PragProg 2.0

I’m back at the Pragmatic Bookshelf, and I need some help to freshen things up.


September 19, 2023

Seven years ago, I announced that I’d be stepping away from the Pragmatic Bookshelf to spend some time playing. I quoted Steve Jobs:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Steve Jobs

And play I did. I learned a bunch of new languages, experimented with new techniques and technologies, refined my thinking about learning and software development, and tried really hard to get two pieces of wood to join with no gaps.

Gerbil Mirror This year, looking in the mirror each morning, I started realizing that there was something I wanted to do more than just play. I wanted to get back involved; I wanted to reclaim the feeling we had when we first started building the Bookshelf, when everything was possible (and most of it seemed unlikely to work).

It turns out that, having stepped back himself a few years ago, Andy was ready to leave altogether, so I stepped in.

What I found was a well oiled machine; an amazing team who worked well, and worked well together. My first priority was to avoid screwing that up.

It’s also clear that some things just haven’t stood the test of time. We have a website that probably looked fresh in 2004; now it’s little more than a fairly tedious catalog. We’re producing great community content on Devtalk and Medium that deserve a much bigger audience. We’re still producing the best programming books, but I can’t help feeling that we could also deliver this great content in other ways, too.

On the production side, we’re still using a toolchain that is basically unchanged since I left. It produces great looking books, but technology has moved on, and so should we.

One thing I learned in my time away is that I need other people. So, I’m asking for your help. Please, tell me what The Pragmatic Bookshelf can do to improve your life: as a developer, as a content creator, and as a human. And, most importantly, should we bring the gerbils back?

There are several options if you want to get in touch. You can email me at [email protected]. You can enter comments in the form below. Or you can chat with me directly by booking a slot online.

I am really excited to see what we can come up with together.