Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code

Rate this book
Jeff Atwood began the Coding Horror blog in 2004, and is convinced that it changed his life. He needed a way to keep track of software development over time – whatever he was thinking about or working on. He researched subjects he found interesting, then documented his research with a public blog post, which he could easily find and refer to later. Over time, increasing numbers of blog visitors found the posts helpful, relevant and interesting. Now, approximately 100,000 readers visit the blog per day and nearly as many comment and interact on the site.

Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code is your one-stop shop for all things programming. Jeff writes with humor and understanding, allowing for both seasoned programmers and newbies to appreciate the depth of his research. From such posts as

“The Programmer’s Bill of Rights” and “Why Cant Programmers... Program?” to “Working With the Chaos Monkey,” this book introduces the importance of writing responsible code, the logistics involved, and how people should view it more as a lifestyle than a career.

283 pages, ebook

First published July 4, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jeff Atwood

15 books32 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
229 (24%)
4 stars
448 (48%)
3 stars
198 (21%)
2 stars
47 (5%)
1 star
6 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews
Profile Image for Ulina.
148 reviews20 followers
June 19, 2013
The only issue I have with this book is the amount of links it has to material on the web. Yes it is nice that he put references to show examples or to further prove his point, but I think every second sentence in the book is a link to a web document. I read this book on my train ride to work. Underground. On my iPod touch. So you can see I had no access to internet while reading this book. Also if I had to stop to read every single link that was included, it would have taken me 2 or 3 times longer to finish the book. At the end of each chapter he encourages you to click on the links.

Despite the above. I gave this book a 4/5. This book reminds me of having a conversation with a fellow developer over dinner about technology. He wasn't just throwing facts at you and telling you do this to be better. He was having a conversation with you and explaining why he thinks or believes X is the best or one of the better methods to achieve Y. Some of the material he mentions you may already know and follow blindly because you were told a long time ago this is just how we do things, but because of the way he explains things, you may now understand why. You'll also understand why what you were doing before was wrong and why you should update your methods to better ones.

I read this on my Kindle app, created a bunch of bookmarks (mostly for the links), highlight a lot of quotes and will probably reread this book.
Profile Image for Jon Cotton.
35 reviews
August 23, 2015
A solid, fast-reading, topic-grouped collection of articles from the "Coding Horror" blog. Consider the ebook over paper because there are many hyperlinks.

Some highlights:
- great execution requires a great team
- everyone on the team should be able to elevator pitch both the product and the current tasks they're doing
- "Without a clear focus and something to rally around, we lose the context around our code. That's why it's so important to have a clear project vision statement."
- ship version 1 even though it sucks. get real-world feedback as soon as possible. besides the stuff you know isn't right, there are things you did wrong that you don't even know about yet.
- capture usage data. users are crazy and their computing environments are vastly different from yours
- usability testing always works
Profile Image for Daniel Judge.
62 reviews4 followers
January 1, 2014
A great read for any developer or manger of developers. There's more additional readings and videos than I've ever seen in a book. It's got insight that should be required readings for every developer.

My favorite quotes:

1. "An essential part of being a humble programmer is realizing that whenever there's a problem with the code you've written, it's always your fault."

2. "Software developers think their job is writing code. But it's not. Their job is to solve the customer's problem."

3. "There's no question that, for whatever time budget you have, you will end up with better software by releasing as early as practically possible, and then spending the rest of your time iterating rapidly based on real-world feedback."
Profile Image for Shafi Ibtesham.
83 reviews13 followers
May 9, 2014
A collection of his blog posts. Read some of them before, but enjoyed reading again none the less. One thing I should mention is while reading in the blog posts, it was easier to follow the links or youtube videos. On the other hand while reading it as a kindle book on my paperwhite, found it very hard to follow those links. Just saying that the kindle format (on e-ink kindle devices not if you read it on the web reader), is not practical for this type of book.
Profile Image for Amit Saurav.
77 reviews4 followers
September 12, 2012
This book is a great read for anyone remotely linked to the field of software engineering. The author discusses a diverse set of topics from code reviews to testing and from ergonomics to advertising. It was a real eye opener for me and has somehow equipped me better to work on any future project I am involved in and deliver my best effort.
Profile Image for Ivan.
221 reviews9 followers
June 15, 2014
Джефф создал вместе со Спольски Stack Overflow. Книги у них в одном и том же формате: книжное изложение записей в блоге. И если у Спольски главы посвящены различнейшим темам, то тут все построено вокруг программирования и веба в частности. Интересно, но "Джоэл о программировании" мне понравился больше.
Profile Image for Haider Al-Mosawi.
56 reviews36 followers
March 12, 2015
This book is a collection of blog posts from the Coding Horror blog, written by Jeff Atwood, cofounder of the widely popular Stack Overflow Q&A platform for programmers.

