This book offers a glimpse into the world of software development by following a team of programmers and designers, many of them already accomplished in their field, as they attempt to make some cool software. Things take longer than expected, and despite their best efforts the project fails to live up to its initial promise. The author uses their story as a backdrop on why software development is so hard.
As one whose efforts even when successful get little notice I enjoyed peering into the lives of more renowned developers; I kinda liked watching them stumble too. Anyone interested in knowing more about what developers do, but without any interest in (or time for) too much detail—for instance a project manager—will probably get a better feel of things by reading this.
Throughout the book the author nutshells the history and folklore of software development. The effect is similar to learning about crime from watching gangster movies: a certain amount of the art no longer points to an original. Not exactly a loss, more like a trade, anchor for currency, memory for space. Is this an unregulated bubble of inflationary paper terminally unmoored? I think not. But still, caveat emptor.