• Coders

  • The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World
  • Written by: Clive Thompson
  • Narrated by: René Ruiz
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 2019-03-26
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

Price: CDN$ 39.48

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day free trial and your first audiobook is free
  • After trial, get 1 credit each month good for any audiobook.
  • Exchange any audiobook you don’t like
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your free trial, Audible is just CDN$ 14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Hello, world.

Facebook's algorithms shaping the news. Self-driving cars roaming the streets. Revolution on Twitter and romance on Tinder. We live in a world constructed of code - and coders are the ones who built it for us. From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson comes a brilliant anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers, in a book that interrogates who they are, how they think, what qualifies as greatness in their world, and what should give us pause. They are the most quietly influential people on the planet, and Coders shines a light on their culture. 

In pop culture and media, the people who create the code that rules our world are regularly portrayed in hackneyed, simplified terms, as ciphers in hoodies. Thompson goes far deeper, dramatizing the psychology of the invisible architects of the culture, exploring their passions and their values, as well as their messy history. In nuanced portraits, Coders takes us close to some of the great programmers of our time, including the creators of Facebook's News Feed, Instagram, Google's cutting-edge AI, and more. Speaking to everyone from revered "10X" elites to neophytes, back-end engineers, and front-end designers, Thompson explores the distinctive psychology of this vocation - which combines a love of logic, an obsession with efficiency, the joy of puzzle-solving, and a superhuman tolerance for mind-bending frustration. 

Along the way, Coders thoughtfully ponders the morality and politics of code, including its implications for civic life and the economy. Programmers shape our everyday behavior: When they make something easy to do, we do more of it. When they make it hard or impossible, we do less of it. Thompson wrestles with the major controversies of our era, from the "disruption" fetish of Silicon Valley to the struggle for inclusion by marginalized groups.

In his accessible, erudite style, Thompson unpacks the surprising history of the field, beginning with the first coders - brilliant and pioneering women, who, despite crafting some of the earliest personal computers and programming languages, were later written out of history. Coders introduces modern crypto-hackers fighting for your privacy, AI engineers building eerie new forms of machine cognition, teenage girls losing sleep at 24/7 hackathons, and unemployed Kentucky coal-miners learning a new career. 

At the same time, the book deftly illustrates how programming has become a marvelous new art form - a source of delight and creativity, not merely danger. To get as close to his subject as possible, Thompson picks up the thread of his own long-abandoned coding skills as he reckons with what superb programming looks like. 

To understand the world today, we need to understand code and its consequences. With Coders, Thompson gives a definitive look into the heart of the machine.

©2019 Clive Thompson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“In this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers.... [Coders] contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions..... Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Clive Thompson is more than a gifted reporter and writer. He is a brilliant social anthropologist. And, in this masterful book, he illuminates both the fascinating coders and the bewildering technological forces that are transforming the world in which we live.” (David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon)

“Looks at some of the stalwarts and heroes of the coding world, many of them not well-known.... Thompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike.... Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier, et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.” (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No reviews are available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-27

Enjoyed the book! But...

I really enjoyed this book and was fascinated by the history and culture surrounding programming. The book is a great balance of inspiring and humbling. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in some behind the scenes and not regularly pondered areas of coding.
..................................
That being said though I did have some issues with the book. I felt like the author repeated himself a lot, as well as relentlessly try and hammer home his own personal viewpoints on countless matters. Most of which were based on politics and equality (not a bad discussion to have I agree). I found this to be the most exausting part of the book (I am not exaggerating, this took up 33% of the total volume). I can understand his feelings and activist points of view. But bombarding your listeners with political thought experiments and diving so deeply into race and sex in a book about coding seemed out of place and frankly verging on false advertising. It struck me as either filler material or a moral obligation, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that it was the latter.
....................................
Overall I found the book refreshing and enlightening and reccomend it to anyone.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Zach Meyer
  • 2019-05-10

Overall good read

I listened at 1.5 and did not have a problem following along. Overall I found this book to be informative and entertaining. I just wish it would of been less political, which I thought took away from some of the main points.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Trevyn
  • 2019-04-08

Not for me

This book can be insightful and detailed about certain aspects of technological development and the people/culture behind it. Then, for large parts of several chapters, it devolves into a one-sided social justice crusade that fails to seriously engage in the idea that differences in gender and racial representation might be in part because of different distributions of traits and interests in populations. This is a review, not an argument, so I'll leave it at that. I get that the author might feel like he has a duty to address perceived injustices, and I can appreciate points of view other than my own, but the book really hits you over the head with an over-arching narrative that casts groups of individuals as solid blocks of identity and casts white men as the villains. If you don't want to spend half of your time in this audiobook listening to that message, maybe it's not for you, either.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erika Parker
  • 2019-05-18

great introduction to coding world

good for those considering the world of coding for themselves or their children, sharing prospects, insights into work environments, personality fits, and resources.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Hamachek
  • 2019-05-15

Accurate account of the people that write software

As a 33 year old software engineer living in Silicon Valley, I can honestly say that this is one of the few accurate descriptions of who coders are.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-12

not only for coders

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested getting into the industry. Not only for coders. Very readable!