19 Dec

Reader’s Guide

This is a book about what goes on in the minds of programmers. Most programming books are about the mechanics of programming. These are essential, yet they can leave novices confused and bored. Tao Te Programming tries to get at the spirit of programming, to expose the ways of thinking that make programming challenging and fulfilling rather than too hard and grinding.

Good programming is often about effective compromise. You can go too far in a good direction. That is why many chapters have opponents — an indication of forces you need to try to balance. Chapters can also have allies that point in a similar direction.

You can read the chapters in order. But if there is much in the book, then that something is unlikely to appear via a linear path. Bouncing around chapters is more in the book’s spirit.


The artwork was done with some simple functions in R using its random number generation.


Unattributed quotes are from Tao Te Ching.

There are also snippets of creation myths scattered through the book. When you program, you create a world — just as Everything-Maker made a world. Ignore the stories if you like.

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