In The Expert Beginner, Dietrich traces the path of this programmer from rise to inevitable downfall. The author describes the development of the expert beginner’s mindset, explaining how one might believe in the achievement of total mastery while faced with evidence to the contrary. He then shows how, if put in a position of power, this person will poison entire software groups and create a culture of stagnation. Part commentary on technical groups and part sociological analysis/office taxonomy, The Expert Beginner tells a story. This story, as it turns out, is about more than just an individual programmer or software groups. It is about a tragedy writ large, coloring all aspects of our culture even beyond the world of computer science.