Hackers & Painters review

The book started unexpectedly well, blending programming, art, and history. Paul Graham’s writing style is really pleasant: in an almost childish way he looks at things from the most basic way, and then extrapolates that to either a bigger picture or the future (usually both). Each page is full of dialectic paragraphs, which is a very honest way of writing and figuring things out.

It’s what programming stands for in abstract terms that interests me: creating things. But the book trails off and loses relevancy for a non-programmer like me. I know the basics of programming, but some parts are either above my head or of no interest. The book is actually more a collection of slightly random essays rather than one carefully arranged story. The chapter on Lisp seems filler to reach 220 pages, and there’s a random topic on spam (although actually, this one is slightly interesting, yet out of place with the rest of the book). I will, though, recommend this book to friends, but only selected chapters.