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A Book of Friday Philosophies? February 18, 2016

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, Private Life, publications, writing.
Tags: ,

It has been suggested to me by a friend (not a publisher!) that I should do a book of my “Friday Philosophy” posts. I’m not sure. I’d like to know what people think.

If you read my blog but “Friday Philosophy” has somehow passed you by (how could they, most of my posts now are Friday Philosophies!) they are usually posted at the end of the week and deal with the non-technical side of working in IT. They are my thoughts and experiences on management, development paradigms, things that seem to still be wrong after 2 generations of programmers have painfully learnt the same lessons. Some have nothing to do with IT. The occasional one is about my life. Nearly all have an element of humour in them (even if it is only when I am laughing at myself and my own stupidity).

I’ve never really meant them to be more than a bit of light relief for people to read at the end of the week, but also to make people think.

A few older posts that have stood the test of time (ie people still occasionally look at them) are:

Oracle Performance Silver Bullets
CABs – An Expensive Way to Get Nowhere
Do Good DBAs Need PL/SQL Skills?
The Small Issue of Planes, Trains and Coaches
The worst Thing About Contracting
The Worst Person In IT I Have Ever Met
The Best Person in IT I Have Ever Met

The person suggesting I make them into a book says there is simply nothing else like them out there – Books on IT are about, well, IT. Books on management are about making you a better manager and tend to be very earnest about it. My Friday Philosophies sit in a wilderness between the two, a bit of fun but thought provoking (so I am told).

The thing is, I am not sure there is a market for it. After all, if you have never heard of me (and close to 7 billion people have not) why would you buy a book by me about opinions on the IT industry? If you know me you can just search my blog for “Friday Philosophy” and read them all. As far as traffic to my blog is concerned, with a few exceptions, they are one-shot pieces. Friday Philosophies tend to get a bigger immediate hit than technical posts but within a week most of them are hardly looked at again. Several of the technical ones get a steady trickle of hits that far outweighs their initial popularity. I know that people search for specific technical terms and not “opinionated view of smart phones” and that has an impact, but even so…

In theory it should be a lot less painful than the living hell of writing (only a part!) of a technical book. I have a lot of material, I can review & tweak them, add some new ones, wrap the lot up into areas. It should only take a week… A month… Maybe 2 or 3 months.

Also, I would not be looking to make any money on this. As in, even less then the very little you get per hour’s effort for doing a traditional book. I doubt a professional publisher would be interested in it, due to the lack of an obvious audience. But maybe a self-published tomb for a few pounds/dollars?

What does anyone think? A thunderous silence will tell me what I need to know….

It does not help that I am not sure how to pluralise “Friday Philosophy”.



1. brendantierney - February 18, 2016

Go for it

2. Dave Thieke - February 18, 2016

I think a Friday Philosophy book is a Great Idea , Martin. I’ve enjoyed these posts, so I would be interested in the book as well. Good luck !

3. Neil Chandler - February 18, 2016

Probably a good idea. It hints a little at Scott Adams – but is that a bad thing? He kind-of did OK

And you need to re-write the “best bloke in IT” one of course… ahem. Or perhaps add a “jaded hack” one 🙂

4. Auditor Sue - February 18, 2016

NOOOOOOOO . I can’t take the stress of you book writing … And it would take time away from castle building

5. Dom Brooks - February 18, 2016

I wouldn’t buy it… 🙂

mwidlake - February 18, 2016

I knew I could trust you Dom.

I’ve not seen you at a LOB for a while, I’m missing the direct abuse 🙂

Peter Scott - February 18, 2016

Next LOB I’ll seek a day pass to London. I am planning abuse right now!

6. richard harrison - February 18, 2016

Hi Martin,
As much as i hate to say it I’m not sure books work any more (in an IT context anyway – there is still place for other books…). I used to buy loads of books – i have a cabinet full and i really read all of them cover to cover. I find these days that i just look up everything on line or just teach myself – maybe this is just the stage of my career that I’m at but from experience with other people i get that general impression.

At UKOUG this year oracle press didnt ever bother to show up which kind of hints at the direction it’s going.

Your posts work well in the blog format and regularly make me smile even if i normally don’t bother to comment anything – so definitely keep that up.

If you do go ahead with any sort of book i’d recommend bringing your humour into it and don’t just write another dry technical book – bring some personality into it.

And as for pluralising (however the hell you spell that) – good luck with that – i wouldn’t know where to start either


mwidlake - February 18, 2016

Thanks Richard, I really liked that response. Don’t hate at all what you say, it’s good.

I personally do think technical books still work, for those who want depth to a topic. If I want to know about an area of Oracle, I look at the manuals, I google and look at sites (especially those I have grown to respect) – but I also look at my collection of paper-based, in-your-hand books. As people put more effort into books. There is more meat in Jonathan’s Oracle Core than in his blog posts (not that the blog posts lack much). I know, the latest generation do not and (like all dinosaurs) I wonder if this is the right direction.

But having said that, my FF’s {yeah, dyslexia} are not serious, not depth. They do not class as the sort of book I would personally buy for IT? – And yet I want to find and buy some books from my youth that are “Like That” by an author who wrote amusing, gentle stories about his life and his cats.

As I said in the post, I would not do this for any earnings. I would only do it if people would like to be able to get the set of posts, plus some more and, as you highlight, with more personality in there, as a unit.

The blog-based Friday Philosophies will continue until I feel I have nothing more to say or nothing left to laugh at myself over.

7. Rob van Wijk - February 19, 2016

Would be on top of my list to buy for a colleague leaving the project/customer site, next to the Oraclenerd t-shirt.

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