Lifestyle Design

The Zen Programmer by Christian Grobmeier


Did you know that I am a programmer?  Yep, I have that pretty piece of paper that says “Programmer Analyst/Internet Solutions Developer”  Today, I am a Holistic Life and Stress Management Coach.  Big change right… with big reasons.  I have totally stressed, totally burned out from working too many hours with well very little reward.  So when Christian asked if I would read his book the answer was easy, “hell yes!”

For me Buddhism was one of the first areas that I looked for that “enlightenment”  and even today it plays a very strong part in my life and business. (check out the zen symbol in my new logo)

The Book: The Zen Programmer

In The Zen Programmer, Christian speaks clearing and unabashedly about his turning point from stress and overwhelm to Zen calm.   He defines what Buddhism is and how you can add it into your everyday life.  You don’t have to give up everything and become a monk, you can just add a small practices into you life on a daily basis, this alone will create a huge change.   The book is written from the point of view of a programmer, but there are a lot of lessons that we can use as executives or as small business owners.

Christian speaks of “Zen Programmers“, people who are pragmatic, realistic and grounded, these people are always like this regardless of what the world turns at them.  The idea behind being a Zen Programmer is that you learn how to always be in that grounded calm state of mind.  This allows you to make better decisions and move through life with relative ease.

There is really a lot of great stuff in the book, I can’t possible tell you it all, but I want to talk a few minutes about “The Ten Rules of a Zen Programmer.”  So what are the rules?  Here is my interpretation:

  1. Focus – Always work on one task  and do it with excellence
  2. Keep Your Mind Clear – Stay in the present moment and don’t let yourself be distracted
  3. Beginner’s Mind – You always have more to learn
  4. No Ego – Leave the rockstar dreams behind, they will not get you far
  5. There is No Career Goal – Be happy now!
  6. Shut Up – generally people talk too much and don’t listen enough
  7. Mindfulness. Care. Awareness. – Everything you do, do it with heart and happiness
  8. There is No Boss – Only you have control of your life
  9. Do Something Else –  Balance your life and work
  10. There is Nothing Special – think beyond you


Can a programmer learn to include Zen into their lives? most definitely, just like an executive or a small business owner. As Christian says, “In the end, no book, no guru, no friend can change your life. You alone are responsible for this.”

Start small: take just ten minutes a day. Sit down in a chair of your choice where nobody disturbs you. Choose a nice place where you feel comfortable. Just sit there and do nothing. No emails. No phone. When thoughts come, let them pass. Don’t start to believe this time is for making plans. You will fail miserably at first. But the more often you do it, the better you become.

I would highly recommend for programmers and others, that you give Christian’s book a read and maybe even try just 10 minutes of quiet meditation!  You can pick it up Here:The Zen Programmer (affiliate link)


Who is Christian Grobmeier?

2014-06-17_2341Christian sold his first website back in 1998. Since then he worked as a web developer, a consultant, an architect, a manager, a tester, and much more. He has had many different customers: banks, tiny companies, and huge merchants. He has worked in open spaces together with eighty other people and alone in his home office. At a time when he worked seventy-five hours a week and could have become an actor in a Zombie movie without makeup, he started practicing Zen. Since then, the way he worked has changed significantly. He has learned to say “No” and can almost fall asleep when he is tired. He delivers better products and smiles more often. Today, Christian is building up his own company and provides freelancer services. In his free time, he practices Zen and studies Psychology at a German university. Visit him at or on the books website


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