The Practicing Stoic, by Ward Farnsworth

Over the years I’ve read a number of different books on stoic philosophy, including some of the “modern Stoic influencers” like Ryan Holiday as well as a few translations of older philosophers like Marcus Aurelius. While I’d hardly call myself a follower of the philosophy, I do think it includes some helpful ideas, and it’s occasionally been a useful lens for dealing with some problem I’ve been dealing with.

I struggled with both sets of writing, however, for different reasons. The modern writers often made me roll my eyes, often clearly pitching at entrepreneurs and CEOs, and billing an ancient philosophy as a life hack. The work of the ancients, I found more interesting, but difficult to contextualize and navigate.

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Some thoughts after reading Vincenti’s “What Engineers Know and How They Know It”

A few weeks ago I watched Hillel Wayne’s recent talk “Are we really engineers?”, where he looked at the idea of whether software engineers get to call themselves “engineers” or not. (Spoiler: the answer is yes!)

During the Q&A, Wayne mentioned that while he had seen a lot of “philosophy of science”, there didn’t seem to be much “philosophy of engineering” out there. I remembered noticing the same thing, and on Twitter I asked for book recommendations on the topic. The always-reliable Lorin Hochstein obliged, and a week later I had some reading to do!

Just as a disclaimer: this post is very much in theme of “thinking out loud”, and got a little long. 🙂 This is mostly me discussing my experience of reading the book and some thoughts on software engineering I had after reading it. Very likely nothing here is at all original, and I am not an expert, but I wanted to get my ideas down in text after finishing the read. And having done so, I thought it might be worthwhile to share.

Ok, let’s dive in.

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