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Thinking in Promises: Designing Systems for Cooperation

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Imagine a set of simple principles that could help you to understand how parts combine to become a whole, and how each part sees the whole from its own perspective. If such principles were any good, it shouldn't matter whether we're talking about humans on a team, birds in a flock, computers in a datacenter, or cogs in a Swiss watch. A theory of cooperation ought to be pre ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published July 17th 2015 by O'Reilly Media (first published May 25th 2015)
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Sebastian Gebski
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me a few years of professional work experience to come up with very similar thoughts & conclusions.
Then it took me next few years to be able to phrase them out for others & make myself capable of convincing them why this is the way to go - I even now, I don't think I'm super good in that.

I wish I had (& read) this book earlier. Not that I believe it would save me all those years - you really have to feel some pains first to actual UNDERSTAND what's the fuss about, but certainly it'd give
Paul Bard
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
A computer networking theory book about getting computers to declare their intentions and work together instead of commanding them from above.

DNF. Very dry and abstract. Extended book treatment didn’t seem to help in bringing understanding compared to a google and reading of three articles on the subject.
Denis Romanovsky
This book seems to be interesting, but very hard to read - abstraction after abstraction. Anyway such abstractions make you learn to analyze the world differently. Definitely, there is something good in promise theory. It is just not yet its time.
While the book certainly was an interesting read - I particularly enjoyed the exercise sections at the end of each chapter, looking for promises in everyday objects and interactions was certainly fun - this promisee finds that the book utterly failed to keep one of the most important promises it made: elaborate on designing systems for cooperation/collaboration.

The book simply introduces the Promise Theory then zooms in and dives deep into the concepts and philosophy behind it and then zooms ou
Giedrius Statkevičius
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best way I could describe it in a short manner: it is kind of like stoicism applied to individuals what the author calls "agents". Thinking in terms of promises indeed brings more clarity to systems and how they interact. Also, it gives us some new insights in technology and other fields such as the fact that we cannot promise reliability on part of the systems that we are building ourselves, and that the reliability first of all starts with the agent that interacts with our system. For exam ...more
David Baer
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thinking in Promises by Mark Burgess describes foundational building blocks of communication and cooperation. Promises are a very basic pattern that applies in Software systems and in organizations. This is a part of what fascinated me in my previous work as software engineer and what continues to thrill me in my current work as an agile coach where I help organizations to evolve to cooperate best.
The book is really low level, so I’d assume that it is only ingesting to those with expertise and
Marcin Jałbrzykowski
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Promise Theory is a really interesting concept which inverts an imperative way of communication between components into a declarative way of making promises. This theory can be applied not only in IT systems but also in modeling organizational structures, physical phenomena or every other aspect of our lives.

"Thinking in Promises" is not strictly an IT book, it's more a philosophical book that shows a different way of perceiving the world and relationships between various entities. The book
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book turns your perspective upside down, but it could have used more examples. I am reading his other book his.
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Mark Burgess is a writer with many interests. His books span from fiction to hard science, and he actively writes philosphically in his blog about all aspects of modern information culture. He is an active public speaker on the international conference circuit, and is engaged in promoting science to a wide audience.

He is the Founder and original author of CFEngine. He was senior lecturer and then

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