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Book Review: Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

Posted in Book Reviews, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on June 11, 2006

joelonsoftware is one of the highest read programming blogs because Joel Spolsky does an excellent job of combining technical information with humour that makes his writing informative yet interesting. He was the program manager for the Microsoft Excel team and has since moved on to running his own startup. His books collects some of the best articles from his website. It’s broken into four parts, the first three of which I think are essential reading and the last of which is a comentary on Microsoft .NET which seems really unnecessary and probably won’t age as well as the rest of the book will.The book is unusual for any kind of tech book is that it’s a real page turner. Unfortunately, most of the content is already from his website so I found that for the first 70 pages or so I was just rehashing some of the best articles on there. If you’re already a regular reader of his site you might not get nearly as much out of it as someone who is picking it up fresh.

Some of my favorite parts of the book:

Joel’s approach to many things is so simple that even experienced programmers can find some useful nuggets of information in there (although there is strong focus on Microsoft products). I really wish someone had taken me aside with his advice on painful schedules when I’d first started. It is amazing how doing minimal time tracking every day can make you better at estimation and better at realizing where you are spending your time and focus.

Read more reviews for “Joel on Software” at Amazon

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  1. […] Joel Spolsky talks about Painless Software Schedules in his book “JoelOnSoftware“. Accurately estimating how your much time it will take to complete a task is one of the fundamental skills of any professional. Joel’s approach is simple: […]

  2. […] The most important tool for writing is a sense of humour. We are brainwashed into thinking that humour is unprofessional, when it is one of the best tools for keeping people interested in our professional work. One of the reasons why Joel Spolsky from JoelOnSoftware is so well known is because he does a very good job of keeping his writing sprinkled with wry examples that entertain. His first rule for documentation is “Be Funny“. […]

  3. Shirley said, on July 09, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    I agree, although I am certainly not an expert, having only blogged for 4 1/2 months…but I have had a fair amount of success for my genre of blogging, I believe.

    Serious writing has its place on my blog, interspersed with humor. We MUST laugh when things are funny, and at all costs, we must be able to laugh at ourselves.

    Enjoyed the post.


    Shirley Buxton

  4. […] Book review: Joel on Software […]

  5. […] picked up the October issue of Inc. magazine because Joel Spolsky of Joel On Software has joined the magazine. I’m a Joel fan-boy. Internet Duct Tape was inspired by Joel on […]

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