The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist
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The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  258 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Making Sense of Design Effective design is at the heart of everything from software development to engineering to architecture. But what do we really know about the design process? What leads to effective, elegant designs? The Design of Design addresses these questions. These new essays by Fred Brooks contain extraordinary insights for designers in every discipline. Brooks...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published March 26th 2010 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published 2010)
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William Blair
No words I might add to the still-growing tide of reviews of Dr. Brooks' latest book would ever convince anyone to buy and read it. You either already know who Frederick P. Brooks, Ph.D is, or you don't. The sad thing is, like his other popular book, The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition (TMMM), most who will comment on it will never have read it completely, cover-to-cover, and understood much, if anything, in it. In the online world we find ourselves i...more
David Workman
This is quite an interesting book, delving in quite some depth into what makes a good design, a good designer, and asking (and answering) many important questions related to these topics. It stays quite process-agnostic, instead expounding the view that the important things are:
- To have some form of design process
- To have good designers
- To give your designers the power to actually design
- To ignore the formal design process as required to make a good design

The structure of the book will be fa...more
Vladyslav
Every time I start a new book it is excitement: imagination grasps everything from the reviews to the cover to draw new universe of thoughts.
What one can expect from Frederick Brooks? Author of one of the classical books in software development The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering?

I must say I expected more or rather I expected something else.. The book is over bloated and written in highly academical manner difficult to read. It is full of references to "The Mythical Man-Month...more
Erika RS
This is a book of essays from Fred Brooks, author of The Mythical Man-Month . A number of the essays are excellent. A couple were positively dull. The rest were in the middle.

Brooks' aim in this book is to talk about the process of design in a way that is reasonably general. In that respect, I think he fails. I think if you're not designing computer systems, the essays on design will not provide a good overlap with the reader's experience. But if you are, you'll likely find much that is valuabl...more
Dave Peticolas
Another book on design, but this one emphasizes the actual practice of design and how to make it better. The first two-thirds or so is just excellent. Brooks's contention is that the best designs always come from either a single designer or (at most) two designers working very closely together. The reason is that the quality most important to a great design is conceptual integrity, an attribute that "design by committee" can never achieve. But design reviews are best done by multitudes, bringing...more
Michael Scott
I bumped into The Design of Design accidentally, while browsing the Kindle store for Peopleware and The Mythical Man-Month. I'm just glad I did: from the moment I picked up this book, I regretted every second I could not spend on it.

In The Design of Design, Frederick P. Brooks Jr. starts from the premise that the process of designing anything---computers, software, houses, books, and organizations are the prime examples used in this book---follows very similar processes, when the outcome needs t...more
Ilya
In 1961-1965, in his early 30s, Frederick Brooks was the project manager of the IBM System/360 and OS/360 project, one of the most successful engineering projects in history. Called "I.B.M.'s $5,000,000,000 gamble", this project succeeded enormously, and transformed not only the company and the industry, but the entire civilization: the computer architecture and it successors, and the operating system and its successors have been the de facto standard for mainframe computers ever since (of cours...more
Jay
The most influential professional book I have ever read was Frederick Brooks' classic The Mythical Man-Month. That was a book primarily for software developers, managers, and particularly managers OF software developers. It was drawn largely from Brooks' experience managing the development of the ground-breaking IBM System/360 mainframe operating system in the early and mid-1960s.

Now Brooks has articulated more of his professional and life experiences. In The Design of Design, he gives his views...more
Dainius Jocas
Žmogus, kuris buvo paskirtas vadovauti IBM's System/360 projektui, kurį tuo metu pasaulyje vadino "5000000000 dollar gamble", o tai buvo didžiausias projektas žmonijos istorijoje, negali būtų toks visai šiaip sau. "Mythical Man-Month" irgi yra to paties autoriaus darbas. Kadangi traukiniu riedėjau į "Theory of Computing" egzaminą ir turėjau krūvą gražaus laiko, pasiryžau perversti šitą idėjomis tirštą/tankų veikalą.

