Before I read this brilliantly accessible book by the author of Smarter Than You Think, coding was something of a foggy concept to me. But as Thompson makes abundantly clear, we all need to get to grips with code and those who create it, because we now live in a world constructed of it. From the early coders, including Ava Lovelace, and other female programmers hitherto written out of the story, to Kentucky coal miners and modern crypto-hackers, there are strings of engaging insights into the anthropology of computer programmers.
Nevertheless, this is, for the moment, a handy guide to the coding culture. Millions more of us will be coding in the future — there is, apparently, a world shortage of coders — and, with luck, we will not make the mistakes documented by Thompson. Perhaps Ada’s progeny, the women, who are now moving back into the business, will put it right.