December 31, 2008
Every book that the Pragmatic Programmers publish is designed to “Make Developers’ Lives Better.”
Having such a clear mission helps us make decisions every day. When someone proposes a book we can measure it against this standard. When an author and editor start shaping a book they can use this standard to guide the direction. There are plenty of good books with different goals, but this focus is one of the things that distinguish our books. As developers struggle to meet the challenges at work, how can we make their lives better?
More than two years ago Dave, Andy, and I began talking about a series that would answer the question “But what about the rest of their lives?” Most good developers we know have interesting hobbies and outside interests that they attack with the same curiosity and passion that they bring to their work.
So we asked what a photography book would look like if the prags would publish it. It wouldn’t be a tour of all the knobs and buttons and settings on your camera. It would be a journey that would take the reader from where they are to becoming a better photographer. We would talk about light and composition. Not in a theoretical hard-to-apply sort of way and not in a you-wouldn’t-understand-this-just-do-what-we-say sort of way. We would have an experienced photographer and teacher lead you on a path where you start noticing things you weren’t aware of before.
For the first year of this project, the series was referred to as the “Get a Life” series. That had a nice ring to it but we thought it was kind of insulting. It implied that the readers didn’t have a life. But you do. You are some of the most interesting people we know. We love hanging out with you and swapping stories. And this is what helped us to start focusing our vision.
About a year ago we dubbed the new series “Pragmatic Life” and began signing and working with authors. Two of the books are in final review and another two are close behind so we wanted to start talking to you about what we’re trying to do.
We have the same goals for the “Pragmatic Life” series that we do for our “Pragmatic Bookshelf” series. They should make your life better. They will be told by authors who respect you and want to take you on a journey. They’ll be books that we want to read too.
Dave and Andy have been through this before, but this is the first time I’ve been involved in launching a new series. I’ll blog a bit here about everything that happens from the time we sign a book to the time we take it to market. I look forward to your feedback. As with everything we do, this is an Agile enterprise and you get to help steer.
Thank you and Happy New Year,
Pragmatic Life, Series Editor
This post originally appeared on the Pragmatic Life blog.