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The Passionate Programmer

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,048 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Success in today's IT environment requires you to view your career as a business endeavor. In this book, you'll learn how to become an entrepreneur, driving your career in the direction of your choosing. You'll learn how to build your software development career step by step, following the same path that you would follow if you were building, marketing, and selling a produ ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published June 4th 2009 by Pragmatic Bookshelf (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is a great example of the state of most non-technical programming writing, in that it mostly exists to stroke the author's ego and give a pat on the head to his gen-x American colleagues.

In its original form it was a list of tips aimed to help American programmers avoid having their jobs outsourced from under them, written as a series of short blog-style chapters that are not long enough to cover their topic, let alone dive deep enough to provide any insight.

Everything the book looks a
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this on the plane. Am happy to write this review.
This book falls broadly into two different but related categories - 1. How to be better at your job and 2. How to plan out a good career in the IT industry. I’ll focus on the first part first. This review is really for myself so I’m going to summarize my key takeaways and perhaps editorialize a bit (though the book has plenty of opinions itself). I found a pleasant cohesiveness between what the book recommends and the Amazon leadersh
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the most inspirational book I have read so far this year. Chad Fowler is a respected authority in the Ruby programming community and this book is aimed at aspiring software such as myself. The main theme in the book and what I really got out of it in the end is the suggestion of paying attention to not only acquiring cutting edge skills but also indulging in self-marketing and networking in person. He suggests treating your career as a product that you work on improving non-stop a ...more
Yevgeniy Brikman
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Pros: it's good to see a book that encourages people to take a more disciplined look at their careers. The book covers many important ideas for being a successful programmer: work with people better than you; don't listen to your parents; be a generalist; find a mentor; learn how to fail; learn to say no; build your brand.

Cons: the voice used in the book feels wrong--at times, it sounds like an infomercial or self help book. There are a number of weird programmer stereotypes and a strange focus
André Pinto
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
this looks to me like the point of view of someone that lost any passion for programming as an art/craft, to start seeing it from the typical egocentric manager point of view. I read the whole book simply to have a glimpse of what someone with this attitude really thinks. good technical managers should feel uncomfortable with the limited mindset that is promoted on the book.

there are a few interesting and useful "blog posts" but several others could possibly be part of an anti-pattern book on "
Roberta Arcoverde
I heard about this book when it was first published, in 2009. Fresh out of university, I was in the beginning of my career as a - very passionate, for the record - software developer. I remember reading The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master and a *lot* of other then-famous programming books, which were very useful then and are still worth reading now. Unfortunately, I don't think The Passionate Programmer aged as well.

Overall, the writing feels too egocentric for my taste. One of t
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read. The author tries to explain what skills and habits a programmer has to develop in order to be successful.

The chapters are short and every one of them ends with a tiny to do paragraph meant to help you develop a new skill or improve an old one. There are some analogies between the processes a programmer should follow and the ones a musician would.(The author himself being a saxophone player).

Almost every chapter is well argumented. Several examples and analogies are presen
Andreea Ratiu
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the title of this book. I considered myself passionate about my work so I immediately put it on my 'To Read' list. The book contains many useful advice. Most of them I think are more interesting for people getting started on their careers, but given that it is a short book and might challenge some soul searching, I recommend it to everyone.
One chapter that was relevant to me is the one about marketing yourself. As the chapter warns you, self-promotion is considered kind of a d
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am glad that the recent ideas about a career as a programmer are written in one book. I get better insight than from reading bits in blogs and tweets. However the author is too personal, and he is writing too much about himself. So if you are not his friend or have similar experience for example your are not a jazz musician than it's boring and you skip half of the book. And it's short one.

It's enough to read the table of content:
Lead or Bleed?
Supply and Demand
Coding Don’t Cut It Anymore
Be t
Robert Boyd
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This is one book I wish I had at the beginning of my career. Or maybe I wish I could force any of my past non-tech managers or clients to read. It does a solid job of describing many of the realities of being a software craftsman.

That said, I have to agree with a lot of the lukewarm reviews that there aren't really any earth-shattering revelations that will change the way you work if you're already established in this profession. Self analysis is always a good thing though, and this book dishes
Boni Aditya
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book along with the Pragmatic Programmers, must be read by a programmer. These works would have saved me and other budding programmers from wasting tons of hours and set us straight in our path, when we are wading through a thick fog due to lack of direction, these books could have helped. The author is an experienced writer and his book
"I lost my job to India" did not sell well as he acknowledges in the introduction of this book, because that book was more of a rant than a solution. Every
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technical
May be expectation was bit different, I thought this book as tech book where some concepts will be explained. For example I learnt DRY concept, Reversibility etc.. from The Pragmatic Programmer. But this books is a self-help book for programmers/developers. Advice, advice and more advice.
Francis Fish
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: techie-tubby
I had this book on my phone and read it in small chunks. It's written in a way that lets you easily dip in and out of it.

It's an interesting read and gives you exercises to try at the end of each small vignette. I think that if you try them you will benefit greatly.

I've been having a career for a long time and found it interesting that Chad validates a lot of things I have discovered empirically over the years, particularly about understanding why your employer employs you to have fun writing co
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
Let me start by saying I cringe whenever I hear people talk about what they're "passionate" about in a career sense. It's an over-used and hyperbolic adjective that's turned into yet another buzzword. If you're really "passionate" about customer service QA or something, perhaps you need to get out more. Life is short; save "passionate" for things that really deserve it.

