OT: best book in years

Discussion in 'Python' started by Patrick Useldinger, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Hi All,

    I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    few years, about Python or IT in general.

    -Patrick
     
    Patrick Useldinger, Sep 4, 2003
    #1
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  2. Patrick Useldinger

    Peter Hansen Guest

    Patrick Useldinger wrote:
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    This sounds like a good opportunity to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
    Maintenance" (by Robert Pirsig) if you have not already. It's certainly
    about IT, and ties into "The Zen of Python" (by Tim Peters) nicely, too. :)

    (Failing that, or if you've already read it, I'd suggest one of the XP
    books, probably the white one as it was first, or the TDD book, and either
    way Kent Beck gets your money. :)

    -Peter
     
    Peter Hansen, Sep 4, 2003
    #2
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  3. Patrick Useldinger

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Patrick Useldinger <> writes:
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and
    > am trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come
    > across anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I
    > would like to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have
    > read in the last few years, about Python or IT in general.


    Security Engineering, by Ross Anderson
     
    Paul Rubin, Sep 4, 2003
    #3
  4. Patrick Useldinger

    John Roth Guest

    Re: best book in years

    "Patrick Useldinger" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    I'd suggest "Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit" by
    Mary and Tom Poppendieck. It applies the concepts of Lean
    Manufacturing to software development. It's mercifully silent on
    specific Agile methodologies, but covers all of the theoretical
    underpinnings that will let you understand why they work, and why
    conventional software development methodologies have problems.
    Chapter 1 enumerates the seven categories of waste, and introduces
    you to value stream mapping as a tool.
    Chapter 2 covers quality, learning, feedback, iterations, synchronization
    and set-based development (actually set-based decision making).
    Chapter 3 states why one should defer decisions as late as possible,
    and covers concurrent development, options thinking, the last responsible
    moment and making decisions
    Chapter 4 covers rapid delivery, including pull systems, queueing theory
    and the cost of delay.
    Chapter 5 covers team empowerment, including a scathing critique of
    Taylorism, the CMM and CMMi, team self-determination, motivation,
    leadership and expertise.
    Chapter 6 covers integrity, including perceived integrity (the customer's
    view), conceptual integrity (the developer's view), refactoring and testing.
    Chapter 7 covers seeing the whole, measurements, the problems with
    attempting to optimize individual pieces of a process (suboptimization)
    and contracts.

    While I consider myself as somewhat of an XP fan, this has shaken
    up what I thought I knew and given me a whole different perspective
    on what works, what doesn't and most importantly, why.

    John Roth
    >
    > -Patrick
     
    John Roth, Sep 4, 2003
    #4
  5. Patrick Useldinger

    John J. Lee Guest

    Peter Hansen <> writes:
    [...]
    > This sounds like a good opportunity to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
    > Maintenance" (by Robert Pirsig) if you have not already. It's certainly
    > about IT, and ties into "The Zen of Python" (by Tim Peters) nicely, too. :)


    Don't read it, it's a pile of junk. :) IMNSHO.


    > (Failing that, or if you've already read it, I'd suggest one of the XP
    > books, probably the white one as it was first, or the TDD book, and either
    > way Kent Beck gets your money. :)


    A much better idea.

    Another one, that comes to mind for two reasons: "Secrets and Lies" by
    Bruce Schneier. First, it's fascinating and informative stuff on the
    subject of real-world computer security, but second, it's a pleasure
    to read, and often quite funny. If you insist on reading something
    technical while in hospital, this will at least make you smile from
    time to time!

    In the same area, an even more fun and readable book, "The Cuckoo's
    Egg" by Clifford Stoll. You've probably heard of it before -- sold a
    lot of copies, I think. A ripping yarn about the 'true story' (it
    really is a true story, but who knows how much elaboration and
    reconstruction it underwent for the book ;-) of how Cliff unearthed a
    hacker in the early days of wide-area networking. You won't put it
    down.


    John
     
    John J. Lee, Sep 4, 2003
    #5
  6. Patrick Useldinger

    John J. Lee Guest

    Paul Rubin <http://> writes:
    > Patrick Useldinger <> writes:

    [...]
    > > would like to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have
    > > read in the last few years, about Python or IT in general.

    >
    > Security Engineering, by Ross Anderson


    Yes! Haven't read the book, but looking at the breadth and depth of
    his work makes you wonder what the computer security world would do
    without this guy (and his grad. students, no doubt ;).


