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Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,388 ratings  ·  206 reviews
From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson, a brilliant and immersive anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers - where they come from, how they think, what makes for greatness in their world, and what should give us pause.

You use software nearly every instant you're awake. And this may sound weirdly obvious, but every s
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Penguin Press
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Salman Ravoof Coding camps are good value for money, especially when compared to costly for-profit colleges/universities. But you need to dedicate yourself to your …moreCoding camps are good value for money, especially when compared to costly for-profit colleges/universities. But you need to dedicate yourself to your learning tasks, as there's no external or peer force to force you to go through the learning process. (less)

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Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a really interesting anthropological account of coder culture--but actually, more broadly of tech culture. What I loved was his account of how these stereotypes of coders get made up and then they self-perpetuate because companies start to hire a certain profile. And then this insular community of awkward, egotistical, monoculture of white men end up creating all our entertainment, tech, and shape our culture. I was glad this was not a veneration of these iconic men, but it also wasn't a ...more
Peter Tillman
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good book by a good writer. Here's the review that led me to read it:
If I were you, I'd read that first.

Back already? The book suffers a bit by the chapters starting life (mostly) as magazine articles. But Thompson has done his homework, is enthusiastic about his topic, and talked to a lot of coders and related people over the years. I was happy to skim past historical stuff I already knew -- and actually, Thompson puts a fresh-enough spin on most of thi
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I would definitely recommend reading this, especially if you’re a Software Engineer or somehow work in IT, or even if your partner is.
I enjoyed every page of the book, but I especially liked the chapters about mental health, sexism and blue collar coding. The author remains fair and unbiased throughout the story and he has interviewed a ridiculously high number of people to write this book. The book never gets boring or too far fetched fro
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brand new business trade about the coding frenzy that has been around in recent years. It is well informed and well written. What I found most attractive about it was its intelligent discussion of coding and programming as an occupational structure and not just a passing fancy of coding academies and proprietary trade schools. It also provides an intelligent history of the fields and some good commentary on some of the less desirable aspects of coding (unfriendliness to minorities and ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is essentially a book of essays – a format I avoid. Collected essays are like “greatest hits” albums with one or two highs and not much holding the work together. Clive Thompson has written a welcome deviation by writing a book of cohesive topical essay-chapters where most information packed chapters build on the ones preceding.

It is also welcome that he sticks with his topic. This is about coding, not hardware or the internet.

Thompson starts at the beginning so you learn a bit about the s
Mal Warwick
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The first computer programmer was a woman. Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter, wrote code in 1842-43 for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a computer that was never built. And a century later, when the first digital computers finally came into existence, the programmers were predominantly female. In fact, women continued to dominate the field well into the 1960s. Only then did men begin to find the job attractive. Today, of course, coding—a trendier name for computer programming—is overwhelm ...more
Frank Lee
May 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Clive Thompson's "Coders" is a long and verbose book which, ultimately, fails to deliver significant insights and focuses too much on transient hype, controversy, cherry-picked anecdotes, statistically weak research, frivolous pop-culture references and nitpicked factoids, all filtered, distorted or amplified through the author's narrow and rigid ideological lens.

Thompson's coders (the people whose opinions and stories are presented in the book) are not exactly selected based on their contributi
Alex Givant
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of programming industry landscape with all bumps and problems.
William Schram
Coders by Clive Thompson is the fascinating account of how programming and coding turned from a Matriarchy to a Sausage Fest. Initially, programming was done by women. This was not a matter of convenience or anything like that; men at the time just thought that building the hardware was a better problem to tackle. So women were allowed free rein of the software while the menfolk attempted to make faster and more powerful computers.

Theoretically, coding and programming is a pure meritocracy. All
Ali Sattari
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very nice book on different characteristics of past few generation of coders, how they differ, evolved and fit into market. This is very useful to both coders, to form a better self image of themselves and colleagues, and to non-coders, to get a glimpse of it's nuances and complexities.
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once the author got past the myth busting surrounding programming and programmers there happened to be some worthwhile gems in this book. The myths needed to be busted but I would say most people who have lived in the real world already know those myths as myths.

‘Google Bro’ was shown to be the misogynist shallow spouter of alt-right anti-women nonsense that he really is (for those who have forgotten he was the dude who wrote a letter on Google’s in house forum arguing that women are inferior t
Andy Foster
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and easy-to-read guide to the modern software world; who becomes programmers and why, who gets excluded, the impact that just a few people have on the world, and the problems that having so many white males has brought about.

This book particularly revolves around the large American/Silicon Valley software companies that have had an outsized impact on recent history: Uber, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

Each chapter goes into a different aspect of the software industry, from the po
Huyen Chip
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The first half made me want to give up. But the second half made up for it.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Coders : The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World (2019) by Clive Thompson looks at who coders are, what they do and the culture that surrounds them. Thompson is a successful journalist who has written for various publications including Wired magazine. 

