Being Geek
The Software Developer's Career Handbook
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: July 2010
Pages: 338

As a software engineer, you recognize at some point that there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Is it time to become a manager? Tell your boss he’s a jerk? Join that startup? Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Netscape, and Symantec in Being Geek -- an insightful and entertaining book that will help you make better career decisions.

With more than 40 standalone stories, Lopp walks through a complete job life cycle, starting with the job interview and ending with the realization that it might be time to find another gig. Many books teach you how to interview for a job or how to manage a project successfully, but only this book helps you handle the baffling circumstances you may encounter throughout your career.

  • Decide what you're worth with the chapter on "The Business"
  • Determine the nature of the miracle your CEO wants with "The Impossible"
  • Give effective presentations with "How Not to Throw Up"
  • Handle liars and people with devious agendas with "Managing Werewolves"
  • Realize when you should be looking for a new gig with "The Itch"
Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

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O'Reilly MediaBeing Geek
 
4.1

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

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    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

88%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well-written (8)
  • Concise (5)
  • Easy to understand (5)
  • Helpful examples (4)
  • Accurate (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (7)
    • Novice (4)
    • Expert (3)
    • Student (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (5)

    Reviewed by 8 customers

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    magnetic

    By rleir

    from Ottawa, Canada

    About Me Developer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Concise
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

      Programmers will want to read this magnetic book to understand the group dynamics in development teams. When you have understood the ideas in this book, your employer will promote you.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great book, but mis-titled

      By MattT

      from Southwest Michigan

      About Me Engineer, Maker

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

        A better title would have been Working Geek, as the book is primarily about different aspects of working life for the typical engineering geek.

        For example, there's a lot "know thyself" stuff in there: be aware of your own working style in order to adapt to working conditions and minimize conflict; have an overall career plan and know what steps to take to be successful (indeed, know what success looks like), that sort of thing.

        Lopp assumes the reader will ultimately end up in some type of management position, and about half of the book is devoted to helping the reader make that work. Only you know if that would be useful for you.

        Ultimately, a great guide that's only about half useful to me right now, but I'll definitely reach for this if and when I move into management.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Are you a geek?

        By humedini

        from United Kingdom

        About Me Designer, Developer, Manager

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Reference

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

          This week I did something that some would consider to be a little risky and loaned my iPad to a client to take to France for use at a trade show. Although this may seem foolhardy and dangerous it has, if nothing else, removed one of my main leisure time distractions and allowed me to spend some time with my Kindle instead, and get some serious reading done.
          I have been reading a lot more, in short stints and "Being Geek" by Michael Lopp has been a book that I have been coming back to more and more.

          Although I am not a software engineer by trade, I work in digital marketing, web design and programming and would consider myself to be a true 'geek' in many ways. I like to think though, that I have some business sense and social skills so I was initially a little sceptical as to whether or not this book would be of any use to me. I was very wrong to have any doubts- I thoroughly enjoyed the authors pace and tone, didn't find it patronising and enjoyed the observations about managers and managing them particularly.

          All in all I would recommend this book as an interesting read and a handy reference to keep about should you come across a dilemma in your professional capacity. If nothing else, it is an entertaining read with some excellent examples of workplace situations that will entertain and inform on all levels.

           
          4.0

          What they wrote on the cover is right !

          By Atul

          from India

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Can fire your imagination
          • Concise
          • Motivating
          • Well-written

          Cons

          • Cryptic at times

          Best Uses

          • Intermediate

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

          A great conversational style and a very different (geeky, if you will) vocabulary, give a refreshing flavor to this reading. You may be discomforted if you are a stickler for parliamentary language, but I never heard of any geek in parliament yet! :) It can be difficult to find the flow in the book, but irrespective, all chapters make up the parts of the main theme that you should be able to put together in your mind. The reviews on the book cover aren't hyperbole - if you are person with a technical or engineering bent of mind, then this book is an essential read for you. Period. You can find a more detailed review at[@]

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Useful geek handbook

          By avansch

          from Saline, MI

          About Me Educator, Program Coordinator, Project manager

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Insightful
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Expert
            • Intermediate
            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

            I'm not an engineer, but enjoy computers, technology, and other geek-related things. Just reading the cover, I figured this book wouldn't have a whole lot to offer me. I was wrong.

            The book is full of useful and helpful information for anyone who's mind is more geek related than other's. I found that I am more of a geek than I ever realized, that I have a more linear concept of things and want to know WHY, which really put me into the geek category. I now understand why staff meetings are so difficult for me, as they're currently run, why I have trouble talking with others in my team, and the best ways for me to counteract those issues between us.

            The book itself is a collection of chapters, each of which are useful in and of themselves. You don't have to read the whole book in sequence, you don't even have to read the whole book! I found that each chapter had something I could easily use, information that really made sense to me, and it also helped me to relate better to my other, even more geeky, friends. I've been recommending this book to anyone who is either a geek or knows a geek, those looking for a job or just wanting to progress in their current career. There are a lot of no-nonsense tips in here, which makes it a great tool for anyone.

            I've read reviews that were disappointed, because they were familiar with Lopp's blog - Rands in Repose - and are upset that he wasn't more original in the book. Having never read his blog, I don't know how it compares to that information. All I know is that I really enjoyed this book and it's already rewarding me with the tips I learned while reading. Definitely a worthwhile investment.

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            great stuff

            By dakegra

            from wakefield, UK

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

              Are you a geek? You need to read this book.Do you know a geek? Manage geeks? You need to read this book.Anyone familiar with Michael Lopp's weblog [@] won't be remotely suprised to learn that this is a great book, full of sage advice. Great for aspiring developers, great for people managing developers. Some of the material may be familiar from his blog, but it's pulled together in one place here. Actually, it's great for managers, full stop. OK, so it's titled 'the software developer's career handbook', but anyone related to software development will find something in here.It goes from looking for that ace new job, interview advice both from a pre-interview point of view to reading the people doing the interviewing and working out how to negotiate the best compensation package. The second section covers management - managing your manager, managing your peers, managing your workload, teamwork, recruiting.There's a great section on presentations or 'how not to throw up'.Basically the book is chock-full of software development wisdom. All of the sections are short and snappy so you can dip in as you need to. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone working in an IT-related field.You need to read this book.

              (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              Meh. Better as a blog

              By BubbaDave

              from Dallas, TX

              About Me Sys Admin

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Repetitious

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

              As great as Rands in Repose is, I had high hopes for this book; they were dashed. This reads like he grabbed a bunch of blog entries, threw them into a book format, and called it a day. There wasn't enough connection between elements to make it booklike, and I'd read enough of it on his blog that it was the literary equivalent of eating reheated leftovers. He's a great writer, and a lot of individual sections were interesting, but the whole was less than the sum of its parts. [...]

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome Handbook

              By Devlin

              from Springdale, AR

              About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker, Sys Admin

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Enjoyable
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Expert
                • Intermediate
                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Being Geek:

                This is going to be a book that I have dog-eared, worn-covered, and close at hand. The interview personality section and the offer negotiation sections were incredibly helpful. The conversational style of the writing makes it a very easy read. I found that I was enjoying reading it and laughing and things like the bridge game. I got this book for writting another review and I have to say that it is an awesome find.

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