Episode#48 – Just For Fun

Just for Fun

by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond


The book in one sentence

Follow your passion without the distraction of money and fame.


My personal opinion

Definitely another book which belongs to my never-ending Top 20 list! The story is super entertaining and funny since Linus Torvalds is pretty straight forward with his opinion and honest about his past. His ironic character and dry humour made me laugh several times!

One thing which makes the book outstanding for me (and I will relate to this as well in the recommendation section): Linus Torvalds followed his passion without getting distracted from social expectations. He started with computers and the whole operating system thing because he was by his heart interested in it and not because he saw an opportunity to earn a lot of money or anything like this. Even later, after Linux took off and got more and more attention, he was strongly aligned with his ethical standpoint which guided his decisions.

No human is free from failures or weaknesses. But all in all I think Linus Torvalds has an inspiring life, which is worth a look!


To whom I would recommend this book

For sure, this is a good-read for all IT fans. If you want to know more about the history of Linux from Linus Torvalds point of view than from a technological standpoint you will find a very entertaining book.

On the other hand, “Just for Fun” is a great motivator if you already found your passion but because of making less money by following it or any other social-influenced factors you are not committed yet. In this book you will get the inspiration to follow your passion and to do in life what you like to do rather than what the society expects. So go for it!


What I learned from this book

  • There are three progress-oriented stages: 1) survival, 2) social and 3) entertainment.
  • Do not care too much about how others perceive your problems. Most of the time they care about their own problems much more than they care about yours. So, no reason to spend too much thought about how they might think about your appearance or anything.
  • Look for a field or profession which motivates you based on your curiosity rather than because you want to get rich and famous.
  • “I did learn fairly early that the best and most effective way to lead is by letting people do things because they want to do them, not because you want them to. The best leaders also know when they are wrong, and are capable of pulling themselves out. And the best leaders enable others to make decisions for them.”
  • “[…] accept the fact that some people are not morally all there.”
  • “A lot of people believe in working long days and doing double, triple, or even quadruple shifts. I’m not one of them. […] In fact, if you want to know the honest truth, I’m a firm believer in sleep. Some people think that’s just being lazy, but I want to throw my pillow at them. I have a perfectly good excuse, and I’m standing by it: You may lose a few hours of your productive daytime if you sleep, oh, say, ten hours a day, but those few hours when you are awake you’re alert, and your brain functions on all six cylinders. Or four, or whatever.”
  • Stay strong with your ethical standpoint. Even if a lot of money is involved. …just do the right thing.
  • Selecting the right management style depends on the type of motivation (e.g. intrinsic or extrinsic) of your team members.
  • The three golden rules of Linus Torvalds: 1) Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. 2) Be proud of what you do. 3) And have fun doing it.
  • “The way to survive and flourish is to make the best damn product you can. And if you can’t survive and flourish that, then you shouldn’t. […] Success is about quality and about giving folks what they want.”
  • “What really matters when you talk about the future of technology is what people want. Once you’ve figured that out, the only remaining question is how quickly you can mass-produce the thing and make it cheap enough that people can get it without sacrificing anything else they want. Nothing else matters. A small digression is in order here. What really sells, of course, is perception, not reality […]”
  • “One of the least understood pieces of the open source puzzle is how so many good programmers would deign to work for absolutely no money. A word about motivation is in order. In a society where survival is more or less assured, money is not the greatest of motivators. It’s been well established that folks do their best work when they are driven by a passion. When they are having fun. This is as true for playwrights and sculptors and entrepreneurs as it is for software engineers. The open source model gives people the opportunity to live their passion. To have fun. And to work with the world’s best programmers, not the few who happen to be employed by their company. Open source developers strive to earn the esteem of their peers. That’s got to be highly motivating.”
  • Not technology drives our society, it is the opposite: the society drives technology.


Want to read this book?

Check it out on Amazon.com – Just for Fun by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond



Thanks to the publisher for printing such a great book!