Ši knyga yra palyginti nesenas darbas -- 2010 metai. Reikia pastebėti, kad autori...more
John
Interesting stuff! Brooks examines not of what makes designs good or bad, but instead various issues around how designers come up with designs - the process of design. He looks at the subject from several different perspectives, since he himself has designed computer hardware (architectures), software, houses (his own), and books. Along the way he looks at questions including how designers can be enabled to work creatively, what "style" is and how it fits into design, collaboration versus solo d...more
John
This book is the natural antithesis to "The Science of the Artificial", as it demonstrates where design science really stands (and in what poor shape it is according to design practice). Turing-award winner Fred Brooks is a nice counterweight to the Turing (and Nobel) winning Herbert Simon, not a theoretical genius who revolutionized several fields but a practical project manager who assisted in making a corporation a lot of money. What this book is clearly leading up to is a synthesis, a decisi...more
Mike Barretta
Overall the book came across rather scattershot, but there were enough good gems and bibliographic references to add weight. Nominally, the book is about issues, problems, and solutions incumbent in the process of design. The later half of the book is a series of case studies of design work done by the author in various realms (home architecture, computer architecture, ogranizations, etc), and is mostly useful as a reference, I think. In other words, you can't read the case-studies as prose and...more
Steve
The first half of this book is a wonderful collection of essays that anyone who enjoys examples of how software designers can learn from designers in other fields should read. The second half is an assortment of case studies, ranging from a remodeling project to a book project, to IBM projects. The case studies are less compelling but add some background for those who want more examples. The book also has many references to learn more. If you are a student of Patterns or agile software developme...more
Jonathan
Dr. Brooks is the author of the famed "The Mythical Man Month," a seminal book engineering teams and productivity. This book discusses how to think about design and design problems based on his life's experience at IBM and Academia. The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars was that the examples towards the end of the novel were not that engaging. The writing style was unassuming and funny at times, and its highly recommended for anyone who is interested in Design. The book is filled with great...more
Fabricio
O livro é bastante interessante e aborda diversas questões sobre o meta-projeto (o que se faz para se chegar a um bom projeto).
O autor possui bons insights e uma experiência bastante vasta que é compartilhada ao longo de todo o livro. Ele não tem medo de expor onde acredita que suas opiniões evoluíram e onde o universo de software mudou.
A segunda metade do livro é um conjunto extenso de exemplos de meta-projeto do autor. Isso torna o final da leitura um pouco cansativo, mas não retira a contribu...more
David Lindelof
This book is the culmination of Brooks's reflection on the design process itself, and illustrates its many points through examples in architecture and computer design.

I found this book extremely valuable, if only for the exposition of the fact that great design is almost always the product of a single mind---two at most.

I personally also appreciate Mr Brooks's openness when it comes to informing his reasoning from biblical truths. I find this attitude laudable.
Clif
Dec 31, 2012 Clif rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Developers
A good primer on higher level thinking about design. My interest in this was primarily from a computer architecture sense, but also in organizing large teams to tackle big projects. Lots of case studies (I hope you like reading about Brooks' houses) and concerete examples. Nothing groundbreaking, but lots of truth and lessons learned the hard way from people that have designed big things.
Peter Poole
Brooks wanders from time to time and repeats some of his examples a bit too often, but what he does go into depth on is often fascinating and eye-opening. Especially in the first few chapters, I've dog-eared a good number of the pages for further reading because the groundwork he lays out about project management in general is spot-on.
Will
Needs more hands on experience. You do get more discussion about the people involved in the project and some more information about how CS programs should be more "hands on" and teach people different kinds of designs... but I think that's a lost cause in Academia until you can create a "Software Engineering" program for applied CS.
Craig Motlin
The detailed building architecture chapters seemed out of place and boring in a computer architecture book and not compelling or expert level enough to interest building architects. The book was still somewhat interesting. A more accurate title would have been "stuff I designed"
Michael Korbakov
A good book from the great man. Unfortunately not a great book. It's full of insights, but they are rather scattered. Time reading it was well-spent, but I can't get rid of thoughts that same value could be packed much more densely.
Sharan Rao
Interesting insight into what a design is and how the author went about it/didn't go about it. Especially intriguing is the single thread that he draws across all forms of design - computers and other fields.
Nicholas
some very smart stuff, a lot of which seemed applicable to work. didn't have the technical background to make it through the case studies in the last couple of chapters, though.
Rejeev Divakaran
Very good book on Design of software. It talks about issues like intuition vs process oriented design, design by team vs design by individual etc.
Vladimir
Quite interesting, but too verbose and philosophical.
Didn't read it all.
Gulcan Bozkurt
non-fiction, web-design-development
Matt
Apr 05, 2010 Matt is currently reading it
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Basharat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Priscilla
Priscilla marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2014
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