Smart & Get Things Done

I finally got around to reading Smart & Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide To Finding The Best Technical Talent which came out a little over a year ago. The title pretty much hits the point of the book on the head.

It is a quick, pleasant read, even if you aren’t a big fan of the Joel On Software blog. Joel has some pretty good insight into the software development industry and technical talent in general, so even if you don’t agree with all of his assertions (I certainly don’t), his opinions are worth reading and heading.

Some key points I took from this book were:

  • The great developers aren’t usually on the job market, so you have to go out and hunt them down.
  • Treat developers like the talent they are; the great ones are rare.
  • Spend the money making sure the developer’s work enviroment is top-notch; it’s a better way to spend your company’s dollar than with over-the-top salaries.
  • Follow some real software engineering processes or pay the price with a poor quality product and a stressed-out team.
  • If you’re hiring programmers, make sure to actually have them write code during the interview process.

Overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Summer reading list

I just ordered several books from Amazon for work-related reading over the summer. All of these are highly recommended so hopefully they won’t be too boring.

  • Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design – Jenifer Tidwell
  • Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations – Clay Shirky
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter) – Garr Reynolds
  • Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 – Sarah Lacy
  • Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent – Joel Spolsky