Rich Hickey (the creator of Clojure) is consistent in delivering fantastic, thought-provoking talks. Personally, I consider the following required viewing for most, if not all programmers. If you’re not particularly interested in Clojure, I’d suggest watching these videos in reverse order. “Are We There Yet?” is still a very general talk despite some deep dives into Clojure. The rest of the talks are mostly devoid of Clojure-specific content.

  • Are We There Yet? – 2009 – Rich asks whether we’re being well-suited by object orientation as it is commonly embodied. This talk discusses a lot of the “why” behind Clojure’s design. The Alfred North Whitehead quotes alone make this talk worth viewing. If you’re writing Clojure, any Clojure at all, this talk is a must.
  • Hammock Driven Development – 2010 – If you’re feeling the need to choose only one talk from this list, this is the one you should watch. Rich provides an experience report of strategies he’s used personally for solving difficult problems. This talk is far more general in its scope than other talks. Highly recommended for technical and non-technical people alike.
  • Simple Made Easy – 2011 – Rich discusses the definitional difference between simplicity and ease. This talk received some mixed reactions given Rich’s criticisms of TDD as a method of design. I think “Design, Composition and Performance” makes it clearer why he feels that way. In any event, this talk is easily one of my favorite talks of 2011 and well worth the watch.
  • The Value of Values – 2012 – Rich compares place-oriented programming to programming with values. Thanks @purdanger for reminding me of this talk.
  • The Language of the System – 2012 – Rich explores the languages which emerge when we connect processes together.
  • Design, Composition and Performance – 2013 – Coltrane, Bartók, libraries that give you blisters, and more! Rich compares the instruments we use as programmers to the instruments players use in practice.

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