The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World
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Just the first chapter alone is worth the price of the book. In it, the author describes corporate America as an African jungle with its own "dog eat dog" set of rules. He aptly rolls through who threatens you on the corporate ladder, who may help and who doesn't give a flying leap.
I had to laugh when he described the various types of programmers because each and every employee in our shop was depicted to a T. I do have to dispute the notion that the programming gurus lack social skills. I have social skills; I just choose not to use them.
Duncan breaks down the book into a dozen chapters each dealing with a separate annoyance. For instance, the chapters on preventing arbitrary deadlines and keeping your management on the leash are priceless. He also gives us a practical guide to effective estimating technique (for those people for whom the tripling the worst estimate is just not enough time).
My favorite part of the book has to be "Corporate Self-Defense". As you know, most of the people inhabiting the corporations are either dumb or ruthless, sometimes both. As Al Bundy used to say to Peg, "either feed me or feed me to something - I just want to be a part of the food cycle". So it is in the corporate jungle, you better watch out - predators are all around. "Corporate Self-Defense" teaches you to quickly recognize threats to your desire to simply write great code, while showing you how to distinguish a real opportunity.
Bottom line, an excellent book, an exceptional first-rate, real funny read, definitely worth the cash. Another great book in a string of winners from Apress.