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Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age (Anglais)
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Hackers and painters is a book which reads like a collection of random essays. The first few chapters is about the start of computing and about childhood while later chapters are about both starting a startup and socioeconomic policies. The last chapters are about programming languages where he strongly argues for lisp.
Anyone so have read one of his essays know how well articulate Graham can be and the this book is no exception. The chapters themselves are really well written even though he sometimes argues unconvincingly.
In the end I did not feel that this book was anything else than a collection of essays and while some are interesting, it does not save the entire book. A stronger focus and some narrative between the chapters would improve this book immensely.
Oh the chapter about nerds! oh my. Growing up a severe bookworm I always felt traditional schooling was the kid version of the shawshank redemption. Apparently I wasn't the only one.
What this Paul fellow is doing with his ycombinator startup monopoly in Silicon Valley is fixing the inefficiencies of a broken school system and sharing the education on his blog and youtube.
If you haven't seen Stanford CS -183b (his is lecture 3) it is a refreshing reminder of where the focus should be ~ learning how to create things people actually want not gaming and tricking the system with a bunch of hype.
The first article is triggered by Pauls growing up and asks why nerds are unpopular when you are younger. He explores memories of his childhood and tries to clarify them. He continues with a article after which the book is named. He explains that he has *some* education in painting and explores the similarity between hacking and painting.
The next couple chapters are an attack to taboos in general. What can we say? Why can we say that? And he claims that hackers are more comfortable breaking taboos, breaking the rules.
In the article "The road ahead" he is making predictions related to web-based server software, of which some are insightful (or were insightful). He claims that server-based software will be the future and the recent years have certainly shown that to be true.
The next couple of articles relate to capitalism and I did disagree with a lot of the statements he made in here. Though, often his points are carefully crafts.. here I found them simplistic. It annoyed me and even thought about stop reading it. The well-written-ness made me continue though.
The middle of the book contains an article about spam. This one doesn't fit well in the book and could have better left out, in my opinion.
The last articles in the book relate to programming languages and were fun to read. Paul is a serious Lisp fan and tries to argue about programming languages in such a way that it always supports his chose of lisp. He does make a couple of good points.
All in all, I've enjoyed reading "Hackers & Painters". Its an easy read with interesting strong opinions from Paul. I'd rate it between 3 and 4 stars, mainly because the amount of learning is not high. Though, I remember some articles got me laughing out loud, so decided to go for a 4. Worth reading if you like strong opinions relate to hacker cultures.