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Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

por Paul Graham

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"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."--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… (mais)
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This book is collection of essays (I think all of them are online). Hackers and Painters was a quick and amusing read. The essays cover many topics; my favorites were those on the social habits of hackers and on language design. The language design essays were interesting even though I disagreed with them in many places. For one thing, types are good! Types are a burden when writing code, certainly, but they are vital for reading code. I find it much easier to read code with type annotations because then I know what each variable is supposed to do. Since code is read much more often than it is written (or so says conventional wisdom), types are important. That said, I am a big fan of both languages with type inference and languages where types do not need to be added while programming but can be added to provide additional guarantees to the programmer.
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
Hard to judge how prescient the author is when he is literally making the future with his wealth and influence. ( )
  Paul_S | Mar 7, 2022 |
Overall, a great book, although I prefer PG's later essays. I'd read most of the essays in this book before getting the book.

I don't actually know enough about painters or painting for it to be a useful analogy; that was ironically one of my least favorite essays here. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Delightful and inspiring! ( )
  berezovskyi | Dec 19, 2020 |
It's just a bunch of Paul Graham's superb essays collected into one book. Unfortunately the selection of technical posts is showing its age. I'd give the first half of the book five stars and the latter half three, so decided to settle on four. You probably aren't going to have your toes tickled by the second half if you aren't ROBUSTLY INTO LISP. ( )
  isovector | Dec 13, 2020 |
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When we were in junior high school, my friend Rich and I made a map of the school lunch tables according to popularity. (Chapter 1)
This book is an attempt to explain to the world at large what goes on in the world of computers. So it's not just for programmers. For example, Chapter 6 is about how to get rich. I believe this is a topic of general interest. (Preface)
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Startups are not just something that happened in Silicon Valley in the last couple decades. Since it became possible to get rich by creating wealth, everyone who has done it has used essentially the same recipe: measurement and leverage, where measurement comes from working with a small group, and leverage from developing new techniques. The recipe was the same in Florence in 1200 as it is in Santa Clara today. ("How to Make Wealth")
If a fairly good hacker is worth $80,000 a year at a big company, then a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about $3 million a year.

Like all back-of-the-envelope calculations, this one has a lot of wiggle room. I wouldn't try to defend the actual numbers. But I stand by the structure of the calculation. I'm not claiming the multiplier is precisely 36, but it is certainly more than 10, and probably rarely as high as 100. ("How to Make Wealth")
[T]he Cold War teaches the same lesson as World War II and, for that matter, most wars in recent history. Don't let a ruling class of warriors and politicians squash the entrepreneurs. The same recipe that makes individuals rich makes countries powerful. Let the nerds keep their lunch money, and you rule the world. ("How to Make Wealth")
As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.
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"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."--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

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