It's the ultimate bootstrap and find market fit and make bank story you'll likely ever read.
Later, you should also read Soul of a New Machine and Dreaming in Code for a less calvinball approach to software development.
Here are some excerpts from the book that I particularly enjoyed:
"On a cold winter day, Carmack laced up his shoes, slipped on his jacket, and headed out into the Madison snow. The town was blanketed in the stuff, cars caked in frost, trees dangling ice. Carmack endured the chill because he had no car; he'd sold the MGB long before. It was easy enough for him to shut out the weather, just like he could, when necessary, shut Tom and Romero's antics out of his mind. He was on a mission.
Carmack stepped into the local bank and requested a cashier's check for $11,000. The money was for a NeXT computer, the latest machine from Steve Jobs, cocreator of Apple. The NeXT, a stealth black cube, surpassed the promise of Jobs's earlier machines by incorporating NeXTSTEP, a powerful system tailor-made for custom software development. The market for PCs and games was exploding, and this was the perfect tool to create more dynamic titles for the increasingly viable gaming platform. It was the ultimate Christmas present for the ultimate in young graphics programmers, Carmack."
Of course, the book wouldn't be complete without Ferrari details and discussion:
"At a showroom, they admired a gleaming new Testarossa that listed at $90,000. Carmack was treating cars like he treated his games; he had already grown somewhat tired of his current engine. What he really wanted was one of these. [...] Carmack paid cash for a red one to match his 328.
But Carmack's Ferrari didn't stay in the lot for long. Within days he drove it over to Norwood Autocraft and started on the modifications - he wanted to get the car, which ran at four hundred horsepower, at least twice as strong. Bob Norwood, who had become Carmack's automotive mentor, had a master plan: to install a twin turbo system that would not just double but triple the car's horsepower. For added energy, they put in a computer-controlled device that would inject a burst of nitrous oxide."
This is such a refreshing thing to read in a tech community that seems to so unfairly decry literature. (And, no, rereading 1984 doesn't count.)
I also recommend people check out Alexis's short eBook, Make Something People Love: (http://www.hyperink.com/Make-Something-People-Love-Lessons-F...). It's ten bucks and something like seventy pages: easy to cruise through on a lazy afternoon, and has a very pleasant perspective on the philosophy behind creation. Alexis is a gifted writer, and you certainly feel his personality on the pages.
I think (re-)reading 1984 probably counts a lot more than reading a great amount of business/self-help books.
However, if you're tired of 1984 but are still on an Orwell kick, his non-fiction is equally fantastic.
Hmmm, I thought the point was you're wasting time on a book a) you've already read and b) everyone else you know has already read. Regardless of how good the book is, you're unlikely to gain any unique insight.
I promise that book is going to be nothing less than 42x better. It also has doodles! e.g., http://instagram.com/p/Zn32KlmEq7/
I'm going to mail out stickers for my next project.
(Can I has free book? Why do we have to wait till October, so far away.)
I also have a mascot and a little backstory. His name is Gary and he lives in the circuits of your computer. Born in 1987 with the .gif format, he works tirelessly to compile the user's images frame by frame. He almost quit in the 90s though, after people criticized gifs as being tacky and overused. But then came the gif renaissance as users began to purposely use gifs as expressive, emotional works of art. Gary handles all the heavy lifting in our software and he loves to make people happy. Thank goodness for Gary.
Is this really the case? I can't recall this attitude being that widespread.
It'll probably cost you next to nothing on Amazon Used Books, and if it's the sort of book you don't like you'll probably know after a chapter.
But I promise I wouldn't waste your time. It's about the runup to the first World War, and it's chock-full of amazing digressions and vivid characters. It's absolutely captivating, and for years you'll be able to open it completely at random and be surprised.
"Dreadnought" is the book that made me track down "Grey of Fallodon" and "Dorothy Grey", and read "Castles of Steel," and read every single one of Churchill's books about the world wars, and his (now public-domain) book "From London to Ladysmith by Way of Pretoria."
