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Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Development Advice of the Ages

May 29, 2008

We like to kid ourselves that coding computer programs is somehow special and different from the other more traditional occupations of humankind. Nothing could be further from the truth! WHAT we do is new in these here modern times. On the other hand, everything we need to know about HOW to do what we do was known ages ago!


Search from where the Sun rises over the Ganges
To where it sets in at Cadiz in Spain
And see if you can find one man - one man -
Who knows a good goal from a bad one, or
Who having started a project
Does not wish long before it is done that he had never started.
- Junius Juvenal, ca. 100 CE
Who, when setting out to build a tower, will not first sit down and compute the cost, lest his neighbors say, "He began to build but was not able to finish"?
- Jesus of Nazareth
There was a roshi of a monastery who, contrary to the codified ritual of all the Zen monasteries of the time, did not make his students constantly recite the sutras, instead letting them follow their individual temperments. He was noted for the high quality of the students he turned out. Then one day the monastery bells rang out and the villagers in the town below heard the sutras being chanted. That is how they learned that the roshi had died.
- Traditional, Japan
Only by driving from your mind the rewards of your labor and doing the labor for its own sake can anything which endures be achieved by the individual.
-Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
Ah, but my Computations, People say,
Reduced the Year to better reckoning?--Nay
'Twas only striking from the Calendar
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday
- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
When a manager says something he shouldn't say in order to reach some goal by trickery, or doesn't speak up when he should in order to reach some goal by trickery, it's the same as if he were burglarizing his neighbor's house.
- Mencius

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