· thoughtworks neal-ford books

The Productive Programmer: Book Review

The Book

The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford

The Review

I first came across this book when I was browsing Andy Hunt’s Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware on Amazon. It showed up as one of the related books.

I had expected it to be a more theoretical book than it actually is. It is full of really useful command line tips and ways to use system tools and IDEs more effectively. It only took until page 3 for me to learn something from this book - a short cut for navigating Firefox tabs which I now use all the time. Apple Key + Tab Number (Mac) or Ctrl Key + Tab Number (Windows) takes you to the appropriate tab for those who are intrigued!

The first half of the book (Mechanics) covers general power user tips and tricks for using your machine better while the second half (Practice) is more about ways that you can be more productive as a developer.

I will summarise some of my favourite parts of the book and the most interesting things that I learnt from reading it.



I found that the best way to read this book was to read a bit of it and then try out the suggestions on the computer. It’s not really a book that you can read on the train for example.

In Summary

I would rank this book up there with The Pragmatic Programmer as one that I would recommend all developers read. There are so many tips in it that you are bound to find some that you didn’t know about and your view of automation will be much broader having read it, which can only be a good thing.

I was an automation junkie after reading The Pragmatic Programmer, but after reading this book I think I’m going to become even more obsessive about it.

As a side note this is the first time I’ve tried to write a review of a book on the blog. Feedback on whether doing it like this is useful or better ways that you’ve seen it done would be gratefully received.

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