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Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager
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Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,553 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Managing Humans is a selection of the best essays from Michael Lopp's web site, Rands in Repose. Drawing on Lopp's management experiences at Apple, Netscape, Symantec, and Borland, this book is full of stories based on companies in the Silicon Valley where people have been known to yell at each other. It is a place full of dysfunctional bright people who are in an incredib ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Apress (first published January 1st 2007)
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May 14, 2008 Keith rated it it was ok
I bought this book because I love the author's blog ( The blog is excellent, the book less so, probably because it's mostly a collection of his blog posts, which tend to work less well in book format. There is some attempt at organization but it feels very jumbled, oddly enough even more jumbled than the blog.
Mar 21, 2014 Ishraq rated it it was amazing
If you wish to scare the hell out of a software engineer, an obsessed introvert geek, give him a managerial position!! Management means dealing with people, become socially engaged and start relating to others in a non-technical manner. Trust me this is scarier than watching a paranormal movie when you are alone in the middle of the night!

I'm starting a managerial position and this scares the hell out of me since I'm no longer able to hide in my cave, put the headset and ignore that everything a
Mar 07, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computers, management
Fantastic book about the perils of managing smart, talented, socially retarded people. Michael Lopp doesn't pull any punches, and leaves no stones unturned in this software development guide. This, along with Peopleware & The Mythical Man Month should be required reading before anyone in software engineering can start working. Wonderful book...if you have ever worked in the tech industry this book will have you laughing, crying, and angry over what you have experienced.

Well worth reading...a
Henk-Jan van der Klis
In Managing Humans - Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager, veteran software developer and manager Michael Lopp serves you the must-read a-typical management or leadership book. No models, theory only, or success stories here, but raw, personal stories on engaging nerds and managers in the conception, development and delivery of software products. If you consider yourself a project manager, team lead, software development manager, program manager or engaged in software proj ...more
Amy Gilchrist Thorne
Jul 10, 2010 Amy Gilchrist Thorne rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, own
Meh. It was okay.

There were a few places where I laughed out loud, and a few where I exclaimed, "That's so true!"

But I found myself wanting more in-depth analysis about how to fix it when I find myself in biting and humorous situations like these. And there are some recommendations that make sense. But I still found myself wanting more, not because I came to the book expecting the answers to all software development woes, but because some of the observations seemed so insightful that I just star
May 30, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What? A “management” book?! Wait. Wait. Wait. This book is different.

I first found this in the Management/Business section of a bookstore, started idly flipping through it and then realized I was standing in the same spot 30minutes later intensely reading. So I bought it. The 1st edition was only ~200 pages, in compact standalone chapters collected from a series of blogposts. The 2nd edition was almost 300 pages, and just as good. Oh, and it’s written in a readable, down to earth style. This mak
jonathan berger
Jul 15, 2007 jonathan berger rated it liked it
Recommends it for: nerds
Its interesting to watch an author's transition from Blog World to Book World, and Rands (aka, apparantly, "Michael Lopp") makes the switch with

fuck, I was trying to write a quick little blurb and I got distracted and lost my train of thought.

The book was ok, the blog is better, I like Rands. Done.
Sigurd Magnusson
Feb 09, 2014 Sigurd Magnusson rated it it was ok
Not enough structure nor powerful ideas. A jumbled collection of insights turned into cheesy office re-enactments, that unfortunately go some way to accepting and endorsing office politics. Some insights yes, but noise to signal ratio makes for a frustrating read. Pity, given Lopp's speaking skills, experience, and career.
Sergey Teplyakov
Aug 26, 2016 Sergey Teplyakov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management
This is definitely one of the best books on the topic I've ever read.
Luiz Filho
Sep 17, 2015 Luiz Filho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books to read every year. Fun. Wit. Wise!
Mason Jones
Dec 18, 2016 Mason Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not the sort to sit around reading books about management, mostly because they're typically boring and predictable. Managing Humans is neither: it's great fun. I've been a fan of Lopp's blog posts (as "Rands in Repose") so expected to enjoy the book, and I was right. Short chapters each hitting a topic quickly and directly, with (as indicated by the title) a sense of humor and honesty. I don't know that I can say I learned much that was entirely new, but simply reading a fun take on things c ...more
Jan 12, 2017 Stephen rated it liked it
I didn't like this book as much I thought I would. I'd read a few of the pieces on his blog (which are fine and good with some pithy insights), but honestly, felt like I couldn't read more than an entry ("chapter") or two at a time. I just didn't care enough. I think that might mean I'm a difficult person to manage.
Nov 25, 2016 Robert rated it really liked it
Interesting take on what management really his and how it relates especially to engineering and product development. Seems to be written for engineers that are grappling with their first management role. Much more interesting and humorous read than many other books on the subject, all of which makes it a good introduction to the subject.
Alena Varkockova
Jan 08, 2017 Alena Varkockova rated it liked it
Very easy to read because the whole book is composed of short stories. Some of them are funny, some of them contain some very valuable information and experience. But overall some of the stories did not interest me much so I even skipped over some parts...
Dec 26, 2016 Jason rated it liked it
I started this last Christmas, put it away and just took it out to finish it. It was an interesting read for me even though I'm not a software engineer but work with many. I'd recommend it for it's humor and ability to stay on topic.
Yousuf Jawwad
Dec 22, 2016 Yousuf Jawwad rated it it was amazing
most management books are dry, this one is excellent with right mix of humor and information.
Megan Dell
Jan 03, 2017 Megan Dell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would read again.
Leslie Williamson
A humorous "must read" for anyone who who manages a software team.
Jon Swanson
Oct 18, 2016 Jon Swanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, not pretentious

