May 11, 2005

What CS means to me

For this post, I thought I'd continue with more resources on the human side of CS. The following is a list of books that I've read over the years that have given me a deeper and more human understanding of the CS field and the people that make it up. Along the lines of Ellen Ullmann's The Bug that I reviewed a while back, these books give an insight into what it's like to work as a software developer or CS academic. Of course, this round is all non-fiction, rather than a novel like The Bug. There are certainly other books out there that I haven't read (or have forgotten I've read) that I don't mention here, and any notes left in the comments about some of those would be appreciated. One that I know I haven't read but should is Douglas Coupland's Microserfs. I would really appreciate hearing about newer books from all of you out there, as these mostly date from my own initial explorations in the field when I was a CS student and later a professional software developer.

  • Lammers, Susan. Programmers at work, 1st series: Interviews. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1986. This is the best of them all, with interviews with many of the pioneers of the personal computing industry: John Warnock, Bill Gates, Wayne Ratliff, Bob Carr, Jaron Lanier and many others. Read this book.
  • Weinberg, Gerald M. Understanding the professional programmer. New York: Dorset House, 1988. Really, any of Weinberg's books on the life of the programmer are good.
  • Weinberg, Gerald M. Becoming a technical leader : an organic problem-solving approach. New York: Dorset House, 1986. Like this one too.
  • Weinberg, Gerald M. An introduction to general systems thinking. New York: Dorset House, 2001. Or this one, a recent edition of a book that taught me a lot about thinking like a programmer.
  • DeMarco, Tom and Timoth Lister. Peopleware: Productive projects and teams. New York: Dorset House, 1987. A classic.
  • Yourdon, Edward. Decline and fall of the American programmer. New York, Prentice Hall, 1992. Yourdon was amongst the first to raise the spectre of outsourcing & off-shoring. This is a great book about the field. Haven't read the sequal Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer.
  • Glass, Robert L. Software conflict: Essays on the art and science of software engineering. New York: Yourdon Press, 1991. Great book on why building systems is hard.
  • Brooks, Fred. The mythical man-month : Essays on software engineering. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995. New edition of a classic.
  • Shasha, Dennis Elliot and Cathy Lazere. Out of their minds: The lives and discoveries of 15 great computer scientists. Another book of interviews, this time mostly with academics. Featured are big names like Donald Knuth, Edsger Dijkstra and Fred Brooks. Cool web page by one of the authors here.
  • Stephenson, Neal. In the beginning was the command line. New York: Perennial, 1999. See my post on this book here.
  • Shore, John. The sachertorte algorithm: And other antidotes to computer anxiety. New York: Viking, 1985. A fun book.

1 comment:

Norma said...

The human side of CS. I'll really have to think about that one.