Why programmers work at night - a book about programmers, by a programmer
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Introduction - version 0.4

Hello, I am Book.

You already know the guy who created me from that foreword, you might think he's silly, but he's alright.

I am Book! You will like me.

It's going to take about an hour, fifty-three minutes and nine seconds to read me through, but take it easy. Or fast. Either way, I suggest a nice cup of tea and a comfy chair.

I am here to tell you I love programmers. Even though they sometimes prefer to be called developers, or software engineers, or computer scientists. Whatever your favorite version likes to call themselves, go give them a hug. They're awesome folk!

They might seem a bit strange at first, but I'm going to help you be the best person for programmers to be around. If you happen to be a programmer yourself, I'm going to tell you how to be the best programmer there is.

Keep in touch

Swizec is starting a newsletter about the things from Book. He's going to share interesting things about productivity, programmers, office culture and stuff like that about twice a month.

Sign up at: http://swiz.ec/nightowls-list

You can also poke Swizec on Twitter as @swizec or send him an email at swizec@swizec.com. He loves hearing from people.

Whom Book is for

You should read me if you are a programmer or have to deal with them a lot. If you've ever waited until 11am for one of them to show up at work, or couldn't get them in bed until 3am no matter how sexy you dressed. This book is for you!

If you're a mum or a dad and have a pup programmer in the house, don't worry. I'll tell you all about why they stay up all night and sleep through school. It's because they're doing awesome things in their spare time ;)

If one of your parents is a programmer and they keep making corny jokes like "The two hard things in computer science are cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors. Ha ha.". I'll help you understand that too.

What Book contains

I have roughly four sections.

First I'm going to talk about whether programmers do in fact work at night or do they just like to think they do. For some reason they really like bragging about how little sleep they got last night. Swizec is just like that!

Then I'm going to tell you why they feel night-time is best time. Some things in the day-time just don't gel well with those guys, understanding will help you keep them at a minimum.

Lastly, there's going to be practical stuff. Both for people around programmers as for programmers themselves. The very last section might be called "Lifestyle tips for top productivity".

Everything you read here has been tried by somebody. Either Swizec or some of his close friends. None of that writing things that sound good on paper, but nobody can do. Only things that work are allowed.

What is not in Book

I am not hard science. Take everything with a grain of salt, if something seems strange, tell Swizec. If something doesn't work for you, tell Swizec. If something sounds downright dangerous, tell Swizec.

You should consider me a collection of anecdotes, personal experiences and interpretations of scientific literature on the topic.

How finished is Book

Swizec seems to have a life outside this book so it's taking him a while to finish. You might still find some notes to himself, usually inside square brackets, or sections that clearly haven't seen an editor yet. He's very sorry about that and promises to get to it as soon as possible.

If you are reading via the Github repository, that's wonderful! Make sure to tell Swizec what's wrong! Github Issues exist for a reason.

If you're reading via purchased pdf, that's awesome! You are a gentleman and a scholar and a great person to boot. Swizec asked me to say thanks for supporting the project.

Right now I'm version 0.4.

The most interesting sections are About flow and Working with programmers. There's some interesting science about creativity and sleeping habits in Why programmers work at night.

The section of tips for programmers was mostly written during long drives on a road trip around Europe. It's all very interesting and is probably the most well researched part of the book. But Swizec still needs to mark up the references and clean up the writing.

If you're into data, you should check out the preliminary analysis in Do programmers work at night?. Some 500,000 Github repositories were considered, but there's still much more data hiding in there.


Book cover courtesy of @ponywithhiccups

Creative Commons Licence

Why programmers work at night by Swizec Teller is licensed under a Creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License