Found 5 comments on HN
Zyst · 2018-07-24 · Original thread
The Effective Engineer[0] has a chapter on technical debt, where he goes into how a lot of crappy code decisions are there for a reason, and how rewrites can be chaotic. If you have the time, I'd recommend giving it a read.

I frankly got a lot more pragmatic about asking for rewrites after reading it, and I feel it helped me to grow (mature?) as a developer.

Either way, I think there's a need to balance the need for employee self actualization needs which they often push as rewrite requests "Oh since we're rewriting this, we should (do it in)/use/etc X instead". I have often realized that a lot of requests to rewrite something are really tinkering desires camouflaged as a business related request, which is not to say that the code that does exist could have problems, it could, but having a period of debt repayment would improve it as well. So finding a way to allow your employees to tinker without letting their desires torpedo your products would be positive.

Either way, it's a complex subject, and I don't really think there's a single "right" response to it. Best of luck!

0: https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Engineer-Engineering-Dispro...

EDIT: I'm not a CTO, I'm a developer.

comvidyarthi · 2018-05-22 · Original thread
I really liked "The Effective Engineer" by Edmond Lau. Its not intended for starting your own company. But it has some good insight for doing good in your job and how to grow as a software engineer. https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Engineer-Engineering-Dispro...
W0lf · 2017-06-05 · Original thread
I've gathered all the book titles in this thread and created Amazon affiliate links (if you don't mind. Otherwise you still have all the titles together :-) )

A Pattern Language, Alexander and Ishikawa and Silverstein http://amzn.to/2s9aSSc

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment , Stevens http://amzn.to/2qPOMjN

Algorithmics: the Spirit of Computing, Harel http://amzn.to/2rW5FNS

Applied Crytography, Wiley http://amzn.to/2rsULxS

Clean Code, Martin http://amzn.to/2sIOWtQ

Clean Coder, Martin http://amzn.to/2rWgbEP

Code Complete, McConnel http://amzn.to/2qSUIwE

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, Petzold http://amzn.to/2rWfR9d

Coders at Work, Seibel http://amzn.to/2qPCasZ

Compilers: Principles, Techniques, & Tools, Aho http://amzn.to/2rCSUVA

Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, O'Hallaron and Bryant http://amzn.to/2qPY5jH

Data Flow Analysis: Theory and Practice, Khedker http://amzn.to/2qTnSvr

Dependency Injection in .NET, Seemann http://amzn.to/2rCz0tV

Domain Driven Design, Evans http://amzn.to/2sIGM4N

Fundamentals of Wireless Communication, Tse and Viswanath http://amzn.to/2rCTmTM

Genetic Programming: An Intrduction, Banzhaf http://amzn.to/2s9sdut

Head First Design Patterns, O'Reilly http://amzn.to/2rCISUB

Implementing Domain-Driven Design, Vernon http://amzn.to/2qQ2G5u

Intrduction to Algorithms, CLRS http://amzn.to/2qXmSBU

Introduction to General Systems Thinking, Weinberg http://amzn.to/2qTuGJw

Joy of Clojure, Fogus and Houser http://amzn.to/2qPL4qr

Let over Lambda, Hoyte http://amzn.to/2rWljcp

Operating Systems: Design and Implementation, Tanenbaum http://amzn.to/2rKudsw

Parsing Techniques, Grune and Jacobs http://amzn.to/2rKNXfn

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, DeMarco and Lister http://amzn.to/2qTu86F

Programming Pearls, Bentley http://amzn.to/2sIRPe9

Software Process Design: Out of the Tar Pit, McGraw-Hill http://amzn.to/2rVX0v0

Software Runaways, Glass http://amzn.to/2qT2mHn

Sorting and Searching, Knuth http://amzn.to/2qQ4NWQ

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Abelson and Sussman http://amzn.to/2qTflsk

The Art of Unit Testing, Manning http://amzn.to/2rsERDu

The Art of Unix Programming, ESR http://amzn.to/2sIAXUZ

The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist, Brooks http://amzn.to/2rsPjev

The Effective Engineer, Lau http://amzn.to/2s9fY0X

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White http://amzn.to/2svB3Qz

The Healthy Programmer, Kutner http://amzn.to/2qQ2MtQ

The Linux Programming Interface, Kerrisk http://amzn.to/2rsF8Xi

The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks http://amzn.to/2rt0dAR

The Practice of Programming, Kernighan and Pike http://amzn.to/2qTje0C

The Pragmatic Programmer, Hunt and Thomas http://amzn.to/2s9dlvS

The Psychology of Computer Programming, Weinberg http://amzn.to/2rsPypy

Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques, Gray and Reuter http://amzn.to/

Types and Programming Languages, Pierce http://amzn.to/2qT2d6G

Understanding MySQL Internals, Pachev http://amzn.to/2svXuFo

Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Feathers http://amzn.to/2sIr09R

Zen of graphics programming, Abrash http://amzn.to/2rKIW6Q

henrik_w · 2017-02-08 · Original thread
A relatively new book that isn't mentioned (but that I really like) is "The Effective Engineer" by Edmond Lau.

https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Engineer-Engineering-Dispro...

Edit: Here's why I like it: https://henrikwarne.com/2017/01/15/book-review-the-effective...

Your comment reminded me of Edmond Lau's book - The Effective Engineer [1] - where he talks about putting in a good amount of effort into the onboarding process for new engineers.

His premise - having a senior engineer spend an hour a day for the first month helping the new employee with explaining the existing abstractions being used, the underlying design of various systems, etc. - would still be only about 20 hours, which is still only 1% of the number of hours that employee will spend in their first year - about 2000 hours.

As a result, I believe that armed with that knowledge, the new employee is likely to be much more productive, failing which, at least cause less damage to the code base.

I would say that the first example you mention - leaky abstractions et. al. - are just as much (or maybe more) due to poor onboarding as they are due to the frustration of mediocre programmers. There is a lot to be said for good process, which software engineering as a discipline falls short of quite consistently.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Engineer-Engineering-Dispro...

Get dozens of book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.