Alternatively, if you don't want a grand, sprawling epic with a cast of hundreds, please consider "Storm of Steel", by Ernst Junger, the Best First-Person Account of the First World War -- a good english translation has only been available quite recently, 2000 or 2004 if I recall correctly.
I'm on the last chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Does that count?
>In the information age, the barriers [to entry into programming] just aren't there. The barriers are self imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don't need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers.
He's making a larger point about low barriers to entry, but honestly there's something romantic about the image of all day cowboy coding sessions fueled by junk food.
Additionally, I am not certain that it is necessary to "eat junk food, sit at the PC all day, sleep on the couch" in order to build a business or change the world. Although it is romantic and might be doable for some people over the course of months and years, sacrificing (subjective) quality of life and sanity should not be the only path to building something meaningful that you care about. It will probably take a lot over work over the long haul. If the console cowboy lifestyle changes are the aspects of creating something that you/your wife are worried about, maybe address those separately from the goal of actually creating something, which I hope would not necessitate those behaviors.
"Masters of Doom" addresses this, I think, when it recounts how John Carmack stole an Apple II.
A master will always find a way. But his/her priorities may not always be shared or respected.
Did that help. I don't really have time for a whole book.
/the wife would get mad at me.
At the time, I recall a number of people who read the book bemoaning 1991 as a bygone era of opportunity, as if all the good ideas and opportunities to invent had been "used up". Interesting how different people take the same text as self-defeating vs inspiring.
Also, on the topic of inspirational books, I always have to mention Skunk Works, one of my all-time favorites.
I've been under the weather for a while, so I took the opportunity to read some. I can't emphasize enough how important regular reading is. If for no other reason than to climb out of your own problems and into an author's head for a bit, especially one with something important to say.
For anybody interested, the books I read over the past 2-3 weeks were War and Peace, Gone Girl, and God's Chinese Son. I've got about 35 more on-deck waiting for me to start on them.
It's not an easy read, because the style is so peculiar, there's a ton of characters, and... well... it's not a culture I'm very familiar with. But it's still fascinating.
There's a movie that was made after this book, it's called Red Cliff. It captures the battle of Red Cliff, a peak moment in the book, and the events leading up to it. It's hugely, hugely EPIC. I'm a sucker for this genre, so I loved it. Also, it convinced me that John Woo can make great movies - when he's at home, operating within the realm of his native culture. When in Hollywood, he seems merely okay. If you watch this movie, make sure it's the original two-disk version, not the abridged single-disk one. The events depicted in it have a factual basis, with the required dramatic embellishments on top.
"If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don't need millions of dollars of cpitalization. you need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your regrigerator, a cheap PC to work on and the dedication to go through with it."
The author has a new novel out titled Jacked which I believe tells the story of Rockstar games but I haven't read it yet. Has anyone else? Is it good?
I feel like it would be lacking some of the nostalgia and lure of Masters of Doom. The celebrity and talent of Carmack is legendary in our industry and Romero's arc makes him a compelling foil later in the story. Additionally, id software's games are the games that I grew up playing as opposed to Rockstar's games which I have only seen in passing.
The book also didn't dig nearly as much into the detail around the creation of the games. In Masters of Doom, you felt like you were watching Carmack and Romero invent Doom. In Jacked, the game creation process was talked about in much more general (and less personal) terms. That's absolutely typical for a journalist, but Masters of Doom set such a high bar for gaming journalism that I ended up a bit disappointed.
Overall Jacked was a worthwhile read, but I didn't find it to be in same class as Masters of Doom.
I'm so careful about the Carmack/Romero comparison for Me/Steve precisely because things go so spectacularly bad for Romero...and I'm no Carmack.
He did an outstanding job. I want Wil to narrate my entire life.
"Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, rejected their original idea: a mobile food ordering service called MyMobileMenu. Instead, Graham told them, "You guys need to build the front page of the Internet.""
birth of reddit the idea started with pg, etc.
birth of reddit the company started with alexis, etc.
imo conception starts with the idea.