The book spans a wide range of topics related to programming, with sparks of insightful thoughts and sprinkles of humor.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Cheol Kang.
46 reviews8 followers
August 10, 2013
내 인식을 충격적으로 바꾸진 않았지만, 많은 페이지에 공감하고 밑줄 치며 읽었다. 작고 유연한 팀으로 서비스를 직접 만들어 운영하는 나같은 사람에게 더 없이 잘 맞는 책.
Profile Image for Emad Mokhtar.
40 reviews14 followers
January 26, 2014
I really enjoy reading this book, I love codehorror blog and these book organize Jeff Atwood's articles.
Profile Image for Nithin Johnson.
12 reviews2 followers
January 11, 2017
A top-level view of all facets of software engineering. I started reading coding horror quite recently. If you feel like browsing through the past blogs, this books covers the gems among them and you will love it.
Profile Image for Manoj M J.
26 reviews9 followers
November 11, 2017
This book is filled with pure, practical, actionable advice. If you'd follow at least 10% of the rules mentioned in the book, you'd be a 10x engineer.
Profile Image for Jiří.
12 reviews7 followers
December 7, 2017
Many good advices and observations from the founder of StackOverflow. Pretty long and not always as good as I'd expected if you ask me, but was able to read to the end.
Profile Image for José.
109 reviews
July 1, 2018
Being actually blog articles makes great bathroom reading.
Profile Image for Venkatesh-Prasad.
211 reviews
May 1, 2019
Lots of interesting nuggets about software development; many applicable beyond software development.
Profile Image for Jack James.
Author 4 books1 follower
August 12, 2021
Content is excellent, but suffers greatly from being a series of blog posts copy & pasted into a book format.
Profile Image for Andrea.
2 reviews
November 15, 2019
As a self taught programmer, this book has been a big help on discovering what is my future action. The book is intended for general porgrammer discussing more fundamental topic such as motivation, work ethic, self learning and so on.
Profile Image for Marshall.
171 reviews17 followers
June 13, 2016
Atwood gives a collection of career advice as a programmer, the advice falls into several categories. Many advice not only applies to programmers but other profession as well.

In the end, Atwood explores the topic of happiness, and tackle the hard question of how to be happy. Approaching it as a programmer, he laid out a list of rules he developed over the years.

Great programmers can communicate their ideas. By persuading other people, they get leverage.
Strike a mindful balance between practicing your craft and thinking about how you practice your craft.

Programming is the kind of task where you have to keep a lot of things in your head at once.
No matter what the problem is with your software — maybe it’s not in your code in the first place — always assume the problem is in your code and act accordingly.
Most of the time, what inexperienced developer considers beautiful is superficial, and what they consider ugly, is battle-hardened production-ready code from master hackers.
Performance is a feature, I simply like using faster website than slower website.
It’s been shown time and time again there is no correlation between years of experience and skill in programming.
Your app is a collection of details.
For users, UI is the application.

Decision making (in life)
Be bold, figure out what you’re good at, and pursue it aggressively.
Speak of iteration beats quality of iteration.
There are good fast decisions but no good slow decisions.
We typically overestimate how much we’ll actually get done.
Innovation is not about saying yes to everything, but saying no to all but most crucial features.
Every decision we make is a trade-off, to be a master programmer is to understand these trade-offs.

