Hackers & Painters

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Big Ideas from the Computer Age


Hackers & Painters
Big Ideas from the
Computer Age

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Copyright c 2004 Paul Graham. All rights reserved.
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ISBN-13: 978-0-596-00662-4

for mom

Note to readers
The chapters are all independent of one another, so you don’t have
to read them in order, and you can skip any that bore you. If you
come across a technical term you don’t know, take a look in the
Glossary, or in Chapter 10, which explains a lot of the concepts
underlying software.

We regret to inform readers that, after reading Chapter 5, Microsoft’s PR firm were unable to grant us permission to reproduce
any of their photographs of Bill Gates. We thank the Albuquerque
Police Department for the substitute reproduced on page 86.


1. Why Nerds Are Unpopular


Their minds are not on the game.

2. Hackers and Painters


Hackers are makers, like painters or architects or writers.

3. What You Can’t Say


How to think heretical thoughts and what to do with them.

4. Good Bad Attitude


Like Americans, hackers win by breaking rules.

5. The Other R...