shoot anyone you wish with your ideas, if you're willing to risk the consequences. " --from Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham
We are living in the computer age, in a world increasingly designed and engineered by computer programmers and software designers, by people who call themselves hackers. Who are these people, what motivates them, and why should you care?
Consider these facts: Everything around us is turning into computers. Your typewriter is gone, replaced by a computer. Your phone has turned into a computer. So has your camera. Soon your TV will. Your car was not only designed on computers, but has more processing power in it than a room-sized mainframe did in 1970. Letters, encyclopedias, newspapers, and even your local store are being replaced by the Internet.
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham, explains this world and the motivations of the people who occupy it. In clear, thoughtful prose that draws on illuminating historical examples, Graham takes readers on an unflinching exploration into what he calls "an intellectual Wild West."
The ideas discussed in this book will have a powerful and lasting impact on how we think, how we work, how we develop technology, and how we live. Topics include the importance of beauty in software design, how to make wealth, heresy and free speech, the programming language renaissance, the open-source movement, digital design, internet startups, and more.
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.
Table of Contents
Why Nerds Are Unpopular: Their minds are not on the game
Hackers and Painters: Hackers are makers, like painters or architects or writers
What You Can't Say: How to think heretical thoughts and what to do with them
Good Bad Attitude: Like Americans, hackers with by breaking rules
The Other Road Ahead: Web-based software offers the biggest opportunity since the arrival of the microcomputer
How to Make Wealth: The best way to get rich is to create wealth. And startups are the best way to do that
Mind the Gap: Could "unequal income distribution" be less of a problem than we think?
A Plan for Spam: Till recently most experts thought spam filtering wouldn't work. This proposal changed their minds
Taste for Makers: How do you make great things?
Programming Languages Explained: What a programming language is and why they are a hot topic now
The Hundred-Year Language: How will we program in a hundred years? Why not start now?
Beating the Averages: For web-based applications you can use whatever language you want. So can your competitors
Revenge of the Nerds: In technology, "industry best practice" is a recipe for losing
The Dream Language: A good programming language is one that lets hackers have their way with it
Design and Research: Research has to be original. Design has to be good
Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age 4.3 out of 5based on
PointedPundit on LibraryThing
3 months ago
Software as an Art FormPaul Graham penned a unique book: A collection of essays that combine personal and business experience.The author sees great software development as an art form. ¿Great software, likewise, requires a fanatical devotion to beauty,¿ Graham writes. ¿If you look inspire good software, you will find that parts no one is ever supposed to see are beautiful too.¿The collection offers readers positive advice and leadership tips; a roadmap to what is increasingly becoming a computerized future.
bob3000 on LibraryThing
3 months ago
Bright guy with whom I agree. Describes the world I wish I lived in.
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
If you've never heard of Paul Graham, this book provides an excellent introduction. Paul is a hacker (in the original sense of the word), a technology innovator and a philosopher for the computer age. This book of essays runs the gamut from 'why nerds are unpopular' to fixing the spam problem to what makes a 'dream language'. As Paul says in the intro, each chapter is independent of the others and you can skip around as you like. You'll get the general feel for Paul's ideas in all of the essays and some overlap is evident. I read the book straight through and enjoyed every chapter. Paul is a master of the Lisp language and describes how some modern languages are heading in the direction of Lisp. To solve really tough problems in a less powerful language, you tend to end up writing a Lisp interpreter in that language. He also describes why everyone isn't using Lisp for every program they write. If you are a hacker or hacker wannabe, this book offers excellent insight into the mind of a master. If you are a 'pointy-haired' manager, you'll get a better understanding of how truly talented programmers think. If you are involved in a startup company, this book describes several topics that might help give you a competitive edge. Most of all, this is a really fun book that will earn a permanent space on your bookshelf.
More than 1 year ago
Graham presents 15 essays revolving around computer programming. From his own background, he extols the virtues of breaking out on your own and forming a startup. If you are very capable as a programmer and you can find a few others (
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