That said, this is a great "idea" book, in that it's a fast, easy read, and each short chapter gives you a topic to think about,
Harish Sankar
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Personal Review: I liked the book, but did not "really like it"

Originally this book was intended for US citizens to protect their jobs.
"Your Job went to India" was its initial title.
And as an Indian, I cannot accept the motivation for the author to write the book- to save Americans their jobs.
Truth is- it is a level playing field, and there is no job security anymore.
The author realised this, and hence changed the title.

Its a good book- well written with action points to improve your programming
Marco Emmanuel Patiño Acosta
This is one of those books that every programmer must read eventually. It provides you a full list of tips and to-do's in your daily work that will improve your overall role in your current company. It also provides great analogies about how being a musician helped him to achieve goals and how you should not fear to lose your job against outsourcing but rather become a more valuable programmer. Also at the end of every chapter it has a full list of things to do so it just invites you to keep you ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
As an experienced programmer it's safe to say that Chad fails to see the real important problems to be solved in the software industry, instead of trying to sell me to "research the market and pick a programming language that's hot". This read like a book for applied, applied programmers that haven't yet managed to really understand core principles: abstract structuring. And yet, there's a small chapter called "invest in your intelligence", right before "your biggest career fears"? I might have ...more
Guillermo Siliceo Trueba
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is the coach many of us professional programmers need in our careers to push us to the next level. It reads like a, very experienced, friend giving advice.
A must for programmers!
And not so long of a book if i might add.
Zeh Fernando
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Some good ideas and advices, but a little bit too much self help kool aid at times.
Rahul Aragade
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very good book. This book convincingly explains what should your approach be towards your software career. A must read. (and future re-read)
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a good companion to the Pragmatic Programmer (both belonging to "The Pragmatic Bookshelf"). I enjoyed the fact that author was/is a professional musician turned programmer because I can relate. It consists of small chapters all aimed to making your programming career remarkable. Some interesting ideas include thinking about your career like it is a business, be the worst among other programmers (like in music it will force to step up your game), teach what you know, contributing to an op ...more
Christian Brumm
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cs-software
Solid 360 degrees career advice for software developers, worthwhile read for everyone serious about his career in Software Technology.
Like other books in the "Pragmatic Programmer" series most advice and stories told apply to work life or even life in general. The book makes clear that YOU are responsible for your happiness and career and contains some actionable "tasks" for you to do to start on a piece of advice given.
I would have given 5 stars if the anecdotes would give a more coherent overa
Bart Bakker
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read about working in the field and getting better at what you do.

A great example from the book is that people don't know a particular technology yet 'because they didn't get an opportunity' to do that'. Isn't it your responsibility, not your managers?

The book is full of plans and things that you can do yourself, and keeps responsibility on you.

No more excuses, no more blaming others, you're not alone, you can do something about.

On the down side is that there seems to be a somew
David Tan
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book! This book offers really good and practical advice on how manage the various challenges faced by any programmer, e.g. how to manage the deluge of information and things to learn, how to manage failure, how to manage workload, how to excel in your team, how to make your team excel, etc. There are several principles and heuristics which I found to be helpful in managing life and growth as a developer
Emad Mokhtar
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed every page of this book, if you want or you are passionate programmer/developer will find this book is very good and the best in this book that it is written as group of tips under chapters that group them by the area of improvement.
This book will always be on my shelf so any time I want a tip in one or more of improvement area I will open in the read.
Josh Hamacher
Oct 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Don't waste your money on this book. All of the advice in this book is either obvious to someone who is truly interested in programming as a profession or else boils down to "don't be true to your personality, force yourself to be something you're not". I was not at all impressed. ...more
Anusha Narasimhan
The title seems misleading. I don't see anything about passion in the essays. This is more like a self-help book to keep your job from getting outsourced.

Some of the tips are good indeed, but we've seen them all in better books. Recommended for programmers who read books on career advice.
Sergey Shishkin
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I only regret I haven't read this book 5 years ago and had to learn all of this on my own ;) ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the praises and criticisms I have seen about this book seem right on point. The overall message/feeling/philosophy it conveys is on the money and does a good job. But there is a lot of odd bits, too, where it either goes into too much detail on some aspects (generally about the author, specifically) and then just the most superficially and vague bits for things that seem like they should have had more devoted to them. I definitely don't think this is up there with The Pragmatic Programmer ...more
Andrew Komarovsky
Good book about Software Development field and Includes tons of useful advices and tips on building a successful career.

This book is more useful if you just started your career as you find a lot of tips are trivial if you are an experienced software engineer or manager. Though it is useful to go through this tips from time time even if you have lots of experience.

Additionally, I find some tips like the ones about maintenance or contracting are tailored to author personal career choices and “so
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Chad Fowler has been a software developer and manager for some of the world's largest corporations. He recently lived and worked in India, setting up and leading an offshore software development center. He is co-founder of Ruby Central, Inc., a non-profit corporation responsible for the annual International Ruby Conference and The International Rails Conference, and is a leading contributor in the ...more

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