This is an interesting book, it is the collective wisdom of four dozen or so software architects, interestingly only two of them are women.
This is not a book about architectural methodology it quite literally provides 97 points that the contributors feel will make you a better architect. The contributors’ wisdom is delivered in neat bite size nuggets each with a snappy title like “Engineer in the White Space” and “Get the 1000 Foot View” and our favorite “The Business verses the Angry Architect”. Each little essay devotes one or two pages to a topic never going in for too much detail. But that shouldn’t put you off there’s plenty here, particularly for the novice. The range of topics covered is as you might expect for architecture extensive. There are tips on design, communications, method, project leadership, dealing with clients and even presentation skills. And there are more than a few thoughts on architecture as a profession. This is the sort of book you can pick and choose from, read a section here and another one there; all while you’re riding home on the bus.
In fact, if there is a criticism of this book; to be fair, I don’t know how one would avoid it, by its nature the book lacks cohesion. But as pointed out, this is not a methodology book, but it does exude a certain ethos that I fully endorse.
While the topics are only superficially explored; which in itself might not be considered a good example of architectural thinking this doesn’t detract from the books usefulness. It’s principally a light weight thought provoker, if it makes you consider how you practice architecture then it’s repaid the investment.
This is not the book to start your library with, but it should be an early addition. I’d recommend this book to novice architects to add a little color to their reading and suggest that’s probably worthy of a place on most bookshelves. Definitely a thumbs up.
Monson-Haefel, Richard. (2009), 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know, O’Reilly, Sebastopol.