Software development happens in your head. Not in an editor, IDE, or design tool. You’re well educated on how to work with software and hardware, but what about wetware—our own brains? Learning new skills and new technology is critical to your career, and it’s all in your head.

In this book by Andy Hunt, you’ll learn how our brains are wired, and how to take advantage of your brain’s architecture. You’ll learn new tricks and tips to learn more, faster, and retain more of what you learn.

You need a pragmatic approach to thinking and learning. You need to Refactor Your Wetware.

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About this Book

  • 252 pages
  • Published:
  • Release: P9.0 (2015-01-22)
  • ISBN: 978-1-93435-605-0

Programmers have to learn constantly; not just the stereotypical new technologies, but also the problem domain of the application, the whims of the user community, the quirks of your teammates, the shifting sands of the industry, and the evolving characteristics of the project itself as it is built.

We’ll journey together through bits of cognitive and neuroscience, learning and behavioral theory. You’ll see some surprising aspects of how our brains work, and how you can take advantage of the system to improve your own learning and thinking skills.

In this book you’ll learn how to:

  • Use the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition to become more expert
  • Leverage the architecture of the brain to strengthen different thinking modes
  • Avoid common “known bugs” in your mind
  • Learn more deliberately and more effectively
  • Manage knowledge more efficiently

Contents and Extracts

Full Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Journey From Novice to Expert: Use the Dreyfus Model on the road to expertise
  • This is Your Brain: Linear-mode and Rich-mode cognitive processing
  • Get in your Right Mind: Cultivating Rich-mode processes
  • Debug Your Mind: Recognizing and avoiding cognitive biases
  • Learn Deliberately: Practical techniques to learn more, faster, and more effectively
  • Gain Experience: See how to maximize learning from your experience
  • Manage Focus: Better manage attention, knowledge, and context
  • Beyond Expertise: What to do tomorrow

(Click on the mind map image for a larger version)

About the Author

Andy Hunt is a programmer turned consultant, author and publisher. He co-authored the best-selling book “The Pragmatic Programmer”, was one of the 17 founders of the Agile Alliance, and co-founded the Pragmatic Bookshelf, publishing award-winning and critically acclaimed books for software developers.

Upcoming Author Events

Comments and Reviews

  • Gregory Long said:

    I can say without any hesitation it has joined my short-list of ‘must read’ programmer books. If you are a programmer and you haven’t read this book stop. Now. Yes, now. Go get the book here and start reading. What are you doing? Why are you still reading this? I said now!

    Los Techies review
  • I’ve recommended it to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to me. I was familiar with some of the ideas and techniques from my various readings on the science of learning, but its invaluable to have them gathered in one concise book, especially one geared towards developers.

    —Dr. Paul V. Gestwicki Professor & Director of Undergraduate Programs Ball State University
  • Joyce Carpenter said:

    A delight to read…it could be a perfect gift for your favorite geek this holiday season.

  • patrick elder said:

    ...[this book] will be the catalyst of your future as a software engineer.

  • Remko Tronçon said:

    Filled with quite interesting statements and useful tips that will probably keep lingering on in your brain for quite a while. The insights into the human brain that the book provides seem to make a lot of sense, and explain a lot of real-life experiences.

  • Linda Rising said:

    This has been fun and I’ve learned a lot—can’t ask for more than that!

    Patterns and Object-Oriented Expert
  • Pragmatic Thinking and Learning is a FANTASTIC BOOK! It’s in there with 7 Habits and the Dale Carnegie(s) and Think and Grow Rich and On Intelligence, all at the top of the heap.

    —Bruce Langenbach IT Consultant
  • I’ve always been looking for something to help me improve my learning skills, but i’ve never found anything as effective as this book.

    —Oscar Del Ben Software Developer
  • Absolutely terrific! I’m only beginning the 3rd chapter and I’ve already found the book VERY, VERY useful. It makes me look at what I am doing and how I do it in a different light.

    —Carol Saah Java Software Developer
  • Loved the beta book. Can’t wait for the last few chapters to come out.

    —Michael Doornbos Imapenguin
  • Finished reading the beta last night. I loved this talk at NFJS (and the herding racehorses one), and to have it in book form—spectacular. All of this material has really changed my life! Mostly for the better :-)

    —Matt McKnight