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Book Reviewed: Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware

October 26th, 2009

Pragmatic Thinking and LearningAndy Hunt’s Pragmatic Thinking and Learning is fun and interesting, but the topics within often leaned on the obvious. The central theme throughout Pragmatic Thinking and Learning revolves around harnessing brain modes (linear mode and rich mode), self improvement, and the Dreyfus Model – a model, where skills are ranked by five stages (Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient, and Expert). Throughout the text Andy works through the stages of the Dreyfus Model within the context of the software realm. He offers advice on how we can progress as developers, and discusses learning techniques that have worked for him.

Andy offers many interesting tips, stories, and draws in external research. For example, did you know, that research suggests that: “if you constantly interrupt your task to check email [Twitter, Facebook] or respond to an IM text message, your effective IQ drops by ten points” or “the leading predictor of a tendency for road rage was the amount of personalization on a vehicle”?

However, I felt that many of the concepts discussed have become common knowledge (part of popular developer culture) and were somewhat obvious. To borrow from the Dreyfus Model; this book is probably best suited for Novices or Advanced Beginner. It’s also fair to mention that I thought Andy’s other book The Pragmatic Programmer suffered this same problem, but also keep in mind that “the obvious … is never seen until someone expresses it simply” (Kahlil Gibran). In the end, I do recommend this book. It’s a fun read, excellent for those who are new to the software industry. It would make a great addition to College / University programs.

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Review Tags:
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