Amusing and full of actual anecdotes, this was a pleasant book to read through. Shortish, well contained chapters and lots of humor, but still relevant information.
Jan 14, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it
This was a fairly quick and enjoyable read. Michael Lopp, the author, uses the f-bomb a little more than I really care for, but I think it's part of his 'voice.' Managing Humans is primarily made up of articles from Michael's blog, randsinrepose. So, if you don't need to process your info in dead-tree format, I think you can get a lot of the same content from the archives.

So, I don't know that I learned anything earth-shattering. Generally, it was nice to have some thought and ideas re-enforced

Oct 01, 2016 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago, I found his misanthropy entertaining, but now I find it exhausting and immature. Not finished yet, don't know if I ever will be.
Nov 28, 2016 carmen! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: learning
i thought i liked reading his blog, but somehow his writing style kinda grated on me as i read the entire book.
Aug 13, 2009 Kelley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is or wants to understand managers
I finished reading Managing Humans in a day -- which only partly reflects the fact that I read pretty quickly. The book was an engaging read, quickly and frequently hurling me into fits of laughter. What better way to start off a book by reading a general overview of management as like carrying around bows and arrows because someone has decided you might be skilled at knowing which targets to hit. And yet, as the author makes clear, managers go wrong when they start to think that management is a ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
I saw Michael Lopp speak at the Atlassian Summit conference in May of 2012. He has a friendly, dynamic presentation style that I found very approachable. Also, his slides were sexy.

In the course of that talk, I realized that a) I had a bad manager who had no idea what the practical applications of my job were, and b) beyond some minor annoyance, I didn't care that much, because I didn't care about my job, I had no idea what the company I worked for was doing, and I didn't feel like I was contrib
Jan 09, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a software engineering manager, I am exactly the target audience for Managing Humans. Overall I found it to be a helpful and easy to read book. Some of the chapters really resonated with me and he has some insightful thoughts on how people -- and particular engineers -- function, and what is needed to manage them effectively.

However, some of his chapters really did not resonate with me and almost turned me off from the book. He has a few chapters where he describes the characteristics of "ne
Erik Johannessen
Apr 08, 2014 Erik Johannessen rated it liked it
So, Michael Lopp has this blog called Rands In Repose (he's Rands), and it's pretty good. I actually like it a lot, and would rate the blog at least 4 stars. This pretty much that. Actually, many (most? all?) of the chapters are lifted straight from his blog. They're good, and I enjoyed reading them, but I'm not sure the content is improved at all by being included in book form -- they're lightly categorized here, but his writing really works well in small, digestible chunks, and the s ...more
Jun 17, 2009 Howard rated it really liked it
This book has an unpolished feel to it. This apparently derives from the fact that it is a series of blog posts. The audience he's broadcasting to jumps from managers trying to get along in their daily lives, to engineers trying to understand getting along in a managerial environment, to plain old start-up engineers trying to get a job from a manger who's been at the gig for a dozen years.

Never-the-less, no matter what the voice the author puts on for a given section, he has much to offer. The a
Mathias Meyer
I'm a big fan of Rands' writing on his blog. His articles are both entertaining and pointed, full of stories, analogies and stereotypes. The nerd is a recurring example.

While this is a book, it's based on his blog writing, and you can find most of the writing on his site. All of his posts work well in isolation. Their format is good for the blog, as they usually don't go very deep.

In book form, however, it's a different story. The chapters don't work together very well. Some reference others, bu
Jul 24, 2010 Gordon rated it really liked it
As a reader of Rands I was reasonably familiar with the area of the content and a few of the chapters. However as the book is from '07 and stretches back there was a few things new to me.

A concise, story-filled and somewhat realistic view of software management in the newer tech companies as opposed to the organizational or consultancy monoliths. More than a few data points match my own experiences.

Be aware, however, that Rands is a people oriented manager who has managed to inure himself of m
Aug 10, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amy by: Karen
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very well written and practical narrative. The author (Michael Lopp) seems to truly care about managing people, rather than just trying to manipulate or force people to live by his rules and his schedule. I have been fortunate to know managers like the author, and they are worth listening to!

I kept a piece of paper and a pen handy while reading this book, because Lopp often put into words what I felt, but hadn't found words for.

I am new to the software industry, so this book helped me
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“One of your many jobs as manager is information conduit, and the rules are deceptively simple: for each piece of information you see, you must correctly determine who on your team needs that piece of information to do their job.” 3 likes
“My definition of a great manager is someone with whom you can make a connection no matter where you sit in the organization chart.” 3 likes
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