Learn to Code, Learn to Think

I recently had a tweet that’s caused a bit of comment, and I wanted to expand on the point.

I’m a huge fan of the movement to teach people, especially kids, to code.

When you learn to code, you’re learning to think precisely and analytically about a quirky world. It doesn’t really matter which particular technology you learn, as long as you are learning to solve the underlying logical problems. If a student becomes a professional engineer, their programming ability will rise above the details of the language, anyway. And if they don’t, they will have learned to reason logically, a skill that’s invaluable no matter what they end up doing.

That you can apparently complete a three month Ruby bootcamp and get a job today is an artifact of a bizarre employment market, and likely unsustainable. But by dedicating three months to learning to think in a logical framework, you’ll also gain an ability that will open opportunities for you for the rest of your life.

What do you read that changes the way you think?

A friend asked me which of three startup business books she should read. Obama’s reading list since entering office has nothing surprising on it.

The most valuable books I read this year have been stories of things very different from what I spend most of my time thinking about.

One of my favorites was China Meiville’s The City & The City, which I loved for the ambition and artistry, and another was Simon Winchester’s The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, which I loved for the descriptions of creating an analog, scalable information system.

What have you read recently that was really great?

Edit: Thanks for the recommendations! There are also a bunch over on Google Plus.