How did we write TPOSANA? We ignored people.

Hugh MacLeod's new book Ignore Everbody (and 39 other keys to creativity) reminds me of something that helped Christine and I write the first edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration: we picked the right people to ignore.

We ignored the conventional wisdom of the day that "soft skills" was unimportant or uninteresting, we ignored the people that said senior sysadmins know this stuff already and junior sysadmins don't care, we ignored people that said that "most of what you propose to write about can't be put into words", and we ignored one particularly vehement person who felt that system administration is dead and all that matters is web-based apps.

It was a leap of faith to ignore these people since in many cases it was just a gut feeling that they were incorrect. In hindsight we know that soft skills wasn't being talked about meant that there was a huge market void seeking to be filled. Junior sysadmins bought the book because they wanted to become senior. Senior sysadmins bought the book in bulk to give to their more junior co-workers (At a book signing I was handed a stack of 20 books and a list of 20 names; an IT manager at MIT wanted everyone in his group to have a personalized autograph copy).  It was a struggle to put some concepts into words, but very satisfying when we did. And that thing about web-apps? Well, someone has to maintain those web servers.

Some people got together and created a 3-minute video summary of Huge's book.  They aren't connected to the book, they didn't ask permission, they just did it because they were inspired. How cool is that?

Check it out.

P.S.  Also check out his blog, Gaping Void especially if you like awesome cartoons written on the back of business cards that express awesome and terrible truths.


Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

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