Media praise for Hackers & Painters

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"Hackers & Painters is an unusual book. The issues at the centre of code, design and wealth have rarely been brought together in such lucid form. Reading it, I could immediately apply some of his more concrete ideas to my work; the more abstract inspired me."
--Steven Shingler,, February 2005

"I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to think about a number of topics important to the culture of our tiny corner of the world, computers and the net, while not ignoring the rest."
--Tony Williams,, June 2004

"Many of the essays are on his site, but the book is worth getting for the convenience, and especially, those that aren't. I want everybody I know to read 'How to Make Wealth' and 'Mind the Gap' (chapters 6 and 7)—which brilliantly articulate the most commonly, and frustratingly, misunderstood core economic principles of everyday life... And technology entrepreneurs will find it especially inspiring."
--Evan Williams,, December 2004

"...for computer scientists and hackers alike, this book should be a challenge and an inspiration."
--J. Mayer, Choice, November 2004

"As a hacker who also studied painting in Europe, Paul may be uniquely qualified to write a book entitled 'Hackers & Painters.' If you leave your day programming job only to get home and write more code, this is a great book for you."
--IT Conversations, July 2004

"Graham presents ideas that explore and challenge the social and aesthetic notions we hold about the world of technology and ourselves."
--Theresa Carey, "MSDN Magazine," September 2004

Advance praise for "Hackers & Painters"

"Society has yet to understand the beauty and brilliance that wraps the coder. Graham's clear and engaging book does, and will teach anyone willing to listen. And if we're not to lose something important soon, we as a society should listen."
--Larry Lessig, Stanford Law School, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

"Paul Graham takes on big ideas writing with a grace, clarity and humor rare not only among his sister and brother geeks, but among the best writers anywhere. It'd be enough if Paul Graham thought through big ideas with such clarity and honesty. That he writes with grace and humor makes his ideas not only thought-provoking, but a delight to read. Paul has been building a cult-like status on the Internet for several years because of the honesty, grace and wit of his essays. Seeing his essays collected seals the deal: Paul Graham is a first-rate writer whose provocative take on big ideas can bump your opinions right out of their rut.''
--David Weinberger, co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto"

"Paul Graham writes about the human side of the often enigmatic world of computer programming. This book will help you remember the enjoyment you got from science class when science was a romp through the mud and woods, a class like art where making a mess is accepted as part of the process. Paul is a true hacker with a broad business experience, deep technical understanding, an uncontrollably inquisitive mind, and a wonderful writing style. His no-nonsense evaluation of the software industry may irritate some pundits and therefore is well worth reading.''
--Mike Smith, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Harvard University

"Reading Paul's essays is like having a conversation with a genius who doesn't need to score any points by proving it to you, except that most geniuses aren't as articulate as he is. You get to share Paul's sense that the Universe is a fascinating place, and his knack for looking at it from an unusual angle.''
--Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar

"Paul Graham is smart and willing to tell you what he really thinks; it's a rare combination and not to be missed. This book will force you to re-think your ideas about the nature of computer programming.''
--Robert Morris, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department

"Paul Graham is a hacker, a painter, and a terrific writer. His lucid, humorous prose is brimming with contrarian insight and practical wisdom on writing great code at the intersection of art, science and commerce. He may even make you want to start programming in Lisp.''
--Andy Hertzfeld, co-creator of the Macintosh computer

"'Hackers & Painters' embraces a profoundly humanist perspective, a refreshing contrast to many other books about computers. The prose is a joy, the math is straightforward, and what little code there is beautifully elegant. The result is a challenging series of essays on what should and does make hackers tick. As an introductory programming instructor, I'm always on the lookout for inspiring works to give to students. A high schooler,
college freshman, or any motivated lay person, can read Hackers & Painters and find out what, spiritually, designing and building great programs is all about. Highly recommended.''
--Brian M. Dennis, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University

"Since programmers create programs out of nothing, imagination is our only limitation. Thus, in the world of programming, the hero is the one who has great vision. Paul Graham is one of our contemporary heroes. He has the ability to embrace the vision, and to express it plainly. His works are my favorites, especially the ones describing language design. He explains secrets of programming, languages, and human nature that can only be learned from the hacker experience. This book shows you his great vision, and tells you the truth about the nature of hacking.''
--Yukihiro "Matz'' Matsumoto, creator of Ruby

"Paul Graham, like nobody else, tells us what it means to be a hacker: to question, to explore, to create, to take sides, to go for the goal. A hacker's experiences force him to make judgments and to state his opinions. Paul's opinions---on public high schools as dreadful, mind-numbing prisons or on the design of programming languages as the art of making programs short---challenge you to think. They reveal bad flaws in the conventional wisdom, and they demand that we come up with good responses.

For a discipline like computing, which has fallen prey to fashionistas with strong and wrong opinions, Paul's essays set a refreshing, hopeful tone. They are for all those of us who have long felt that the discipline has been taken over by the pointy-haired bosses and academics. We should make sure this book becomes required reading for college students interested in computer science. There is no better way to make them question the fashions that they are about to encounter and to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.''
--Matthias Felleisen Northeastern University

"The language of programmers is rich in references to art and industrial design. Paul Graham, whose training and experience spans these areas, offers an illuminating tour of this relationship in essays peppered with trenchant observation, humor, and art (some
visual, some parenthetical). Graham's style is enviably successful at communicating with students, while his guiding principles for programming language design should inspire a new generation of linguistic wonders.''
--Shriram Krishnamurthi, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Brown University

"Paul Graham tells it like it is, like it was, and like it will be. I learned much from reading 'Hackers & Painters.' This high-tech guru's essays are a joy to read in content, style, and wit. His insider view of the entire process of a startup is rivetting, and his guide on how to do it should be required for all high-tech gamblers.''
--Daniel P. Friedman, Indiana University

"A delightful ping-pong around the brain of a really smart guy. The chapter that answers the key question of our age--why *are* nerds unpopular?--is worth the price of admission alone."
--Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, "Wired Magazine"

"What Paul does, and does very well, is to take ideas and concepts that are beautiful in the abstract, and brings them down to a real world level. That's a rare talent to find in writing these days."
--Jeff "Hemos" Bates, Director, OSDN Online; Co-evolver,

"Paul Graham's 'Hackers & Painters' is one diverse book, but it doesn't matter if you're learning why nerds get beat up in high school, or the subtleties of language design and acceptance. Paul approaches each of his subjects with an entertaining insight that will make you smile and think. Highly recommended to anyone."
--Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda, Creator/Director,

"A wonderful book and required reading. Paul helps others understand why I chose the name 'Software Arts' for the company Dan Bricklin and I started. Those who don't understand the language of software cannot consider themselves literate.

As the word 'innovation' becomes tamed and contained, we need to be reminded of the importance of the disruptive exploration. If you read the book and think you really understand what hacking and software is about and, worse, agree with Paul, then you miss the whole point of hacking."
--Bob Frankston