my recent reads..

Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima
Power Sources and Supplies: World Class Designs
Red Storm Rising
Locked On
Analog Circuits Cookbook
The Teeth Of The Tiger
Sharpe's Gold
Without Remorse
Practical Oscillator Handbook
Red Rabbit

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dreaming in Code

Scott Rosenberg's Dreaming in Code is the first book in a while that I have immediately wanted to go out and buy a few extra copies to give to friends. They would just so get it as a reflection on their current jobs!

The title Dreaming In Code is a bit misleading. At first I thought it was about coding practices - extreme flow state leading to fantasy debugging sessions in your sleep (been there!). But its not.

It's fascinating story following Mitch [Lotus 1-2-3] Kapor's quest to build a revolutionary PIM - Chandler - and the organisation he created to do it - OSAF.

At times, clearly a mild-to-massively disfunctional undertaking, but Rosenberg's reflective and honest reporting presents the situation in all its shades. Life is complex. It's not always so easy to 'pin the blame' for a project failure. Sometimes its not even so easy to tell if the project has failed, which is true for Chandler since it is still running!

What makes Rosenberg's book so engaging is that there are multiple layers to the story that speak to different interests.

On the one hand this is a ripping yarn about a high-risk startup. On another level the book reflects on contemporary management and software development practices. But its also the personal story of the very successful Mitch Kapor potentially facing the biggest failure of his career.

Overall, this makes for a compelling read for anyone in the business of software development.