Insightful books about Computing

Banker asked me whether “you know of any good IT bios, or books related to gaming or animation or coding that are interesting enough to a layperson”.

So, I came up with:

Any other recommendations?

Note to self: I should read all the essays in these books as well.

10 thoughts on “Insightful books about Computing

  1. Hitting the High Notes is a very recent Joel article and it is not present in the book you mentioned.

    Even otherwise, I don’t think that Joel’s books can be appreciated by non geek. Lot of what he talks in his books is about technology and managing software projects, which is a great read for us, developers, but won’t really make lot of sense to normal person.

    Honestly, I don’t know of any books which explains programming for laymen but see the last section of Joel’s book recommendations. Section is titled ‘I wanna be a programmer’ and mentions ‘Code’ and ‘K & R’ books.


  2. Yeah, I’ve heard some good things about Code as well. Supposed to be very good introduction to computers for non-geeks (I’ve not read it though). Then again, Code is mostly about computer architecture, and not so much about the coding process as such.

    Rather than suggest a book, how about pointing to a list of articles on the internet?

    Then again, after reading the original post, his example is “masters of doom”, which has nothing much to do with coding at all. It is a straight non-fiction book about id software. I think if he is looking for books like that, then Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution is a good book.

  3. Douglas Copeland’s Microserfs. Though it deals a lot with geek sub-culture, it is a good read. A tad tough to locate in Indian bookstores though.

  4. Hackers and Painters doesn’t have the essay “Why Smart people have …” – the book is older than the essay.

  5. A couple of really entertaining reads about MSFT, can be had in ‘Barbarians Led by Bill Gates’. Its quite bitchy, but hey, its about MSFT.

    I’ve read a couple of other bio types, but I can’t recollect now. Will let you know if I do !

  6. – Code Complete
    – Programming Pearls (if you can get you hands on this book, let me know. I read it at my previous workplace and have not found it stocked anywhere else)
    – The Practice of Programming

  7. Hi Raj,

    All 3 book are available in computer bookstores in bangalore. Programming Pearls was out of print a few months ago, but a new reprint has arrived at the shops.

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