People are often successful not despite their dysfunctions but because of them. Obsessions are one of the greatest telltale signs of success.
Have a rock-solid vision statement from day one.
Be humble, always first presume you’re wrong.
Success is rarely determined by the quality of your ideas, but rather frequently determined by the quality of your execution.

If your team manager isn’t dealing with the bad apple on your project, he is not doing her job.
Profile Image for Prasanna.
223 reviews8 followers
June 6, 2013
To be honest, I started reading this book while watching a particularly one-sided NY Yankees vs Cleveland Indians game. I bought it in a particularly jolly mood and it sat around in my Kindle library until an opportune day like this. I think Jeff Atwood has been blogging about programming as long as I've been programming. Over past few years, I've come to respect him more as beyond some dude who blogs a lot about software and random things. If anything, his work on StackOverflow and Discourse show a much more "giving back to the world" and/or "Making the internet a better place" mindset. Seriously, the dude along with Joel Spolsky deserves a gold medal for ridding the world of expertsexchange.com (yep, those were the dark ages)

If you're like me, with a lot of reading of Atwood's musings, rants and find yourself quoting Atwood's Law at times, you'd think there's not much here and you'd be mostly right. I think the context and the flow of essays matter lot more than the fact that most of the meat in the pages is really content from his essays. I'd go out on a limb and say that it's written to be like a programmer's version of Covey's famous "7 habits of highly effective people" -- it's not a coincidence, Atwood quotes him at couple of points. I recommend reading this book to get a full perspective on what are good workplace habits, how to hone your professional skills and well, just not be a dick in general. Nobody likes those.

It's mostly usual stuff you'd find in codinghorror but getting it in a book form in some coherent manner is much appreciated. Also, I got inspired to write more (maybe time to break out that Tim Ferris 4-hour work week? I kid! I kid!). Maybe I'll read the book Steve Yegge is going to publish too.. yes, all 5000 pages of them.
Profile Image for Tae.
47 reviews12 followers
January 11, 2014
I started to read this book because I tough it would help me to become a better programmer, and its content resulted a surprise. First, it doesn't has new content, instead it contains post from the author's blog organized by topic but without revision, so there are repetitive information and embedded videos that you can't see in your ebook reader. Second and most important, I imagined it would has a lot of technical information, but it has more stuff about how to choose a programmer, how to deal with a bad teammate and how to be a good leader, which in the end I think is more insightful than whether use or not SSL on a web site (and other stuff like that) because now I know how to become a better programmer. I have been follow Coding Horror for years before I found this book on Amazon, but just after I read these old posts I realized that the "boring" pieces that I skipped on my feed agreggator are the really important one, and now I'm collected them.

In conclusion, read it was disappointing because it's not a book with new material (hence the 4 stars), but it was great to discover so much awesome tips that where just in front of my eyes.
Profile Image for Sebastian Gebski.
952 reviews839 followers
February 18, 2014
I hate books that are just collections of blog posts.
*** But this is Coding Horror!
There are usually an easy-going cash sink: pointless, messed, un-inventive.
*** But this is Coding Horror!
And the price for value is outrageous, because you can read pretty much the same for free, on the blog.
*** But this is Coding Horror!

The resistance was futile. In the end I've bought the book. And read it. And ... it's really good. Jeff isn't just repeating cliches and obviousness. His statements, thoughts and opinions are really entertaining and made me think a bit about some topics (at least initial 60% of the book - after this milestone the quality drops a bit). I liked the citations (I still have some noted to use them later).

My favourite posts? About the speed of change (interesting reference to Android vs iOS), reading the source code, years of experience myth and "Version 1 sucks, but ship it anyway".

I strongly recommend this book. Personally I've already bought the part II.
Profile Image for Andy.
19 reviews
September 4, 2013
This is a book of various blog posts about software development and, as the title suggests, thinking of writing/designing software on a higher level. Some posts are opinions (venturing into rant territory) that you may or may not share. Some themes are repeated (in the blog that is OK, but in book form I don't really need the same idea more than once).

