Summary of The Mythical Man-Month

Essays on Software Engineering

First Edition: 1975 more...

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The Mythical Man-Month book summary
Classic collection of philosophy and practicality on software and planning: part manual, part Zen Koan, all enlightening.


9 Overall

7 Importance

10 Innovation

9 Style


This book is a classic for a reason. Every essay by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. addresses software engineering and proves invaluable for those interested in the history and processes of that field. getAbstract also recommends Brooks’ book to anyone who plans or organizes major projects. The collection remains timely due to the clarity of his thought and the educated loveliness of his prose. When Brooks is writing about programming, he’s never just writing about programming. He's writing about the complexities of life, and about how best to plan, organize and communicate the concepts you need to overcome those complexities. This 20th-anniversary edition contains new essays in which Brooks reflects on his earlier writing – especially his principles and predications – and responds to his critics. The result showcases a singular, markedly honest mind at work.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What software engineering entails,
  • Why the principles of organization and communication involved are universal, and
  • How you can apply these principles to your own complex projects.


The Pleasures and Challenges of Programming
Why do people enjoy programming? They like making things, especially useful things. They savor the complexity of it all, and the learning that comes with it. They appreciate the joy of “working in such a tractable medium.” Like poets, programmers...
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About the Author

Frederick P. Brooks Jr. is the author of The Design of Design and other works. He won the Association for Computing Machinery’s A. M. Turing Award in 1999.

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