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Being Geek

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  765 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews

As a software engineer, you recognize at some point that there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Is it time to become a manager? Tell your boss he’s a jerk? Join that startup? Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Netscape, and Symantec in Being Geek -- an insightful and entertaining book that

Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published (first published July 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,856)
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A. Jesse
Sep 29, 2010 A. Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A supposed career handbook, with little relevance to my career. The author has worked at large corporations (including Netscape) and small startups, but his idea of a startup is 80 employees. That's my idea of a large company. He also assumes a kind of corporate culture that I hope is obsolete: The kind where you have a week to prepare for the Big Meeting, the kind where you live and die by PowerPoint. In my career, I never see slides.

Lopp advises the reader on job-searching, but it's a style of
Feb 24, 2014 Nori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seriously underwhelming at best; offensive at worst.

This is a collection of blog entries, loosely edited into a book. Emphasis on the "loosely." Lopp says that the goals of the book (it has goals?) are to improve the reader's improvisational skills (presumably as regards career curveballs) and to define one's career strategy. Those would have been great, and I picked up this book sort of hoping for exactly that. He delivers on neither, though -- those are pretty lofty goals for something written
Mahmoud Tantawy
Dec 31, 2012 Mahmoud Tantawy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a very very interesting book for Geeks and alike personalities, it can be boring sometimes, but this is only when it is discussing situations one didn't face yet, but over all it is a very important read for all of us geeks!

i really did enjoy reading it & i totally recommend it to everyone, and for parts where it feels boring, just skim it and keep the book near so that you can return to it when needed ... you will need it, as it discusses all phases of a geek's life/career.
Aug 03, 2014 JDK1962 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. I'm probably not the audience for this book, since (a) I'm not in Silicon Valley, (b) I'm a remote (to use the author's term, and (c) I'm in the final 7-15 years of my career arc. However, I've been a reasonably successful software developer for 31 years, and there was absolutely nothing in this book that surprised me, or made me think "wow, if only I had known that 20-30 years ago, my career would have been totally different."

Plus...I know this is a book that grew out of blog posts, but it
Kevin O'Donnell
Poorly edited, rehashed blog posts written in a trying-too-hard-to-be-colloquial-and-"with-it" style, containing only modest and superficial insights, a strong tendency to simplify and categorize people and situations in a gross, reductionist, nearly dehumanizing manner, and backed by a philosophy reliant upon cynical gamesmanship and distrust. In short: all the worst aspects of capitalism in a quick read! I'm more interested in transcending the workaday, growth-worshipping business life than be ...more
Daniel R.
Sep 05, 2010 Daniel R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contains many astute observations about the life of a software developer combined with practical advice about how to approach your career. The book touches on aspects like interviewing for a job, office politics, transitioning to new responsibilities like becoming a manager, how to manage your time, dealing with crises, and thinking about when it's time to find a new job. I found the book did a great job of helping me think about the three questions it lays out at the beginning: What a ...more
Mar 05, 2015 gabrielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much nobody
This book feels like a lot of other books by bloggers-cum-authors; just a string of blog posts, and really better in small doses.

I also can't say I've worked in any environments where his advice would apply. And, encouraging pigeonholing people as certain "types" is not a way to get along in the work place. That's just going to give you tunnel vision and shut you down.

The real reason I quit reading this book halfway through had its seeds in the introduction: "For much of this book, my prototypic
I have been reading Michael's blog, Rands in Repose for years. Andy and I discussed the latest ones over lunch.

Most if not all chapters come from blog posts usually come with additional polishing. For example, one of my favorites, The Nerd Handbook, is converted from a blog post to Chapter 23 with an introduction on how it should be handed to someone who needs to understand people like me plus an introduction for the recipient.

The best of: Chapter 8: The Culture Chart - "Culture is the undercur
Sumit Gouthaman
May 01, 2016 Sumit Gouthaman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's impossible to describe how unnervingly real the scenarios in this book are.
I didn't learn much new stuff, but it's a good read if you are wondering what managers in software companies do all day or if you haven't thought your “career” would be in five years.

As most of Lopp's books this one is also a bit scattered, but there are enough fun bits and the books is quick enough to read so hat you give it a try.
Jul 20, 2015 Saurabh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're an engineering manager for ahi-tech firm and you haven't read Michael Lopp you have no right to be on that chair. This guy is a friggin genius when it comes to writing his 2 decade long observations much too accurately.Everything that he has mentioned in being geeks is reality. I mean I have faced similar situations in my decade long career almost always.This book is a classic just like Eric Raymond's 'The cathedral and the bazaar' and would be referred by people in the next 10 years o ...more
Matt Grommes
Aug 11, 2010 Matt Grommes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent handbook for engineers. Not all of the material will be relevant at any one time but if you keep the book around to refer back to it'll pay dividends.
Carl Christian
Sep 10, 2010 Carl Christian rated it really liked it
I'm starting my work-log right now. No more three paragraph end of the year reviews.
Ron Lunde
This reads more like a collection of his blogs ( that a book written as a book -- and perhaps it is? It's a fun read, and has some fairly good career advice for a software developer, especially if you're young and looking to maximize your earning. His section on preparing for and doing job interviews and negotiations has some good tips.

I didn't end up writing anything down, and there were no "cool! I have to remember this!" moments. On the other hand, I did think about my own j
Ravi Sinha
An interesting book, easy to consume, with occasional humor. Someone who's worked a corporate job will be able to identify with some of the concepts in the book, and notice how some of the 'management personalities' described in the book are spot on. But the title is misleading; the book's really for engineering managers (or for those who want to move to management) and not really for software developers per se. At times the book is too colloquial, and at times the message isn't very clear. Wort ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Being Geek" is an extremely honest book about author's thoughts on technology career. It starts with who we are, to what we do, to how we do it, and end with "what's next" (trust your gut and charge forward).

