Book Review: Coders by Clive Thompson

June 4, 2024

About:

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson is, for lack of a better term, an anthropology book that looks at the history and cultural events that created the coders subculture. Mr. Thompson is a writer for Wired Magazine.

  • 448 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Penguin Press
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0735220565

Book Review: Coders by Clive Thompson
My rat­ing for Everest, Inc. 4
Buy Coders from Amazon.com*
More Books by Clive Thompson*

Thoughts:

I’ve been a programmer for a few decades now, and it was amusing to read about the “history” that I’ve lived through. Coders by Clive Thompson takes a look at what it takes to be a programmer and some important events that changed the industry.

I don’t agree with several of the author’s picks, but I’m not going to write my own book about my experience so I defer to Mr. Thompson. I also enjoyed the author taking a look at what it takes to code and the misconception of a “lone genius”.

The book, like many others I read about the history of technology, is written for non-techies. While coding is a creative occupation, I wouldn’t compare it with writing poetry though, or any artistic endeavor at all. It’s us, the grunts and “code monkeys” who can make big ideas happen through hours upon hours of labor, meticulously making sure that everything works as desired.

When I entered the field, in the mid-1990s, I didn’t realize that it was the beginning of the “bro coder” era. I admit that on the East Coast, working for a huge company, I didn’t notice many of the issues the author talks about that happen in the incubators of those pushing technology to its limits. While I realize there are issues in the industry, like almost every other one, in my experience there is much diversity (but it’s not perfect).

Maybe I know too much but it seemed to me that Mr. Thompson forgot he was writing a book, and kept writing magazine articles. Issues are mixed to create a false narrative at times on subjects like algorithms, and the solutions do not make sense to me.

I did enjoy the book though, I didn’t learn as much as I thought but I did live through, and participated in the era and industry. Tech culture is fascinating from the inside and even more fascinating reading an outsider’s view of it.

Buy Coders from Amazon.com*
More Books by Clive Thompson*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson
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Wrap Up

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

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