Ben Collins-Sussman

Ben Collins-Sussman

programmer, composer, banjo player, radio ham, interactive fiction author, photographer, dad

  • @sussman
  • + Ben Collins-Sussman

Chicago, Illinois

Ben Collins-Sussman is one of the founding developers of the Subversion version control system, co-authored O'Reilly's "Version Control with Subversion" book as well as chapters for "Unix in a Nutshell" and "Linux in a Nutshell." Ben co-founded Google's engineering office in Chicago, ported Subversion to Google's Bigtable platform, led Google Code's Project Hosting team, and now manages the engineering team for the Google Affiliate Network. Ben collects hobbies which tend to explore the tension between art and science. He has given numerous talks about the social challenges of software development. He writes interactive fiction games and tools, and was the co-winner of the 15th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. He has co-authored several original musicals and received multiple awards for musical theater composition. He has an Extra-class FCC license for amateur radio, and also spends time learning DSLR photography and playing bluegrass banjo. Ben is a proud native of Chicago, and holds Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago with a major in Mathematics and minor in Linguistics. He still lives in Chicago with his wife, kids, and cats.

Debugging Teams Debugging Teams
by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick
October 2015
Print: $29.99
Ebook: $25.99

Team Geek Team Geek
by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick
July 2012

Version Control with Subversion Version Control with Subversion
by C. Michael Pilato, Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick
Second Edition September 2008
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $31.99

Version Control with Subversion Version Control with Subversion
by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick, C. Michael Pilato
June 2004
Ebook: $27.99

"This book with its stories from the trenches, excellent cartoons and illustrations and derived wisdom is not just platitudes about collaboration and mutual respect, but a set of well-earned observations about the variety of human efforts where "debugged" participation by team members with a mix of skills must mesh to be successful. Highly recommended for all technical and product oriented Team Efforts."
--Ira Laefsky,

"There are lots of things to like about this particular book. Its content is practical and full of useful insights, It is the right length (less than 200 pages); it consists of just six chapters; and it has been written in an easy to digest style, thus making it a quick read."
--Tony Stevenson, Left-Brain Bookstore

"While it may not be a "sexy" read in terms of learning a new coding trick or hardware setting, Team Geek may be the one read that keeps you sane and happy over the life of your career. This is a book that I'd strongly recommended."
--Thomas Duff, Duffbert's Random Musings

"Team Geek is well written with effective cartoon illustrations. My advice is for every working team to buy several."
--Charles Heisterkamp,

"This is *the* book on software development human issues (of which there are too few) that I will recommend to any software engineer. The reasons are simple: it's short, it covers a lot of ground, it's solid advice, and it's highly readable. This book is an easy way to spread sensible defaults to software engineers that just want to get up to speed quickly, and then anxiously go back to creating great software. I'm sure that if every engineer practiced its teachings, the world would be a noticably better place. "
--Fred Jonsson,

"If you want to succeed in the software development universe, this book gives you all the tools you need to handle the social aspects of the environment. Knowing your algorithms and sharpening your programming chops gives you the potential to be a good engineer - tacking on the people skills you will learn in this book can make you a great one."
--Shaun Lippy,

"Bottom line, this is a short, enjoyable read. I feel like I received valuable lessons that I can apply to my life and career. "
--Eric Chou,

"Team Geek is a great read, and a practical one at that. It's also an opportunity to help refine your startup's story, pitches to the media, and the brand's voice you are trying to acheive in your collective evolution. Make Team Geek a group read."
--Alan Weinkrantz,

"I’d recommend this book to any developer, which wants to progress in their career and move up the ladder but know what may come up during your journey. Knowing you’re not alone, and others have the same issues you encounter makes things seem so much better."
--Big Mad Kev,

"A solid, useful handbook that can help you become a better, more productive team player and, if necessary or if you desire, also help you rise to the challenge of leading a software-development team."
--Si Dunn, Sagecreek Productions

"Get this book and read it."
--Lee Damon, Seattle Area System Administrators Guild Seattle

"I've been blogging Ben & Fitz's talks at conferences for years, because so few people address the social side of working with geeks. I'm excited to read the collective wisdom of their talks in one convenient book and not have to chase them around the country anymore."
--Robert Kaye

"Programming is no longer about code and machines, if it ever was. Increasingly, it's about fitting together existing pieces in new ways -- and each piece comes with people attached. The authors have understood this for years, and their message is as simple as their advice is varied: focus on the people as much as you focus on the code, and you will not only be a happier programmer, you will be the cause of happier programmers. It couldn't come at a better time!"
--Karl Fogel

"Team Geek is an insightful exploration of building successful teams and products, taken from years of tackling difficult developer pains and issues that we all experience in our careers. The jovial approach to overcoming both engineering and human issues on a technical team delivers an engaging foundation text that should be a staple of every engineer's library."
--Jonathan Leblanc

"The skill of writing software will help you stay employed but if you combine that with the ability to work well with others, and you can change the world. This book isn't just about how you can be a better programmer. It's about how to be awesome."
--Clay Johnson

"This book is a blueprint for building a healthy software development culture. It should be required reading for engineering managers, technical leaders, and even non-technical executives who need to understand how team dynamics affect retention of top engineering talent and the quality of software they produce."
--Bruce Johnson

"Team Geek is How to Win Friends and Influence People for programmers. It's full of clear and actionable advice on how to be more happy, productive and effective on your technical team. Excellent and needed."
--Adrian Holovaty

"This is a great book about the sociology of software development, with an emphasis on open source software and large corporations. the section on managing up and dealing with politics is essential reading for any new engineer in a corporate environment. I would recommend it to any engineer regardless of where he worked! This is the first book I’ve seen that covers office politics in an easily accessible fashion for engineers.The stories and anecdotes and practical tips on “How do you work with this difficult person?” are gold! You literally cannot buy this anywhere."
--Piaw Na

"Ben and Fitz come not to praise the myth of the lone programmer, but to bury it. They preside over its wake in a series of essays designed to teach right-brained engineers how to hack the most complex system they'll ever encounter: people in a group. Team Geek shows that the most humane software is made by the best-functioning human teams -- and how to achieve both."
--John Tolva

"Ben and Fitz say what I've been practicing but could never quite put in words."
--Guido van Rossum