    John
     
    John J. Lee, Sep 4, 2003
    #6
  7. Patrick Useldinger

    GerritM Guest

    Re: best book in years

    "Patrick Useldinger" <> schreef in bericht
    news:eek:...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.
    >
    > -Patrick

    During the holidays I have been reading Michael Crighton's book "Airframe".
    This is a nice thriller at the one hand, but I also liked it from
    professional perspective: the design of very complex, software intensive,
    systems. Unfortunately I don't know how much of the story is the authors
    fantasy and how close other parts might be to reality.

    regards Gerrit

    --
    Gaudi systems architecting webpage:
    www.extra.research.philips.com/natlab/sysarch/
     
    GerritM, Sep 4, 2003
    #7
  8. Re: best book in years

    On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 21:59:18 +0200, GerritM <> wrote:

    > "Patrick Useldinger" <> schreef in bericht
    > news:eek:...
    >> Hi All,
    >>
    >> I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and
    >> am
    >> trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    >> anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would
    >> like
    >> to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the
    >> last
    >> few years, about Python or IT in general.
    >>



    I found Neil Stephenson's Crytonomicon to be VERY entertaining. Didn't
    learn much new about computers or crypto, but quite a yarn nonetheless.
    There's enough in there to say it has some "IT" involved...

    --
    Markus
     
    Markus Wankus, Sep 4, 2003
    #8
  9. Patrick Useldinger

    Alan Gauld Guest

    On Thu, 04 Sep 2003 20:16:59 +0200, Patrick Useldinger
    <> wrote:
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    IT Architectures and Middleware by Chris Broitton was a good read
    - but probably only if you are involvced in building big
    enterprise wide systems.

    I'm currently reading Robert Glass's book "Facts and Fallacies of
    Software Engineering" which is thought provoking and reminds us
    how little real progress we've made inthe last 30 years.

    And if you haven't already read it you owe it to yourself to read
    the "Structure & Interpretation of Computer Programs" (aka SICP
    and available online if you want a sample). Warning: It could
    change how you think about programming!

    And finally, I keep going back to Jon Bentley's "Programming
    Pearls" - I believe now available in a single volume. Words of
    wisdom on every page there.

    HTH,

    Alan G.
    Author of the Learn to Program website
    http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/alan.gauld
     
    Alan Gauld, Sep 4, 2003
    #9
  10. Patrick Useldinger

    Peter Hansen Guest

    "John J. Lee" wrote:
    >
    > Peter Hansen <> writes:
    > [...]
    > > This sounds like a good opportunity to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
    > > Maintenance" (by Robert Pirsig) if you have not already. It's certainly
    > > about IT, and ties into "The Zen of Python" (by Tim Peters) nicely, too. :)

    >
    > Don't read it, it's a pile of junk. :) IMNSHO.


    Are you trying to start the book-burning thread again? :)

    -Peter
     
    Peter Hansen, Sep 4, 2003
    #10
  11. "Peter Hansen" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:...
    > "John J. Lee" wrote:
    > >
    > > Peter Hansen <> writes:
    > > [...]
    > > > This sounds like a good opportunity to read "Zen and the Art of

    Motorcycle
    > > > Maintenance" (by Robert Pirsig) if you have not already. It's

    certainly
    > > > about IT, and ties into "The Zen of Python" (by Tim Peters) nicely,

    too. :)
    > >
    > > Don't read it, it's a pile of junk. :) IMNSHO.

    >
    > Are you trying to start the book-burning thread again? :)


    To my unbiased ;-) opinion it *is* overestimated. But it a good supplement
    to C.P Snow's "Two Culture Theory". It might be disapponting for somone who
    seeks simple help for software development....

    Kindly
    Michael P
     
    Michael Peuser, Sep 4, 2003
    #11
  12. Patrick Useldinger

    Peter Hansen Guest

    Michael Peuser wrote:
    > "Peter Hansen" <> wrote:
    > > "John J. Lee" wrote:
    > > > Don't read it, it's a pile of junk. :) IMNSHO.

    > >
    > > Are you trying to start the book-burning thread again? :)

    >
    > To my unbiased ;-) opinion it *is* overestimated. But it a good supplement
    > to C.P Snow's "Two Culture Theory". It might be disapponting for somone who
    > seeks simple help for software development....


    Perhaps, but I would have been happier to see a bunch of
    suggestions for Mr. Useldinger to read, without the negative
    comments about others' suggestions. Just doesn't feel right
    to me. Call me mildly ticked, is all.

    -Peter
     
    Peter Hansen, Sep 5, 2003
    #12
  13. Am Thu, 04 Sep 2003 20:16:59 +0200 schrieb Patrick Useldinger:

    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    Hi Patrick,

    I suggest the Python Cookbook.

    thomas
     
    Thomas Guetttler, Sep 5, 2003
    #13
  14. Patrick Useldinger wrote:

    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    I see you got a lot of excellent recommendations (none Python-related,
    that I've seen, though -- oh well!) and I just thought I'd add mine...:


    Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices
    by Robert C. Martin, Prentice Hall

    just about the book I wanted to write myself -- *except* that
    all examples are in Java and C++, while I would have chosen
    Python and Ruby. But if you can stomach reading Java and C++,
    this is VERY worth reading.


