Monday, January 5, 2009

Outliers - I

When I think of Software Craftsmanship, I initially think of works like teach yourself programming in ten years or Richard Gabriel's Master's of Fine Arts In Software or perhaps Worse is Better.

But Craft applies to a lot more than software, and, every once in awhile, something totally outside of that realm with "smack me upside the head."

I'm reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I expected it to be great writing combined with interesting stories that didn't really apply to me - thankfully, I was right on the first count and wrong on the second.

About a third of way through the book, Gladwell begins writing about what makes work meaningful - and long it takes to generate skill in meaningful work. Here's an example:

"Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to do have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five, it's whether our work fulfills us. It I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollboth for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I'm guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that's worth more to most of us than money."

Autonomy, Complexity, and a Connection Between Effort and Reward.

Autonomy, Complexity, and a Connection Between Effort and Reward.

That may not define software craftsmanship, but it's a good start.

1 comment:

  1. Dang it, Matt. I was really hoping to wait until Outliers came out in paperback before getting it. Perhaps I should read Gladwell's other books first while I'm waiting for the paperback...