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Hackers & Painters

Book Description

"The computer world is like an intellectual Wild West, in which you can shoot anyone you wish with your ideas, if you're willing to risk the consequences. " --from Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham We are living in the computer age, in a world increasingly designed and engineered by computer programmers and software designers, by people who call themselves hackers. Who are these people, what motivates them, and why should you care? Consider these facts: Everything around us is turning into computers. Your typewriter is gone, replaced by a computer. Your phone has turned into a computer. So has your camera. Soon your TV will. Your car was not only designed on computers, but has more processing power in it than a room-sized mainframe did in 1970. Letters, encyclopedias, newspapers, and even your local store are being replaced by the Internet. Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham, explains this world and the motivations of the people who occupy it. In clear, thoughtful prose that draws on illuminating historical examples, Graham takes readers on an unflinching exploration into what he calls "an intellectual Wild West." The ideas discussed in this book will have a powerful and lasting impact on how we think, how we work, how we develop technology, and how we live. Topics include the importance of beauty in software design, how to make wealth, heresy and free speech, the programming language renaissance, the open-source movement, digital design, internet startups, and more. And here's a taste of what you'll find in Hackers & Painters: "In most fields the great work is done early on. The paintings made between 1430 and 1500 are still unsurpassed. Shakespeare appeared just as professional theater was being born, and pushed the medium so far that every playwright since has had to live in his shadow. Albrecht Durer did the same thing with engraving, and Jane Austen with the novel. Over and over we see the same pattern. A new medium appears, and people are so excited about it that they explore most of its possibilities in the first couple generations. Hacking seems to be in this phase now. Painting was not, in Leonardo's time, as cool as his work helped make it. How cool hacking turns out to be will depend on what we can do with this new medium." Andy Hertzfeld, co-creator of the Macintosh computer, says about Hackers & Painters: "Paul Graham is a hacker, painter and a terrific writer. His lucid, humorous prose is brimming with contrarian insight and practical wisdom on writing great code at the intersection of art, science and commerce." Paul Graham, designer of the new Arc language, was the creator of Yahoo Store, the first web-based application. In addition to his PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, Graham also studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.

Table of Contents

  1. Dedication
  2. Special Upgrade Offer
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. Image Credits
  5. Note to readers
  6. Preface
  7. 1. Why Nerds Are Unpopular
  8. 2. Hackers and Painters
  9. 3. What You Can’t Say
    1. 3.1. The Conformist Test
    2. 3.2. Trouble
    3. 3.3. Heresy
    4. 3.4. Time and Space
    5. 3.5. Prigs
    6. 3.6. Mechanism
    7. 3.7. Why
    8. 3.8. Pensieri Stretti
    9. 3.9. Viso Sciolto?
    10. 3.10. Always Be Questioning
  10. 4. Good Bad Attitude
  11. 5. The Other Road Ahead
    1. 5.1. The Next Thing?
    2. 5.2. The Win for Users
    3. 5.3. City of Code
    4. 5.4. Releases
    5. 5.5. Bugs
    6. 5.6. Support
    7. 5.7. Morale
    8. 5.8. Brooks in Reverse
    9. 5.9. Watching Users
    10. 5.10. Money
    11. 5.11. Customers
    12. 5.12. Son of Server
    13. 5.13. Microsoft
    14. 5.14. Startups but More So
    15. 5.15. Just Good Enough
    16. 5.16. Why Not?
  12. 6. How to Make Wealth
    1. 6.1. The Proposition
    2. 6.2. Millions, not Billions
    3. 6.3. Money Is Not Wealth
    4. 6.4. The Pie Fallacy
    5. 6.5. Craftsmen
    6. 6.6. What a Job Is
    7. 6.7. Working Harder
    8. 6.8. Measurement and Leverage
    9. 6.9. Smallness = Measurement
    10. 6.10. Technology = Leverage
    11. 6.11. The Catch(es)
    12. 6.12. Get Users
    13. 6.13. Wealth and Power
  13. 7. Mind the Gap
    1. 7.1. The Daddy Model of Wealth
    2. 7.2. Stealing It
    3. 7.3. The Lever of Technology
    4. 7.4. Alternative to an Axiom
  14. 8. A Plan for Spam
  15. 9. Taste for Makers
  16. 10. Programming Languages Explained
    1. 10.1. Machine Language
    2. 10.2. High-Level Languages
    3. 10.3. Open Source
    4. 10.4. Language Wars
    5. 10.5. Abstractness
    6. 10.6. Seat Belts or Handcuffs?
    7. 10.7. OO
    8. 10.8. Renaissance
  17. 11. The Hundred-Year Language
  18. 12. Beating the Averages
    1. 12.1. The Secret Weapon
    2. 12.2. The Blub Paradox
    3. 12.3. Aikido for Startups
  19. 13. Revenge of the Nerds
    1. 13.1. Catching Up with Math
    2. 13.2. What Made Lisp Different
    3. 13.3. Where Languages Matter
    4. 13.4. Centripetal Forces
    5. 13.5. The Cost of Being Average
    6. 13.6. A Recipe
    7. 13.7. Appendix: Power
  20. 14. The Dream Language
    1. 14.1. The Mechanics of Popularity
    2. 14.2. External Factors
    3. 14.3. Succinctness
    4. 14.4. Hackability
    5. 14.5. Throwaway Programs
    6. 14.6. Libraries
    7. 14.7. Efficiency
    8. 14.8. Time
    9. 14.9. Redesign
    10. 14.10. The Dream Language
  21. 15. Design and Research
  22. A. Notes
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
  23. Glossary
  24. About the Author
  25. Special Upgrade Offer
  26. Copyright