My short review of Michael Lopp’s “Managing Humans”.

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager — Michael Lopp Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager — Michael Lopp

This book, by Michael Lopp1, is built of many small chapters, each about one specific point about the job of managing engineers – and, more specifically, developers.

Amongst the chapters constituting the first part of this book, you’ll read managers are not evil, you’ll see what to do when one of your colleagues doesn’t like your offsites, or find out that titles are toxic.

You’ll then read, in the second part of the book, more about the product you are working to build and the process that leads to it. Typically, you’ll read one needs to take time to think2, that hacking is important or how to deal with times of crisis.

The third and last part of the book contains 20 chapters that deal with more diverse subjects. For examples, you’ll read about the ninety-day interview, about managing nerds, how to deal with both free electrons, the old guard or even a reorganization. Other interesting chapters are about the phone screen (when recruiting), or your own resignation checklist (when leaving) – and did I say I love the title of chapter 32 “Bored people quit”?

55 I liked most of the chapters from this book, recognizing several situations I’ve been exposed to – or will probably encounter – during my career. It’s easy to read, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

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If you’re looking for books about management and developers, you will probably also want to take a look at my review of “The Manager’s Path”, by Camille Fournier. Compared to “Managing Humans”, “The Manager’s Path” is more structured towards one’s career progression from individual contributor to technical lead or manager – and both are interesting to read.


  1. It’s only while reading the first pages of this book that I realized Michael Lopp blogs at “Rands in Repose” – which I’ve been reading for quite some time now! [return]
  2. You can read more about taking time to think in the book “Slack”, by Tom DeMarco. [return]