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Being Geek

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  540 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Is it time to become a manager? Nest and vest? Join that start-up? Tell your boss he's a jerk? Resign in disgust? As a software engineer, at some point you realize that there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Borland, Netscape, and Symantec in Being Geek --...more
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published (first published July 1st 2010)
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A. Jesse
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 He also assumes a kind of corporate culture that I hope is obsolete: The kind where you have a week to prepare for the Big Meeting, the kind where you live and die by PowerPoint.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...more
Mahmoud Tantawy
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.
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.
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
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...more
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...more
Matt Grommes
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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.

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.
Funny and enlighten at times. Well structured book packed with many first hand stories that illustrates the author's view on software development. A downside is that the author's points of view are too focused on a Silicon Valley-centered business culture.
Cody Ray
A deceptively easy read packed with useful bits of wisdom. You need to force yourself to slow down to absorb it all. I got to the end and had to go back and re-skim a large portion of it to make sure it stuck with me.
Meri Williams
I've long been a huge fan of Michael Lopp's blog, Rands in Repose. Though many of the chapters in this book started as posts on that blog, they have been brought together into a wonderful cohesive whole which acts as an essential life handbook for any geek.

Focused primarily on work life, it guides you through all aspects of your career, from starting up quickly in a new gig, to surviving the vagaries of the tech industry day-today and finally knowing when to move on and how to get that next job...more
There are lots of good ideas here. Not all of them apply to me, but it's nice to have a friendly author to sit down over coffee and think things over with.
"Being Geek" is a great read. It's very blunt, funny and insightful. Overall, it's helpful to see the perspectives from different positions within an organization. There were many times when I found myself nodding along and yet also learning a few things. It was a nice touch to leave the reader feeling motivated in the last chapter. It wasn't preachy but just very honest and helpful. I'd recommend this to anyone in tech.

Also, if you get a chance, you have to see Lopp speak - he's a riot and easy...more
Excellent book for anybody working for a career, not just for geeks. My only complaint is that a lot of the text is stuff I've already read in either Managing Humans or on the Rands in Repose blog, which is expected since most of the book's content is a revised version of the blog, at least that's what it seems to me. If you've already read everything that Rands has written, you'll be skimming through a lot of this book.

But it's still a good book with lots of advice that I try to pass on to peop...more
Maxim Boguslavsky
Карьерный рост, поиск новой работы, разные типы боссов, как обосновать свою цену, как взаимодействовать с коллегами, что делать, если ты стал менеджером, как работать на коммандным духом, как понять, что вокруг тебя начинается пиздец - вот короткий список тем этой книги.

Но лучшее в этой книге - это то, что она не успокаивает, а наоборот дарит тебе тревогу.
Она напоминает о том, что время идет и если ты ежедневно достигаешь успеха - это плохой знак.

Знак, который говорит тебе: чувак, похоже ты пере...more
Nicholas Decker
I got about halfway through and decided not to finish it. I found the author's viewpoint so repulsive, that it was really difficult to pick up and start in again every day. He came across and being very pompous with an overly large ego. As he hopped from job to job, he immediately started thinking of ways to quit the latest 'gig' and get a better one instead - without any regard to his colleagues, the company, his boss, etc. From my experience in a managerial position, he would be a horrid emplo...more
Chris Ammerman
Great book. Provides lots off insight into how companies, managers, and other geeks work. Got me thinking about my employer, my co-workers, and myself in a new way.
Bernard Rodriguez
It's great. I've been reading RandsInRepose some time now, and while the book is a well organized collection of blog posts that have appeared on the site (as well as some new stuff), having it in book form does help create a more cohesive brain space.

Lots of great stuff to implement upon finishing and it's worth highlighting passages that apply to a situation that you deal with often or plan on working toward.

Joe Donley
This was a really great book. Much better than the last tech career book I had read. It covers everything from dealing with different personality types you run across in the industry to how to approach interviews, and even how to weather the storm of a mass exodus of employees. This book even has a chapter to hand over to your significant other that explains how you tick as a geek and how to handle you in general. Great stuff!
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