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89. Mitch Resnick

MIT Media Lab

As director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group, Mitch Resnick launched the easy-to-use programming language called Scratch to take the intimidation out of coding. "It's nothing like the brackets and semicolons of traditional programming," he says. Graphical blocks are dragged and snapped together to control animated characters, letting kids around the world create interactive stories, games, and animations.



Was there a book that changed how you see?

When I was making my career transition in 1982, I read three books. Two of them were Mind Storms by Seymour Papert, a new vision of how computers could be used, and Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. That led me to think about computing in new ways—shifting away from a functional, operational view to how the ideas inherent in a new way of learning, expressing, and thinking about ourselves. Finally, I read the book for the intro to computer science course for MIT. I never took a computer science course in college, because then it was a thing you just learned on your own. But there were deep intellectual ideas behind it!

I had a lot of time to read in those days. Today I'm so busy. I always worry: What am I not reading?

In my office, I have the creative things that kids have made for me over the years. The nice thing about the physical side of life is that I can have them on my shelf.