This afternoon, I finished @chadfowler’s The Passionate Programmer. One of my favorite books is The Pragmatic Programmer, so the similar title of this book (and the author, who I follow on Twitter) caught my eye. I read a lot of hype about it leading up to its release and I was not disappointed! Besides echoing many other reviewers’ exhortation to go pick up the book and read it if you care about your career, I thought it would be valuable to capture in text some of my thoughts, gathered while reading this book.

Why You Should Read This Book

The reason I ordered this book in the first place is that I am passionate about software development and about making the most of my career in technology. This book is both inspirational and pragmatic (as the name of the publisher would imply). Each chapter is a bite-sized discussion of a single aspect of improving yourself as a contributing member of the industry. At the end of each chapter, there is an “Act On It!” section that gives some concrete things I can think about or do today to be better at what I do. If you really care about what you do, read this book. Even if what you do isn’t software development, there is a lot of value here for everyone.

What I Got Out of It

Things I was already doing that were validated:

  • Participating in Open Source (Reading others’ code and contributing my own)
  • Striving to only work 40 hours per week
  • Practicing my craft outside of business hours
  • Exploring the bleeding edge of tomorrow’s hot technologies

Things I immediately started doing after reading about them:

  • Learning more about how the business really works (what impacts the bottom-line?)
  • Practice writing more (here I am writing a blog post after far too long)
  • Recording commitments and tracking them to completion

Things I have been putting off that I’m going to really start doing

  • Learn by teaching
  • “Be the worst” by striving to work with the best
  • Go deeper into understanding the technologies I use
  • Use this blog as a capture-point for research to remind my future self