The Tao of Programming

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The Tao of Programming
Author Geoffrey James
Illustrator Gloria Garland
Cover artist Gloria Garland
Country United States
Language English
Subject Computer programming
Genre Computer programming, Satire
Publisher InfoBooks
Publication date
1987
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 151
ISBN 0-931137-07-1
OCLC 13904639
005 19
LC Class QA76.6 .J354 1987
Followed by The Zen of Programming

The Tao of Programming is a book written in 1987 by Geoffrey James. Written in a tongue-in-cheek style spoof of classic Taoist texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzi which belies its serious message. The Tao of Programming consists of a series of short anecdotes divided into nine "books":

  • The Silent Void
  • The Ancient Masters
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Maintenance
  • Management
  • Corporate Wisdom
  • Hardware and Software
  • Epilogue

The themes of the book espouse many hacker ideals – managers should leave programmers to their work; code should be small, elegant, and maintainable; corporate wisdom is more often than not an oxymoron; and so on.

Geoffrey James wrote two more books like The Tao of Programming -- The Zen of Programming in 1988 and Computer Parables: Enlightenment in the Information Age in 1989. However, they have not been as well received.[citation needed]

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