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"The Best of edw519" is now free. Reverse Happy Birthday (edweissman.com)
467 points by edw519 on May 19, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

This is amazing stuff - thanks much!

I made a slightly more readable HTML version (with linked TOC and back links) here -> http://bit.ly/lSLTVT

This could be converted to an ePub I think, with the linked TOC. If this a problem let me know and I will take it down, or maybe you could post it on http://edweissman.com/53640595 to get the linked TOC?

Thank you hieronymusN. Much prettier than mine.

One problem though - you lost most of the paragraph formatting and spacing; you can see the difference on almost every entry if you look closely enough. Fix that and I'll just put your version on my blog.

[Once again: thank you everyone for the kind words and feedback. You made my day!]

Facepalm - you're right, my regexes got a little too aggressive. I've reposted it with the formatting intact.

I also posted a version as PDF - again it has the linked TOC which makes it easier to navigate. The PDF isn't as nice as the HTML though.

[PDF] http://bit.ly/inAWAc

Do you have code handy to convert from html (with a TOC) to epub?

I looked up some python examples to start with:

python epub docs http://www.egofile.com/2010/01/convert-openofficeorg-writer-...



[EPUB] http://bit.ly/kQYAZQ

I made this one with Calibre, and its optimized for the iPad. Let me know how it looks for you.

> 87. What got you "hooked"?

Loved this story, and I enjoy coding the more I do this.

The problem is to keep it focussed on "productive" output - otherwise you end up like that guy who wrote TeX instead of The Art of Computer Programming; or Blart Versenwald III¹; or

    6. It automatically classifies unread comments based upon similarity
    to classified comments and some rules. (The idea was to classify the
    first 300 comments and have the software classify the remaining
    3,700. I realized this capability was unnecessary when the book
    would only contain 256 entries. Oh well.)
Not to look this wonderful gift horse in the mouth (all the bits I looked into at random were actually great), but it would be nice if titles linked to their comments.

1. One of the greatest benefactors of all lifekind. http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~soundarm/book4.html

...it would be nice if titles linked to their comments...

I purposely omitted references to the original Hacker News threads because I wanted the book to stand on its own.

Hope this helps:


[Many thanks to everyone in this thread for the well wishes. You guys are helping to make my day!]

Thanks! I actually meant links to the comments lower down on the same page (eg for clarity: <a href="#87">87. What got you "hooked"?</a> ... <a name="87">87. What got you "hooked"?</a>), and then people could link to specific entries - but I like your interpretation better.

[I had trouble expressing this in the GP, and went for over-conciseness, as "comment" is ambiguous. I still can't think of a brief but clear way to say it - there's probably some TeX typesetting terminology for it].

I agree - you can check a linked TOC version here http://bit.ly/lSLTVT

and [PDF] http://bit.ly/inAWAc

Blart Versenwald II seems to have done rather well though, no?

Happy birthday and thanks for the gift!

Edit: I tried to buy it, but Scribd won't allow me to do it because I'm not from US (and neither is my credit card). Is there any other alternative?

First of all, this is awesome. Thank you!

Secondly, I am reading through this and came across this:

14. Should I still be a programmer? "I lack the fundamentals of Computer Science, the things every programmer should know: Algo's, Data Structures, Operating Systems an understanding of compilers and being profficient with linux."

Relax. That's true for 99% of all programmers.

I feel like I am in the same exact boat as the original poster. However, I am a senior in college who has several interviews lined up. I have interviewed several times before and always flop on the "fundamental questions". Is there any further advice someone can give me? Thanks in advanced.

"I have interviewed several times before and always flop on the 'fundamental questions'. Is there any further advice someone can give me? Thanks in advanced."

Have you considered learning the fundamentals? Its not a snarky comment I'm genuinely curious.

If you are programming, find you enjoy it, and wish to continue doing it for money, continuing education should be right up there on your list of things to do. (whether you have a Ph.D in CS or just a high school diploma, new stuff is coming out all the time).

There are a lot of free resources now online. You can get the syllabus and curriculum for classses that are taught in places like Stanford or MIT or UC Berkeley. So even if you spend the next two years of nights and weekends 'filling in the gaps' in your knowledge you will find that not only do you get better at your 'day job' but you will start aceing those 'fundamental' questions.

There was a time when to do this you would have to audit a class at a nearby university which imposed limits based on schedules, location, etc. But those times are behind us now. Take an old desktop machine from the e-waste dumpster behind some company, load up FreeBSD or Linux on it, and start doing the home work from some of these courses. The fundamentals are fundamentals because they apply universally, and you don't need a fancy rig to compare the performances of various sorts, or explore bloom filters, or key exchange algorithms. You can run MySQL on crappy hardware for the size databases you need to run to learn SQL.

Granted the assumption is that you can currently access the internet and you live somewhere that is currently consuming IT hardware (pretty much most of Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand. and the N. American continent).

If you are a 'Senior in college' and your major was CS and you flop the fundamental questions then there is a bigger problem here.

They are fundamental. LEARN THEM. They're actually not that hard.


> Is there any further advice someone can give me?

Yes. Stop interviewing with Google.

