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Summary

Peter Seibel interviews 15 of the most interesting computer programmers alive today in Coders at Work, offering a companion volume to Apress’ highly acclaimed best-seller Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston. As the words “at work” suggest, Peter Seibel focuses on how his interviewees tackle the day-to-day work of programming, while revealing much more, like how they became great programmers, how they recognize programming talent in others, and what kinds of problems they find most interesting.

Hundreds of people have suggested names of programmers to interview on the Coders at Work web site: codersatwork.com. The complete list was 284 names. Having digested everyone’s feedback, we selected 15 folks who’ve been kind enough to agree to be interviewed:

Frances Allen: Pioneer in optimizing compilers, first woman to win the Turing Award (2006) and first female IBM fellow

Joe Armstrong: Inventor of Erlang

Joshua Bloch: Author of the Java collections framework, now at Google

Bernie Cosell: One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMPs and a master debugger

Douglas Crockford: JSON founder, JavaScript architect at Yahoo!

L. Peter Deutsch: Author of Ghostscript, implementer of Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1

Brendan Eich: Inventor of JavaScript, CTO of the Mozilla Corporation

Brad Fitzpatrick: Writer of LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, and Perlbal

Dan Ingalls: Smalltalk implementor and designer

Simon Peyton Jones: Coinventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler

Donald Knuth: Author of The Art of Computer Programming and creator of TeX

Peter Norvig: Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI

Guy Steele: Coinventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five, currently working on Fortress

Ken Thompson: Inventor of UNIX

Jamie Zawinski: Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker

©2009 Peter Seibel (P)2021 Upfront Books

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  • Dale
  • 23-09-21

Inspirational memoirs

I have always been a sucker for a good story, and hearing these programmers (many of which lived through the golden era of computer development) recount classic accounts of milestone events in both failures & good fortunes, or un-repeatable moments of programming history, was a monumental listen of encouragement for me this year. So if u r involved with the IT industry at all, or if u find nostalgic recollections from other colleagues history to be interesting to hear, then this audio-book will probably encourage you as much as it did me. Highly recommended.

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  • Jay
  • 30-05-22

Great book

I rarely write a review for a book I'm not done with yet. I'll make an exception for this one. It was worth getting the book just for the first few chapters. Even if it goes off the rails, it wouldn't bother me at this point.

Basically interviews with some dinosaurs of programming. I will flat out admit most of my programming is database CRUD in asp.net/C#. It's boring, but fairly easy. However, even I'm a little shocked at these famous people using text editors and rather crude debugging methods to do their work, while admitting they would probably be more productive with a good IDE and better debugging tools. I think even the interviewer was shocked at points.

I've really been trying to up my javascript game lately. I've always considered javascript to be what you would get from high-school kids that made up a programming language as they went along. Getting to hear the javascript discussions has been totally fascinating.

The other thing I enjoy is everyone getting asked about the hardest thing they have ever had to debug. All of these have made for interesting discussions.

Programming books on audiobooks are hit and miss, with way more missing than hitting. This is probably my second favorite, after the Phoenix Project. For sure this was a hit.