    Agile Modeling: Effective Practices for Extreme Programming and the Unified
    Process -- by Scott W. Ambler, John Wiley

    most XP / Agile development books underplay any artefacts that
    aren't code -- Ambler shows convincingly how and why "modeling"
    artefacts may play a crucial role in such dev't processes, and
    does so in an extremely readable way.


    Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround
    by Louis V. Gerstner Jr., HarperBusiness

    If you're at all curious how IBM was turned around (I was, having
    left IBM just before its crisis became visible and being left with
    substantial fondness for that firm), this book will prove quite
    interesting indeed.



    Alex
     
    Alex Martelli, Sep 5, 2003
    #14
  15. Patrick Useldinger

    N D Efford Guest

    Paul Rubin <http://> wrote:
    > Patrick Useldinger <> writes:
    >> I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and
    >> am trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come
    >> across anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I
    >> would like to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have
    >> read in the last few years, about Python or IT in general.


    > Security Engineering, by Ross Anderson


    Yes, read this for its broad-ranging coverage.

    Then, being a coder, why not look at the O'Reilly book
    "Secure Coding: Principles and Practices", or Viega and McGraw's
    "Building Secure Software". Every C/C++ programmer should be
    locked up until they've read these, and Pythoneers will probably
    find much that is interesting and useful therein.


    Nick
     
    N D Efford, Sep 5, 2003
    #15
  16. Hi Patrick,

    "When wizards stay up late" (Hafner & Lyon) - about the "birth" of the
    internet and the people around it. I managed to read it twice in a
    couple of months, and it describes a bit of computing history that has
    had a profound effect on all of us. Call this extremely geeky, but I
    love the idea of tinkering around with the old machines described in
    that book. I'll have to search for a simulator when I get a spare few
    hours! I found it full of detail (not too technical, but lots of
    historical info), but fascinating to read, especially that J.C.R.
    Licklider was a psychophysicist! :)

    Or of course, "the art of computer programming" by Donald Knuth, which
    is the classic text about our field. Knuth strikes me as one of the
    best programmers to have existed. Anyone who can write something as
    complex and useful as TeX and have as few bug reports, well, they've
    got to be respected! And there are 3 volumes, so there's plenty to get
    through. I must confess that I haven't read it myself (again, so
    little time), but it's supposed to be one of the seminal texts, and I
    must get around to it...

    Hope your hospital stay isn't too long!

    Alan James Salmoni
    SalStat Statistics
    http://salstat.sunsite.dk

    Patrick Useldinger <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.
    >
    > -Patrick
     
    Alan James Salmoni, Sep 5, 2003
    #16
  17. Patrick Useldinger

    Mark Jackson Guest

    Patrick Useldinger <> writes:
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and am
    > trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.


    /The Mythical Man-Month/.

    --
    Mark Jackson - http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~mjackson
    There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool
    until he has stopped asking questions.
    - Charles P. Steinmetz
     
    Mark Jackson, Sep 5, 2003
    #17
  18. In article <>,
    Alan James Salmoni <> wrote:
    .
    .
    .
    >had a profound effect on all of us. Call this extremely geeky, but I
    >love the idea of tinkering around with the old machines described in
    >that book. I'll have to search for a simulator when I get a spare few
    >hours! I found it full of detail (not too technical, but lots of

    .
    .
    .
    The opportunities here are greater than you might realize.
    There's a great deal of amateur "retro-computing" activity:
    enthusiasts with PDP11s in their basement, and so on. A
    distinct, but equally engaging area, is that of emulators;
    wonderful work has been done to recreate the behavior of
    antique systems. While some of it is ill-maintained, I
    try to point to only the highlights in <URL:
    http://phaseit.net/claird/comp.os.misc/emulators.html >.
    --

    Cameron Laird <>
    Business: http://www.Phaseit.net
    Personal: http://phaseit.net/claird/home.html
     
    Cameron Laird, Sep 5, 2003
    #18
  19. Patrick Useldinger

    Chris Reedy Guest

    Patrick Useldinger wrote:
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I am going to stay in hospital for a week or so (nothing serious), and
    > am trying to find a book or two to read there. As I have not come across
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would
    > like to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in
    > the last few years, about Python or IT in general.
    >
    > -Patrick


    This one's been out a few years, but I really enjoyed it when I got it
    as a Christman gift:

    Why Buildings Falls Down by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori

    It's an easy read and a good education in the kinds of "bugs" that
    infect building construction -- something that's always held up to
    software types as an example of a mature engineering discipline.

    Chris



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    Chris Reedy, Sep 5, 2003
    #19
  20. Patrick Useldinger

    Don Hiatt Guest

    Patrick Useldinger <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > anything spectacular recently (except Python in a Nutshell), I would like
    > to know what *you* consider to be the best book you have read in the last
    > few years, about Python or IT in general.
    >


    Although not a python book, you might find "Emma Goldman: A
    Documentary History of the American Years, 1" good for your soul (just
    like python). :)

    http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9079.html

    Cheers,

    don
     
    Don Hiatt, Sep 5, 2003
    #20
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