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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,855 ratings  ·  271 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
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
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
Alex Givant
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of programming industry landscape with all bumps and problems.
Before I learned programming, I worked at a tech company in a role where the longterm goal would've been to become best friends with reporters like Thompson. I was in Public Relations, and I was told to never use the word "coder" to describe the people building our software, because it sounded amateur. Later, when I started learning JavaScript, I and friends like me were told something similar: Never call yourself a coder; nobody will take you seriously.

I now work in a hybrid role, Developer Re
Camelia Rose
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, audio, essays
As a coder, I enjoyed reading Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson. It is true that you won't find a full list of the names from the Computer Science Hall of Fame. I don't think the book is intended to be a documentary of famous computer scientists/coders. Clive Thompson is a tech journalist. The book is about the social and cultural evolution of coders from 1950s onwards in the society at large. It is a tech culture commentary and it is mostly about ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
I mainly jumped around in this book since it's organized more as a collection of long essays. Some things that Thompson observes in his writing are spot on (like how coders mostly have "boundless, nigh masochistic ability to endure brutal, grinding frustration."), but others are just lazy reporting and further perpetuates the stereotype of what a coder is and what they're typically thinking. Reading the book made me jump wildly between, "Hey, that's me!" and "Ugh, that's not true."

Maybe I'm not
Jodi Meadows
Very interesting. Discusses a lot about coding, how people get into it, where it's going -- and also the racism and sexism in the industry. ...more
Florin Pitea
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: until-2022
Well documented. Well written. Highly relevant. Recommended.
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. ...more
Paul moved to LibraryThing
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
How low has journalism fallen. Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine it is not. The author is uninformed on the subject matter itself and uncritically regurgitates interviews, news articles and other people's opinions with zero insight. Most of the book has nothing to do with software engineers and is a cacophony of random complaints against social media, personal political views and tiresome anecdotes from people he knows. ...more
Viktor Khotimcheko
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
Almost dropped reading because of social justice chapters but code chapters are great.
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.
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The real title is “Everything Wrong With Coders.”
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: web-development
An optimistic overview of the past and present of the coder community with an inclusive slant. A great companion book for my beginner coding studies.
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
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Coders provides the reader with an insight into the world of coders. From the origins of coding to our modern day, coders wield a significant amount of influence on how we live our lives.
The book sets off by looking at coders from Facebook, how many of the fundamental functions such as the newsfeed, poking and like button came to be, along with background information on some of the people that programmed them.

The book presents the shifting roles of males vs. females in the software industry. Wo
Jake Goretzki
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Highly readable exploration of the world of coding, past, present and future, giving a good cross-generational picture of the culture and its development. It becomes increasingly 'urgent' as code takes over our everyday lives, giving us tech titans with the power to do so much damage (and so much good).

I particularly enjoyed the commentary on the politics (often libertarian, with fairly common touches of Ayn Rand), character (studiedly antisocial hours; massive hunger for a knotty problem; peri
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
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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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