The book being reviewed is ``Hackers & Painters'' by Paul Graham (ISBN 978-1-449-38955-0). Information concerning it may be found here.
I read this book before becoming aware of who Paul Graham is, which probably would've swayed me from otherwise reading it. The book is a collection of his essays, some of which are popular and express novel ideas, and some of which are less interesting and make sense knowing of his business ventures.
The first essay, ``Why Nerds Are Unpopular'', concerns itself with young life and such matters. The prime claim is they've better things for focus, which is obvious; the most insightful passage claims teenagers being crazed is American meme, byproduct of a society giving them naught of meaning to do.
The titular essay ``Hackers and Painters'' compares creative work, bringing to mind ``Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid''. I agree hacking can be stifled by ``computer science'', and should be equated more with other creative fields, but the MIT hackers seemed to easily write their papers.
In some ways, he's merely wearing the face of a hacker; lauding, yet without noting prime qualities; mentioning few hackers, but several startups, businesses, and products. He dismisses languages that aren't entirely for creative work, ignoring why others exist; I neither entirely agree nor disagree.
Third, ``What You Can't Say'', feels rather relevant nowadays. It's a meta-essay concerned by moral fashion and raises good questions for learning which fashion one's wearing. There's clearly nothing which would've prevented its publishing therein, but it's a decent essay for nurturing some thought.
The ``Good Bad Attitude'' concerns attitudes with hacking, but again mentions employees, businesses, money, and now anti-totalitarianism and ``American-ness'' in doing so. In addition to this, as with the rest of this book, there's no mention of Free Software. This plays out across just a few pages.
Fifth, ``The Other Road Ahead'', mentions yet another startup, now in the first sentence. The essay is concerned with service, subscription software which runs on other machines, defending this model, and even romanticizes spying on users as an advantage. Revisiting this should've surprised me less.
I don't currently care to finish reviewing the other essays. It's been interesting to revisit after having read this years back. The forum he runs is on the same level as the book, in relationship to true hackers. This is the book for those who want to learn of pop culture ``hackers'' and startups.