Here is a listing of selected essays by authors I respect and enjoy and why I recommend them.


  • In the Beginning was the Command Line, by Neal Stephenson
    Do I really need to explain this one? Seriously, if you read this, you’ll understand the title of this site and the podcast a bit better.
  • The Law of Leaky Abstractions, by Joel Spolsky
    A compelling explanation why the experienced software programmer needs to keep expanding his/her knowledge base.
  • The Programmers Stone
    Not sure the origin of this series of essays, despite the thin introduction. Regardless, an interesting piece focused more on the psychology and sociology of the practice of programming.
  • How to Give and Receive Criticism, by Scott Berkun
    Criticism is important to professional growth, avoiding criticism eliminates a rich and healthy source of stimulus.
  • Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years, by Peter Norvig
    I’ve met just about all his recommendations, all except his recommendation on what languages to learn. May be time to finally learn Lisp.
  • Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind, by Charles Petzold
    You have to love that this is written by the author that it is. I talk about this essay in podcast #19. I think that it is as much of condemnation of Visual Studio’s flaws as perhaps some hints for other IDEs to do better by avoiding VS’s mistakes.
  • Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism, by Jaron Lanier
    Ideas from this essay re-shaped not only the sources I read to stay informed but continue to influence my thinking behind the stories I choose to discuss and what I have to say about them on my own site.
  • Piracy is Progressive Taxation, by Tim O’Reilly
    This is his oft quoted piece urging creatives to accept piracy as a quality of success.
  • Work on Stuff that Matters: First Principles, by Tim O’Reilly
    The longer I work in IT, the more I contemplate questions like this piece nicely addresses.  Career should be about more than money or traditional measures of success.  From an internal perspective, I’ve developed a good grasp on deriving satisfaction directly from my work.  O’Reilly’s piece gives some good suggestions on the external aspect, on how our work can affect others for the good beyond the obvious.
  • The Future of Reading, by Clive Thompson
    I think this is one of the clearest statements of the challenge to the current publishing industry and the opportunity for innovators try to build what form popular reading of text will take next.
  • Epigrams in Programming
    Little bits of wisdom from CS professor, Alan Perlis.