Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT
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Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Before the term hacking became associated with computers, MIT undergraduates used it to describe any activity that took their minds off studying, suggested an unusual solution to a technical problem, or generally fostered nondestructive mischief. The MIT hacking culture has given us such treasures as police cars and cows on the Great Dome, a disappearing door to the Presid...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published March 14th 2003 by MIT Press (MA)
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This is one of the few books that I stopped reading part of the way through. The thing read like a dictionary (not even an encyclopedia!). With such an interesting topic, I would think that it would be hard to write a boring book, but here it is!

The book "details" visual pranks pulled at MIT over the years, but with little detail (i.e. "and the dome got decorated like R2D2..."). There is very little how, or why, or reaction from the public chronicled, which is what I expected and what makes the...more
Jun 26, 2007 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any nerd who's ever been shoved into a locker -- and then plotted her revenge
Shelves: non-fiction
An amusing survey of the best hacks perpetrated by M.I.T.'s student body over the past century (and then some). Were the photography of slightly better quality, this would be the ultimate coffee table book for the geekish household. Of course, given the short lifespan of most of these hacks, one can understand why some of the pictures are less than perfectly framed.

I wish this book had provided a bit more insight into the school's culture of hackerdom, rather than repeatedly brushing over the su...more
Well, I wish GoodReads had a more sophisticated review system, because I would use one for this review.

The subject matter is fantastic. I love reading about and participating in pranks/hacks, so a book about this sort of thing at MIT is bound to be good. When I was growing up, Real Genius was one of my favorite movies. I was so excited about going to college, because I figured that it would be half high-tech classes and half hi jinks. Little did I know...

Anyway, the subject matter is delightful,...more
Sep 14, 2007 Tracey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the more sophisticated form of college tomfoolery
I received Nightwork : A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT as a birthday present from my brother.

A relatively slim (173 pgs) oversized volume, Peterson discusses the tradition of pranking (known as "hacks") at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Unlike many other colleges, MIT adheres to a strict hack code - no permanent damage is to be done, hacks are always anonymous, and there's usually both an element of parody and of the absurd. Technology & creativity also figure hig...more
Hacking is a long tradition of elaborate pranks at MIT, and this book covers both the hacks themselves, and some of the culture that causes them to thrive. It's impressive that the hacking culture prides itself on both its anonymity and in making sure that its hacks do no harm, which is no doubt why they are so successful. The style can be a bit dry at times, but my main complaint is that there aren't more pictures of the hacks (although there are a fair number of them).
Doc Kinne
The books was OK, and was a reasonable overview of the subject. I also could have wished for greater illustrations or photographs, but given the subject matter, perhaps its not quite possible.
Jacques Bromberg
Bought this gem for my father last year. Great photos!
Owen Lindsell
Exactly what is says on the tin.
The folks at MIT know how to have fun.
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