33 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me

This post is more than 18 months old. Since technology changes to rapidly, this content may be out of date (but that's not always the case). Please remember to verify any technical or programming information with the current release.

I’ve migrated the website 33thingsbook.com to this blog post.

A programmer’s guide to quality code, great work relationships and respect.

What’s This All About?

tldr; It’s a free advice eBook - because I want you to do better than I have done. Download the pdf or ePub.

What’s the Story Here?

After writing my first book on PHP Design Patterns, I was fine. Life goal accomplished. And then it happened - a Google Alert that mentioned my name and had a link to an author website.

This is embarrassing…

This is the truth.

The alert said “Aaron Saray, One-Time Author.”

I felt like it was a punch to the stomach. Maybe it was ego. It was definitely ego. But, I thought it sounded like I had tried and failed. “He was only able to write ONE book - pfft!” So, I decided I wanted to write another one.

Why This Topic?

My agent had a lot of opportunities for me. Introduction to programming books, technical editing, essays about project management. But none of them really felt like I would be doing something DIFFERENT than anyone else. Anyone can teach you how to program. I always thought I had a different take on the world. And, I’ve heard a lot of times that I frame things in a very understandable way - “for a programmer.”

So, I decided to do some self-reflection about my career. I made a presentation called 7 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me and started touring local and regional conferences. The information was well received - and even used as a keynote. I knew I had something. So, I wrote 33 Things.

So, Why Is This Free?

My agent didn’t think that she could sell the book - but she tried anyway. It didn’t work.

I looked for a new agent. No one would take me. I heard a lot of excuses (too busy, etc), and started talking directly with the publishers. I finally ran across one that gave me some good, solid feedback.

We don’t know how to market this book. And, you’re not famous, and this reads too much like a memoir.

I’ll give them that - I do use a lot of stories in my writing. So, I can see where you might think that. But, to think that only famous people have things worth teaching really perturbed me.

Finally, I went and talked with a friend who worked for a small publisher. They offered to publish the book with a favorable royalty split.

But that never happened. 13 months later I exercised my right to terminate the publisher rights contract.

See, I had written it, edited it, and actually peer-reviewed and copy-edited it with some professionals I know. It was ready to go. But 13 months later, I kept hearing the same story “Next month…”

You Didn’t Answer the Question!

I could have self-published the book I suppose. I could make some money that way. But, it occurred to me that people who I think would most benefit from this type of work - my advice - may not be able to afford to purchase the book.

So, in the spirit of my Open Source roots, here is a free, open-sourced book. I’ve spent literally YEARS on this. I’m proud - but my motivation is still simple and pure:

Please read the 33 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me - and learn, grow, and become a great programmer!

Download the pdf or ePub.

Return to All Posts

or use RSS