I was recently asked by some colleagues about my favourite books on programming. And not just books on coding, but on improving their understanding of successful teams.
Many programming books have had an impact on me, and some more so than others. It’s not a surprise that the books I read earliest in my career also had the biggest impact. And fortunately some of those books were pretty good.
The Mythical Man Month
Frederick P. Brooks
“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”
The great thing about reading a classic is that it provides you with a knowledge and context shared by many others. Even if the book is difficult, the rewards go beyond the simple knowledge gained by the experience. Fortunately reading The Mythical Man-Mon is a pleasure, and it’s wonderful to see so many of our industry’s aphorisms in their full context: The Second-System Effect , No Silver Bullet , Plan to throw one way — you will anyway .
The one that always resonated with me the most is the last. I’ve simply never been able to really understand a programming or systems design problem until I’ve solved it at least once.
The amazing thing about The Mythical Man Month is that it doesn’t feel dated, even though it was first published in 1975. Instead it simply feels like a group of programmers discussing the very same challenges the industry has today, with just different technology in use.