Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

Front Cover
"O'Reilly Media, Inc.", 2004 - Computers - 258 pages
102 Reviews

"The computer world is like an intellectual Wild West, in which you can shoot anyone you wish with your ideas, if you're willing to risk the consequences. " --from Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham

We are living in the computer age, in a world increasingly designed and engineered by computer programmers and software designers, by people who call themselves hackers. Who are these people, what motivates them, and why should you care?

Consider these facts: Everything around us is turning into computers. Your typewriter is gone, replaced by a computer. Your phone has turned into a computer. So has your camera. Soon your TV will. Your car was not only designed on computers, but has more processing power in it than a room-sized mainframe did in 1970. Letters, encyclopedias, newspapers, and even your local store are being replaced by the Internet.

Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham, explains this world and the motivations of the people who occupy it. In clear, thoughtful prose that draws on illuminating historical examples, Graham takes readers on an unflinching exploration into what he calls "an intellectual Wild West."

The ideas discussed in this book will have a powerful and lasting impact on how we think, how we work, how we develop technology, and how we live. Topics include the importance of beauty in software design, how to make wealth, heresy and free speech, the programming language renaissance, the open-source movement, digital design, internet startups, and more.


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Good collection of essays, nice advice for startups. - Goodreads
Inspiring writing about design thinking to be a maker. - Goodreads
He is a good writer, besides an investor. - Goodreads
All that said, Graham is a decent writer. - Goodreads

Review: Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

User Review  - Sophia Feng - Goodreads

Best read 2014 besides Guns, Germs, and Steel. As a programmer and amateur-painter and writing hobbyist, I find his analogies between software, painting and literature very appealing. I agree with ... Read full review

Review: Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

User Review  - Dmitri - Goodreads

A great set of essays, on various topics but all revolving around technology, startups and software. Paul Graham has some deep insights and strong opinions that I found it enlightening. It's quite ... Read full review


Why Nerds Are Unpopular
Hackers and Painters
What You Cant Say
Good Bad Attitude
The Other Road Ahead
How to Make Wealth
Mind the Gap
A Plan for Spam
Beating the Averages
Revenge of the Nerds
The Dream Language
Design and Research
Image Credits

Taste for Makers
Programming Languages Explained
The HundredYear Language

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Paul Graham was born in England and currently lives in New York. The recipient of many awards including a Eugene Smith Memorial Fellowship, his work has been exhibited extensively, including at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Gallery, London. Graham's previously published books include "Troubled Land", "New Europe", "Empty Heaven" and "End of an Age".