Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World Review

From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson, a brilliant and immersive anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers - where they come from, how they think, what makes for greatness in their world, and what should give us pause.

You use software nearly every instant you're awake. And this may sound weirdly obvious, but every single one of those pieces of software was written by a programmer. Programmers are thus among the most quietly influential people on the planet. As we live in a world made of software, they're the architects. The decisions they make guide our behavior. When they make something newly easy to do, we do a lot more of it. If they make it hard or impossible to do something, we do less of it.

If we want to understand how today's world works, we ought to understand something about coders. Who exactly are the people that are building today's world? What makes them tick? What type of personality is drawn to writing software? And perhaps most interestingly -- what does it do to them?

One of the first pieces of coding a newbie learns is the program to make the computer say "Hello, world!" Like that piece of code, Clive Thompson's book is a delightful place to begin to understand this vocation, which is both a profession and a way of life, and which essentially didn't exist little more than a generation ago, but now is considered just about the only safe bet we can make about what the future holds. Thompson takes us close to some of the great coders of our time, and unpacks the surprising history of the field, beginning with the first great coders, who were women. Ironically, if we're going to traffic in stereotypes, women are arguably "naturally" better at coding than men, but they were written out of the history, and shoved out of the seats, for reasons that are illuminating. Now programming is indeed, if not a pure brotopia, at least an awfully homogenous community, which attracts people from a very narrow band of backgrounds and personality types. As Thompson learns, the consequences of that are significant - not least being a fetish for disruption at scale that doesn't leave much time for pondering larger moral issues of collateral damage. At the same time, coding is a marvelous new art form that has improved the world in innumerable ways, and Thompson reckons deeply, as no one before him has, with what great coding in fact looks like, who creates it, and where they come from. To get as close to his subject has he can, he picks up the thread of his own long-abandoned coding practice, and tries his mightiest to up his game, with some surprising results.

More and more, any serious engagement with the world demands an engagement with code and its consequences, and to understand code, we must understand coders. In that regard, Clive Thompson's Hello, World! is a marvelous and delightful master class.

Title:Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World

    Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World Reviews

  • Mehrsa

    This is a really interesting anthropological account of coder culture--but actually, more broadly of tech culture. What I loved was his account of how these stereotypes of coders get made up and then ...

  • Marks54

    This is a brand new business trade about the coding frenzy that has been around in recent years. It is well informed and well written. What I found most attractive about it was its intelligent discuss...

  • Sallar

    This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I would definitely recommend reading this, especially if you’re a Software Engineer or somehow work in IT, or even if your partner is. I enj...

  • Mal Warwick

    The first computer programmer was a woman. Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter, wrote code in 1842-43 for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a computer that was never built. And a century later, whe...

  • Magali

    As someone that is joining a coding bootcamp in less than a week, I am really happy I found that book and decided to read it. As someone that just likes to read, I am even more happy to have read that...

  • David Ward

    Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson (Penguin Press 2019) (005.1092). “Coders” are those who create computer software code, and they are among the most...

  • Sree Harsha Ramesh

    An engaging read, and a neat packaging of the current topics in the mainstream discourse about technology. But, couldn't stop but get a feeling of déjà lu, as I follow the author's work on Wired, an...

  • peg

    Interesting to read but I realize I made the right decision when I decided to go into another branch of technology for a career! Coders work so many hours there would have been practically NO time for...

  • Ken Hamner

    Very good book. Highly recommended....

  • Sope Williamson

    Being a newbie, I think this book motivated me a lot to really like software engineering. It showed the past and present of how computer programming has evolved, who and what was responsible for techn...