Several takeaways I have from the book:

1. Prepare for the unexpected: things can do wrong will do wrong. What distinguishes a competent engineer is his ability to face the unexpected.

2. Be efficient. If we are more efficient, then we have more time to enjoy what we love to do. Therefore, to
Nov 23, 2010 Amr rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech, business
Being Geek is an interesting read. Michael Lopp is able to capture that thought in your head and articulate it on paper. But that only works so many times.
Some of the chapters in this book are so good and so matching my experience that I wrote some notes on the side while reading the book. Other chapters, I don't even know what he's talking about.
Most chapters revolve around their title. The author sums up a certain situation - which is the center of this chapter - in the chapter title. To expla
Jan 23, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoy Michael Lopp's writing. It makes me feel like the chaos of working with software is not an end-of-the-world experience, but the norm. And in that case, there's no need to fix it or escape from it, and the real solution is to learn to live within it. Hearing Lopp's stories of living within it are helpful, and give me an idea of what is, or may be, expected.

Lopp cuts through the nonsense and focuses on reality, and I respect that.

I am not at all sure that I share his view that a man
I finally finished Being Geek by Michael Loop. I started this book about 2 months or so ago. First off I got it on my Kindle and for some reason I couldn't get the page numbers to show up. The book is 300+ pages long, so it is pretty beefy. As you can see, I said "finally". That would infer that it took a really long time to read. In my mind, this book was not a quick read at all. However, that doesn't mean it was a bad book.

I don't remember exactly who recommended this book to me. I think I saw
Laura Stone
I think the author's description of this book holds - it is mean as much as a cover-to-cover read as it is a reference guide to return to again and again. It covers all of the basics required to work in development (as far as my own experience relates) and then some.

My biggest gripe with this book was that it sometimes didn't make sense. Certain chapters were clear and concise, for example the chapter outlining the author's method of organizing himself for the day. I cannot say the same about c
Oct 24, 2013 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being Geek is a collection of Michael Loop's blog posts about a career in Software Development. I generally liked this book because it helped established some ideas about what it is like to have a job in software development. However, some of it I felt did not specifically apply to me in my current position at Microsoft. It explains how to deal with non-technical people/issues during your career. However, Microsoft is such a tech-orientated company and day-to-day I deal with tech orientated peop ...more
Apr 22, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, career
Michael Lopp is the person behind the blog 'Rands in Repose', which explains the blog-like feel of this book. It may be presented as if it's a coherent guide to a career in the software industry. But it's clearly just an edited collection of articles on topics related to career, career management, and a management career. This is not really a weakness, but it's not always a strength, either. The book sometimes lacks flow.

A bigger weakness is that few of the articles really lead to any conclusion
Sep 20, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being Geek offers us geeks and nerds a one-stop location to figure out the best way to go about a career search. While it's geared more to specifically IT related positions, those of us with a geeky mindset will appreciate the insights and tips offered by Lopp.

In the introduction, Lopp states that the majority of concepts and chapters in the book were ones from his blog - Rands in Repose. I had never read the blog, so don't know how similar/different it is from that venue to the printed on paper
Mar 31, 2016 pluton rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, kcls
My first encounter with the book was by its title — "Being Geek". Geeks, nice, should be interesting. It's only when i started reading the book, i noticed the subtitle about careers. So it's far from being technical. It turned out to be a pretty boring book with a somewhat strange writing style (too much slang), most likely, adopted from blogs. The chapters seem messy and not related to each other much.
I read about a half and skimmed over the rest. There are good ideas in the book, but i feel th
Jeremy Ward
Uneven at best. There are nuggets of useful information, but as a developer still early in his career, I felt much of the content didn't directly apply to me at this point. Male-dominant gendered pronoun usage was distracting throughout, and some sections (as mentioned by other reviews) fell flat and we're just plain dull.

If I were to recommend this to others, I'd instead seek out the useful sections and direct them to their related blog entries online.
Nov 25, 2015 Dimitris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being Geek is generic enough to not apply itself solely to software developers, but to everybody working in the tech industry. Some parts are a bit too Silicon Valley-centric, but the book generally draws a valid picture of working in tech in any part of the world, from inadequately informed managers to culture-leading senior engineers to the waves of people quitting after significant company changes.

I felt that Lopp helped me crystalize some phenomena, personality types and interactions that I
Oct 28, 2010 Gordon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A little more bland than Managing Humans very much more of the same.

This book attempts to provide a selection of essays to help a geek in their life and career, but frankly unless you fit Lopp's specific definition of a geek a lot of the advice flows by you.

Written from the perspective of the workaholic crisis manager in a tech community with no values on non-tech and non-work activities, it was somewhat difficult to complete. The Rands blog with it's occasional posts are much more digestible.

Jul 31, 2014 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointing. This doesn't read like a Software Developer's Career Handbook. It reads like a Software Developer Who Was Recently Promoted Into Management's Career Handbook. Lopp's Managing Humans already covered that ground and did it much better. I feel a little cheated by this book. There's a handful of good chapters in here for current developers but mostly it's management stuff. Oh well.
Eric Hogue
Being Geek covers many aspects of the career of programmers and managers. It even has a chapter targeted at our spouses, to help them understand us.

Parts of the book can be found on Rand's blog, but it's still a great package of his posts. Ans if your like me, you haven't read them all anyway.
Will Simpson
Jan 22, 2016 Will Simpson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Great book. Can be a tough read - but it was not designed to be read cover to cover. If you are in or around software development, there are great insights in here. If you are a developer and believe you might want to be something else - read this book!
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