These lists are everywhere, every blogger at some point puts up there list of “must read” because … because they’re important. Some of the best books I’ve read have been off people’s lists. When you look at a few dozen lists, you notice the same books over and over and over…and you realize, “I should read this book!”. If all these people I respect and follow are recommending it, it must be worth reading. So here’s my list, with commentary, hopefully containing some suggestions that you haven’t already read, and enjoy when you do.
- Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware
This book literally changed the way I think about my day. Lots of examples about how your mind works, tricks to help you let your mind solve problems for you in the background, and why. It generated a lot of interesting discussion at during our companies book club meeting.
- The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
- Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
A great book that changed how I write software. It really brought refactoring, and proper program structure to the front of my mind. Before reading this book, I didn’t realize how bad a programmer I really was. I got things done…but not as well as I could have.
- The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers
Along the same lines as Clean Code, but this book isn’t about writing code, it’s about how to be a professional in the workplace. How and when to say no. How to estimate, and when not to. It confirmed many of my practices, and caused me to understand better some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past.
- Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software
This was another great story, the author’s original intent, was to follow this company as they created a piece of softare and document how great people can write revolutionary software…however, that’s not quite what happened.
- Leaders eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
This book isn’t about tech at all, it’s about what makes a good leader, and why. It goes into a lot of detail about the chemicals in your brain, when they are released, their short and long term effects, and why we’ve evolved to have them. It generated a LOT of fantastic converstaion in our book club meetings.
- The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
If you’re interested in math, and statistics, you’ll enjoy this book. Great stories and examples helping to understand how randomness works. And some history about statistics, and how we generally misinterpret so much of what we see because we don’t understand how to properly calculate the probability of something happening. The math is also, very easy to follow, it’s not big complicated formulas.
This is probably my favourite book on the list, it describes a fictional company that has horrible internal practices, and one employees attempt to change that. It feels so real, and I can relate so much of the story to places I have worked. It offered some insights into how we can affect change for the better in the companies we work for.
Now for a couple books that have nothing to do with IT, they are just so great that you should read them. They should appeal to the same crowd as the above books, as everyone I know who has read them, has LOVED them.
- The Martian: A Novel
I read this book in the span of 24 hours, I started one evening, was done the next. It’s gripping. The first lines of the book are “I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.” It’s written as a journal, as a person keeps a log about being stranded on Mars. It’s about the struggle to stay alive after being left for dead when a sandstorm forces the rest of the crew to evacuate.
- Ready Player One: A Novel
If you grew up in the 80’s this is a must read. It’s page after page of 80’s movie, video game, and television references. Every paragraph takes you back to your childhood (or whenever you were alive in the 80s). And it’s all wrapped in a great story set in the real world in 2044 after a global energy crisis; and in a virtual world, the OASIS. Once I picked up this book, I could barely put it down, I think I’ve only read The Martian faster.
I hope you read or have read these books and enjoy them as much as I have. Let me know in the comments, if you have recommendations for further reading, I’d love to hear them! There’s so much out there it’s hard to find quality.
Have a great day!