The Tao of Programming

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The Tao of Programming
The Tao of Programming.jpg
AuthorGeoffrey James
IllustratorGloria Garland
Cover artistGloria Garland
CountryUnited States
SubjectComputer programming
GenreComputer programming, Satire
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
005 19
LC ClassQA76.6 .J354 1987
Followed byThe Zen of Programming 

«The wise programmer is told about Tao and follows it. The average programmer is told about Tao and searches for it. The foolish programmer is told about Tao and laughs at it.»

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[1], it 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[2]—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 other books on this theme, The Zen of Programming in 1988 and Computer Parables: Enlightenment in the Information Age in 1989.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Raymond, Eric S. "The Jargon File: Bibliography". Retrieved 3 August 2016.

External links[edit]