Books for software engineers and managers

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle  Maintenance

by Robert Pirsig

Tech Lead,
Star Engineer

How strongly do I recommend Zen and the Art of Motorcycle  Maintenance?
8 / 10

Review of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I recommend this book for anyone who finds romanticism and nostalgia in constructing and maintaining quality software. For those among us who view software development as more craft than job.

Good maintenance provides peace of  mind

Where our code and systems are well maintained, we can find peace of mind. Conversely, poor maintenance causes stress.

Ultimately, your own state of mind is the best test for quality. And with quality we feel sensations of personal satisfaction and pride.

Physical discomfort matters only when the mood is  wrong

Software engineers experience two types of sprints. Real sprints, not the agile “sprint” kind.

The first kind of sprint gives us a rush. A boost of energy. We’re chasing progress and when the project completes we’re proud of the work and our own effort.

The second kind of sprint goes by a different name. Death march.

From an outsider’s perspective these two projects look very similar. But to an insider these projects couldn’t be more different.

Engineers find romanticism in  rationality

For the mechanic we find the wrench. It’s weight, feel, and role as partner in maintenance.

For the software engineer we find the terminal.

Both tools contain a romantic beauty to them but help us work on purely rational and logical machines. We can view the tool separate from the task but find it more rewarding to recognize their interconnectedness.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance