In order to satisfy entire humanity’s need for power (electrical, oil, etc.. everything!)  at this moment we would need solar plant that covers the area of 600,000 km2, which would produce the needed 15 TW of power, at the cost of $73.5 trillion USD.


This book really is a concise guide to finding the best technical talent. Spolsky takes the hard line that you should only be hiring great developers. A lot of his advice can be used to hire other technical talent and talent in general, but since his company Fog Creek Software is an engineering company all of his examples are derived from experience with hiring engineers.

Key Takeaway #1

The process of hiring great technical talent is an elimination course. Eliminating one obstacle doubles the amount of people you can hire and all of these obstacles are the recruiters problem, even if they are not his fault. It does not matter if the recruiter is an employee or CEO.

Key Takeaway #2

The real goal for software companies should be converting capital into software that works.

Key Takeaway #3

Software can be duplicated for free. The cost of programmers is spread out over all the copies of software you are selling. Hiring great programmers is a lot less expensive than the value they will bring in. Mediocre programmers will never produce something as good as what great programmers can produce, no matter how long they work.

Key Takeaway #4

Brook's Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Key Takeaway #5

You can go through thousands of job applications and resumes and not see one great developer, since they are almost never on the market.

Key Takeaway #6

There are 3 ways to get great developers: think about where the people that you want to hire are and hang out, internships and workshops for talented college students and building a community.

Key Takeaway #7

Employee referrals can be good hires but creating a hiring pipeline through employee referrals with cash bonuses can be a disaster as it can create lobbies inside the company. These lobbies will undermine both the hiring process and the company itself.

Key Takeaway #8

Private offices have higher status than open space and are more productive for software development. (I don't quite agree, but that is what Spolsky says).

Key Takeaway #9

Programmers have a very well-honed sense of justice and dislike office politics. Nothing is more satisfying than winning an argument on technical merits when you should have lost it on political merits.

Key Takeaway #10

You should let the top recruits pick their own projects.

Key Takeaway #11

If you start hearing complaints about salaries that probably means that people aren't really loving their job.

Key Takeaway #12

Don't look for experience with particular technologies.

Key Takeaway #13

Phone interviews save you time and are more fair. This is because you are more concentrated on what the person is saying, but passing a phone interview should not be enough to get hired.

Key Takeaway #14

Treat all your potential recruits like Samurai. Respect is very important during the recruitment process.


This book is a must read for anyone that wants to hire people that will work on creative jobs, technical or not, but almost all examples are for software companies that build software products. You will not find much practical advice for hiring staff for you non-IT company IT department. I am giving it a score of 90 out of 100.