Overall, though, there are quite a few good pieces of advice that I will think about when developing. One example that sticks out is to get version 1.0 to your real users ASAP. This is less about finding bugs in the code and more about finding bugs in the UX or even the concept of the software, itself.

In a book like this, if I find more than a few useful articles, then it was worth the read. I did, and it was!
Profile Image for Robert Kennedy.
24 reviews
February 7, 2013
As the title suggests, this book covers all of the things outside of writing code that will help you develop better software and it does a pretty good job of that. If you're cheap, do realize that most of this book is simply a compilation of Jeff Atwood's blog entries, and you could just read it there. As such, the book sometimes reads more like a blog than a contiguous book.

I would rate the usefulness of the information contained in this book at 5 stars, but personally I disliked the lack of continuity from one chapter to the next. However, I would still suggest it to all software developers for their own personal development.
Profile Image for Quan.
35 reviews5 followers
July 14, 2015
Wouldn't say this is a must read for programmer. But if you do coding for a living and you haven't read this book, you are missing out.

Don't expect in depth tutorials or very technical advices, there are plenty other books can give you that.

Do expect practical, useful in high level advices from one of the most successful programmer/entrepreneur/manager/founder in the world.

This book in a way reminds me of Code Complete. You probably have known most of the stuffs if you are in the industry long enough and you wouldn't have a clue what the hell is going on if you are a total newbie.

You would benefit the most from this book if you are somewhat in middle, immediate level.

Profile Image for iffi.
30 reviews5 followers
September 1, 2012
The book a great collection of "Coding Horror" blogposts. Even if you are a regular reader of the "Coding Horror" blog, the book is still great because the posts are well structured in in related themes(chapters) like:
* Getting shit done
* How to hire progremmers
* How to get yoor team to work together
* Good desing
* Security basics
* Working with a community

The only downside is that there are lots of links to other sources in the text and if you read it on ebook reader device, it is not convenient to follow all hyperlinks.

Profile Image for A.
144 reviews1 follower
November 10, 2012
Made up of some of Coding Horror's blog entries, this book is a great read for anyone in the IT business, be them managers, business analysts, front-end designers, back-end developers, testers or just someone who really likes to read stuff related to that "strange" world. Going into great detail on each entry, Jeff tackles the various (and radically different topics) with a mix of humour and pragmatics with a lot of his own experience while creating the Stack Exchange. Definitely a must read for those who seek a different perspective on the IT business or just some neurone-firing thoughts.
Profile Image for Markus.
101 reviews10 followers
January 5, 2015
As someone who has been reading codinghorror.com every now and then when a link there popped on my radar, I never did start reading through the archives. I'm glad that Atwood compiled this book as a summary of the best texts published in blog. His writing is clear and strong, and he never fears to voice his opinion. I think this is something a software developer should read. Thanks to the clear writing, I'd say it wouldn't be a bad introduction to the software developers' thinking for the uninitiated as well.
Profile Image for Ashray.
4 reviews
September 29, 2012
This is a pretty interesting compilation. I say compilation because most of the stuff in this book is available for free at Coding Horror. However, it's an interesting set of ideas to consider for anyone serious about a career in programming. Touches on important topics such as assembling the right team, community creation and growth, peer review vs. unit testing and many other things.
Profile Image for Rene Stein.
197 reviews32 followers
October 14, 2022
Pěkný výběr článků z Atwoodova blogu pro vývojáře, kteří nejsou naprostí ignoranti. I když ti asi většinu článků znají a k vývojářům-ignorantům se jeho doporučení stejně nedostanou ani v této kindle verzi.
Vypustil bych jen nudné kapitoly, ve kterých Jeff Atwood popisuje své pracoviště, vybírá si nové křeslo a horuje pro používání více monitorů.
Profile Image for Andy.
83 reviews
December 19, 2014
Great book, really enjoyable. It's filled of amazing advice of how to become a better and more effective software developer.

Even though all of the content is available on the Coding Horror website, the added value of this book is really great, as it groups the best blog post on the software development aspects.

I'd read it again for sure....
Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.