Brad Feld

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Must Read Book: Joel on Software

Jan 16, 2005
Category Books

I just finished Joel on Software.  It is fabulous!  Joel Spolsky – CEO of Fog Creek Software – has written a must read book for everyone in the software industry.

Joel has a popular blog by the same name as the book.  While some of the book is a simple refactoring of his blog posts over the past few years, don’t be fooled – this is a well organized, often hilarious, and always insightful compendium of Joel’s thoughts.  It’s fresh.  And relevant.  And – almost always dead nuts on. 

If you are a software developer, I expect you’ll roll around on the floor in empathy while simultaneously gleaning new insights into why the world are you is so bizarre and the marketing people in your company are so stupid.  You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the cause of the general cluelessness of venture capitalists and still wonder why Microsoft doesn’t have a .NET linker (but it’ll inspire you to go searching for one on Google.)

If you manage software developers, or are a manager in a software company, you’ll end up with a much deeper understanding of what a typical software developer worries about when he’s not smirking at the last thing that came out of your mouth.  You’ll learn why you should never try to set software development strategy based on what you read in airline magazines and why it’s just fucking dumb to create incentive programs for software developers that treat them like they are still in kindergarten.

If you are the CEO of one of my companies, don’t bother buying this book.  You’ll get one in the mail from me in the next week or so.  However, if you are someone else, and want to learn about – in Joel’s words – “on software and on diverse and occasionally related matters that will prove of interest to software developers, and managers, and to those who, whether by good fortune or ill luck, work with them in some capacity”, buy it now.

P.S. I don’t know Joel, but I respect him, even if he worked at Juno.