There are plenty of places that need smart folks, who get things done, who are not jerks. And can look things up or ask around when they need to.

Hope you are not angry with me for taking it through readability, saving it to pdf and converting it to mobi.

Wishing you a very happy birthday!

Could you possibly upload that? I'd love to read this on my Kindle.

Since I'm not sure what edw519 would think of me sharing his work online, I did the less wrong thing. I'm pretty sure you've got mail.

No problem. I'm kinda curious what it would look like, too.

Thanks for the interest and the well wishes, chanux.

Now that you are ok with it (You are amazing) here I post the zip that contains the pdf, mobi and epub.


Sweet! epub here I come.

I may mark this up in LaTeX, then, simply because I've never tried it on something this large. I'll share it here if that's alright with you, edw519.

Question for the peanut gallery - embedding images in LaTeX seems to suck. Any recommendations? (I'm using MacTeX 2010-basic)

Cool. Thanks, whimsy.

(edw519, alumnus of Theta Chi, Beta Chi Chapter)

I would love a copy as well. Email: prakhar1989 [at] gmail

Thank you so much

Thanks for doing this, as a fairly rookie programmer I will be reading this all. :)

Would you welcome typo corrections if people are making efforts to do sophisticated formatting?

If so here's one that seems worth correcting: (from item 2.)

"The most challenging is finding a project big enough to not be boring but small enough that-['s] it's +[not] too difficult to make good progress."

Can I get some mail too?

Would you be able to send it to me too? Thanks so much!

I would appreciate a copy as well: ixmatus at gmail

I would love a copy as well, if you don't mind.

oh mobi may reformat better than pdf on my phone. Is that similar to epub format? That works wonderfully on the phone.

These pearls of wisdom are no less than PG's essays. What I find most impressive about his wisdom is that it had withstood the test of time....it's not just about finding the next big idea and executing it when you are 20/30 something and then do what? It goes much more deeper than that. It is about how to maintain genuine interest in programming, over a period, measured in decades(spanning all different type of envmts) and not years/months...To me that is the ultimate measure of success(for a hacker atleast).

Any chance you can put this on the Kindle store? Not sure how easy it is, but I'm sure myself and many others would like to buy a Kindle copy :)

Great! Was planning to buy it but couldn't do it because of scribd (tired of having services requiring US credit cards)... Happy birthday!

Love it! Bought a copy too! IMHO you're the best commenter on HN edw519! :)

Maybe a silly question, but where can I buy it?

Ah, this is annoying.

Selling is only allowed to people in the US? What on earth for?

I realize it's available free but I wanted to buy for the principle of the thing.

Just as a shot in the dark, I imagine there's probably a mountain of legal paperwork to do business overseas that they just didn't want to deal with.

I was hoping for a dead tree version... Well maybe later, on lulu.com ?

You can grab it from the Scribd link on the blog post: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52729281/The-Best-Of-edw519

Happy Birthday Ed! Thanks so much for all the inspiration. I've been reading this book for the past week each day during my bus commute. You have no idea how much pumped I get and can't wait to get to office and start hacking. Thanking you so much Ed for this.

I signed up to tell you that I'd love to pay for a kindle version. And happy birthday!

Happy birthday, Ed.

This looks amazing and I’d love to pay for an eBook version, but Scribd won’t let me buy it as a non-US resident. Any alternatives?

Happy Birthday, Ed!

The knowledge which is packed in the book will save a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the coming years down the line.

You're truly a blessing!

Thanks Ed, I always enjoy your comments and almost always nod in agreement! I look forward to reading this. Happy birthday!

Ed, could you create a post with the 10 principles of the book? I just feel getting "take-aways" at a glance will help reader absorb information better. Your content is excellent so presenting in one-page summary is always a good thing. I wish more people will read it. It deserves it.

bought it!

still think it was totally worth it!

thanks and happy birthday!

Thanks! Reading this book at the moment, seems I missed a lot of good stuff since I signed up :-)

I'd like to support the author - is it possible to purchase this book and read it on Kindle?

This feels like a treasure trove. Actually works out as a decent format for a book, I think. I saved the page as a webarchive to dropbox and opened it on the iPad with GoodReader. Good reading on the train. Cheers edw519.

I'd like to wish you a Very Happy Birthday indeed Ed and what a wonderful gift :)

Love #246 Hacker News Front Page 12/31/2019

But it's Mark Zuckerberg, not Mark Zuckerman ;-)

Ahhh, thanks Ed! You rock!

Thanks so much Ed. I was looking forward to buying this when it was first posted on HN, but it was not available in my country. Now it is :) , thanks to you ! And a very Happy Birthday :)

Happy b-day Ed!

I couldn't buy your book, but now i can get it free. Thanks a lot :)

I like that age is not important in programming (see 94).

So H.B. to you.

your book was an insight of what life could've/would've been if I pray I become as wise and as productive as you have demonstrated.

good job/ haspy birthday>!

Happy Birthday Ed! Thanks so much for sharing.

I wonder why you are not still a startup millionaire ?

Happy Birthday Ed. Thank you for the gift.

Thank you Ed, this is amazing!

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

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