The book starts by looking at some coders at Facebook and their role in introducing the Facebook newsfeed and the like button. Some time is spent looking at different eras of programmers. There is an excellent chapter called 'Consta
David Ward
Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson (Penguin Press 2019) (005.1092). “Coders” are those who create computer software code, and they are among the most influential people on the planet. We use and depend on software every minute of every day, every stroke of which was crafted by a coder. It is said that being proficient at coding is the twenty-first century equivalent of being able to read and write during the Middle Ages. The esoteric knowledge and a ...more
Sree Harsha Ramesh
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
An engaging read, and a neat packaging of the current topics in the mainstream discourse about technology. But, couldn't stop but get a feeling of déjà lu, as I follow the author's work on Wired, and the book seems more like a collection of opinion pieces in the same vein.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very light survey of an the "idea" of coders. As someone who went to a coding bootcamp and codes often, sometimes professionally, it didn't scratch the itch I had.
Viktor Khotimcheko
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
Almost dropped reading because of social justice chapters but code chapters are great.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The real title is “Everything Wrong With Coders.”
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Working on an open floor is meant to encourage closer interaction with our peers at work, thus helping in bonding and better teamwork. But little do we realize that not everyone’s work is meant for constant open interaction. I work at a marketing agency that is heavily driven by technology and automation. So surely, I’m surrounded by developers. My work in client servicing by its virtue involves constant meetings. However, a developer’s doesn’t. Their highest productivity is achieved through wha ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a look at coders and coding culture and every coder and system-thinker will probably love reading it. Because who doesn't love to hear about being INTJs and the joy of efficiency and the frustrations and patience required when chasing bugs. It definitely gave me the itch to go and automate something. All the analogies were spot on, that for example coders have to build and juggle houses of cards in their head while programming, tracking at all times the complex interdependencies, an ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As someone that is joining a coding bootcamp in less than a week, I am really happy I found that book and decided to read it. As someone that just likes to read, I am even more happy to have read that book.

I decided to read that book because it was supposed to draw an in-depth portrait of that "new" world of coders and it is exactly what it did. And it was full of very interesting informations and facts and studies... History, sociology, gender studies... All the angles of that "tribe" are cove
Buddy Scalera
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, well-researched analysis of coder culture. Excellent writing and pacing. The first half of the book is insightful and is difficult to put down. The author even provides personal insight into his own experiences as a coder, which rounds out the narrative in a compelling and introspective way.

There are parts that are disturbing, particularly when you read about the treatment of women in tech companies. It's clear that certain cultural issues in the workplace need to be addressed immedi
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
True to its name, the ultimate purpose of this book was to look under the hood of "coders", see what they're like and how the operate and what they think. Of course taking this anthropological route leads to much oversimplification and too-small sample sizes. So what can you really learn about coders? Well, you can get a pretty decent look at the subset of coders he talked to and studied, and the set of companies he talked about. As for extrapolating that information, well that's a little more o ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A very interesting dive into the history of software programming and, more importantly, the thought process of coders. This book covered trends and patterns within the industry with personal stories from interviews with those in the industry. If you are a coder you will likely see yourself in these pages. If you know a coder, you will likely come away saying, "Oh, that is why he/she is like that."

My main negative with the book is that the author at times overexplained things. There were several
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-me
This is a book of reporting, not analysis. I can't go into too much detail for fear of spoilers. If you just want a lot of stories about programmers, this might work for you.

Yet because it is pretty broad and not very deep, it is not going to satisfy many working "coders" who have been in the business more than 10 years and probably want more exposure of the reasons why tech is the way it is nowadays. If you keep up with your profession by reading blog posts and Hacker News, I don't think you're
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting to read but I realize I made the right decision when I decided to go into another branch of technology for a career! Coders work so many hours there would have been practically NO time for me to read my beloved novels!📚📚
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I've known I wanted to work with computers since the first time I laid eyes on one, and have been a professional software engineer since age 15. I picked this book up because I was very curious to hear the author's thoughts about the trade and its future place in the world.

However, I gave up about 20% of the way through. The work of "coders" is idealized, romanticized, and stereotyped to such a degree that I wasn't able to keep reading. Great attention is paid to the gender divide (admittedly a
Ken Hamner
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good book. Highly recommended.
Johnny Au
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a pretty good overview of how coding originated, to where it is today.
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Clive Thompson is a Canadian freelance journalist, blogger and science and technology writer.

Thompson graduated from the University of Toronto with majors in political science and English. He previously worked for Canada's Report on Business magazine and Shift magazine, then became a freelance contributor for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Lingua Franca, Wired, Shift, Entertainm

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