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Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by [Graham, Paul]
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Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age 1st , Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 271 pages Language: English

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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. " --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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1477 KB
  • Print Length: 271 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (18 May 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR2NQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #189,940 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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I like a book that's all meat and no padding, that's happy to have ten ideas in one paragraph without needing to expand each one into a chapter. This is that kind of book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
its the bread and butter of a nerd popularity sorted, fashion done, wona be a nerd, read what is before you. find out the diff between nerds and smartness
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 111 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hackers and painters is a book which reads like a collection of random essays 5 January 2016
By Du Nguyen - Published on Amazon.com
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Hackers and painters is a book written by Paul Graham who ran a startup in the 1990’s which was later sold to Yahoo. He is now running Y Combinator.

Hackers and painters is a book which reads like a collection of random essays. The first few chapters is about the start of computing and about childhood while later chapters are about both starting a startup and socioeconomic policies. The last chapters are about programming languages where he strongly argues for lisp.

Anyone so have read one of his essays know how well articulate Graham can be and the this book is no exception. The chapters themselves are really well written even though he sometimes argues unconvincingly.

In the end I did not feel that this book was anything else than a collection of essays and while some are interesting, it does not save the entire book. A stronger focus and some narrative between the chapters would improve this book immensely.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Founders You Need This Guy 17 September 2015
By Gina Lynch - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Not to get too personal but Paul's essays speak to my soul. His blog is the first one i recommend for founders and one I keep going back to.

Oh the chapter about nerds! oh my. Growing up a severe bookworm I always felt traditional schooling was the kid version of the shawshank redemption. Apparently I wasn't the only one.

What this Paul fellow is doing with his ycombinator startup monopoly in Silicon Valley is fixing the inefficiencies of a broken school system and sharing the education on his blog and youtube.

If you haven't seen Stanford CS -183b (his is lecture 3) it is a refreshing reminder of where the focus should be ~ learning how to create things people actually want not gaming and tricking the system with a bunch of hype.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read 2 January 2009
By Bas Vodde - Published on Amazon.com
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Paul Graham's "Hackers and Painters" is a collection of separate articles from Paul. The articles are well written and funny, though I frequently did not agree with the content. Since one of the earlier articles was on censorship, I'd say... that was probably the intention :)

The first article is triggered by Pauls growing up and asks why nerds are unpopular when you are younger. He explores memories of his childhood and tries to clarify them. He continues with a article after which the book is named. He explains that he has *some* education in painting and explores the similarity between hacking and painting.

The next couple chapters are an attack to taboos in general. What can we say? Why can we say that? And he claims that hackers are more comfortable breaking taboos, breaking the rules.

In the article "The road ahead" he is making predictions related to web-based server software, of which some are insightful (or were insightful). He claims that server-based software will be the future and the recent years have certainly shown that to be true.

The next couple of articles relate to capitalism and I did disagree with a lot of the statements he made in here. Though, often his points are carefully crafts.. here I found them simplistic. It annoyed me and even thought about stop reading it. The well-written-ness made me continue though.

The middle of the book contains an article about spam. This one doesn't fit well in the book and could have better left out, in my opinion.

The last articles in the book relate to programming languages and were fun to read. Paul is a serious Lisp fan and tries to argue about programming languages in such a way that it always supports his chose of lisp. He does make a couple of good points.

All in all, I've enjoyed reading "Hackers & Painters". Its an easy read with interesting strong opinions from Paul. I'd rate it between 3 and 4 stars, mainly because the amount of learning is not high. Though, I remember some articles got me laughing out loud, so decided to go for a 4. Worth reading if you like strong opinions relate to hacker cultures.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PG for the win 18 February 2013
By Jonathan Pepin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a devbootcamp alum, and while I was there, surrounded by dozens of super smart people, the majority of them, me included, were strongly agreeing on one point:
No matter if they were already successful or not in a career before, in a past life, or just trying to figure out what to do in their life, Paul Graham was the one that made us make the decision about going into programming. He writes so well, and knows so much, that it's easy for him to convince you that programming is the way to go (if your meant to be of course).
And I'm sure that this books can be related to any other career you're looking into.

a must read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for technology age. PG is one of ... 29 May 2017
By theadoor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Essential reading for technology age. PG is one of the few persons who are masters in both art and technology and the depth of his understanding for the two trades really shines through his writing.