What is this book about?
An assortment of topics. The common theme is a contrarian perspective. Makes you rethink your own attitude and thought patterns about everything happening in today's world.
- Understand the world as seen with the eyes of a nerd
- Dealing with social zealots
- Thinking like a hacker
Quotes worth remembering
Argue with idiots and you become an idiotChapter 3, What you can't say.
The problem with working slowly is not that technical innovations happen slowly. It's that they don't happen at all.Chapter 6, How to make wealth.
The big lessons
- Creators grow ideas. They don't follow a set of rules to reach a destination.
- Hackers (programmers) are like artists. They do not always have a clear picture of what they are creating.
- Watch for what you are not allowed to say. Insecure people try to gag criticism.
Takeaways for tech leaders
- Hackers, troublemakers, people who question the status quo are not always looking to make life difficult for you.
Quite often they are the creative problem solvers, the ones itching for a big challenge.
Stuff I didn't like
The bit about 'The other road ahead' is irrelevant today. This chapter talks about software moving from desktop to the browser, agile
development practices, lean teams. Most code lives on servers. People have moved away from desktop software.
Agile is the norm. And the push towards lean teams, customer centric development and fewer layers of QA/Ops is the norm.
This book was written two decades back (as of aug 2023). These ideas were revelotionary back then.
The chapter 'A plan for spam' is a peek into Paul's brain. He proposes a solution for spam. The proposal is thorough. It takes care of the many potential weaknesses, exceptions and scenarios. It proposes a statisical model vs. a simple keyword driven filtering approach. From concept to conclusion, this chapter shows Paul in action (as a hacker).