Re: tech writer bookshelf

Subject: Re: tech writer bookshelf
From: Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 13:21:14 -0500

Mike wrote:

> What other suggestions for good books would you have?

For 20-odd years, I've had only one computer-related book that
I unreservedly recommended to people outside the field:

Fred Brookes "The Mythical Man-Month"
This is the definitive study of how projects, particularly large
ones, and particularly software projects, go wrong.

Brookes was in charge of IBM's OS-360 project, one of the first
really large software projects and in many ways a disaster. Its
main competitor, GE's Multics, was disastrous in much the same
ways. Both products did eventually get delivered and were useful,
but they each left quite a trail of broken schedlues, budgets
and reputations.

The book is extremely well-written, still in print after more
than 25 years. A classic.

In the last year I've found two more I rate nearly as highly:

"The Cluetrain Manifesto" discusses how the net changes business
and how business may need to change to work with it. The style is
provocative, a bit overstated, but they have some good points.

Bruce Schneier's new book "Secrets and Lies" discusses computer
security, net privacy and related issues. It is considerably
more readable and interesting than most books on such topics.

I'd suggest many tech writers, especially in the computer industry,
would both enjoy those books and learn something from them.

A classic for tech writers is Tufte's "The Visual Display of
Quantitative Information". I've heard he has newer publications
as well.

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