I confess, besides being a comic buff I’m also an avid reader of business and tech literature. Usually, my summer routine consists of piling up on books, novels, and comics that I never get around reading during the more hectic part of the year.
I strongly believe that this habit is a huge factor as to why I steadily feel like I keep growing as a professional, leader and knowledge worker while avoiding the feeling of plateauing. With that said, here are four books that I’d strongly suggest that you’d read this summer.
The Culture Code: The secrets of highly successful groups (2018), by Daniel Coyle
What is it that makes a group successful? In this book, the writer explores qualities besides skill or intelligence that have proven to be key in building lasting, strong and successful teams and organizations.
Do I belong here?
Do we have a future together?
This book is a great read both from a business and a behavioral psychology perspective. The examples are many and varied and range from kindergartners to highly successful, widely known, organizations and teams.
The Phoenix Project (2013), by Gene Kim et al.
This book is, as the title implies, a fictional novel. We follow Bill, the director of midrange operations, as he — after some extensive persuasion from the company CEO — takes on the role of VP of IT Operations.
The company, Parts Unlimited, is just closing in on a deadline for the greatly anticipated high-risk project: Project Phoenix. In a hectic, dysfunctional and silo-based environment, Bill and his colleagues in the IT department become responsible for making sure the launch becomes the much-needed success the company needs.
By following Bills journey we get introduced to a lot of common organizational problems, the reasoning behind the decisions that led up to them and suggestions on how to go about solving them.
The Phoenix Project is a great description of why DevOps isn’t a technology problem and why it’s crucial to a company’s success.
Orbiting the giant hairball (1998), by Gordon MacKenzie
One morning, ten years ago, when I was feeling particularly tired of the bureaucratic nature of the large organization I worked for back then, my dear friend Anders Jangbrand left this book on my desk and told me to read it.
Since then it’s been one of my favorite books, and I still re-read it from time to time just to remind myself that it’s possible to find a balance between playing by the rules of a large corporation, maintaining creative freedom and fighting harmful corporate culture and normalcy.
Clean Code (2008), by Robert C Martin
It amazes me that so many programmers that I come across have yet to read this book. If I were to recommend one single book that every programmer should read, it would probably be this one. While being a shorter read than both The pragmatic programmer (1999) and Code Complete (2004) — which both are great books (You should read them too!) — Robert still manages to go through most key concepts presented in these books as well.
While not being a book centered regarding a specific programming language or solution, it’s a great read for both junior and senior developers.
In the book, Martin goes through what, in his mind, makes up readable, maintainable and testable code. It’s a great mixture of well-grounded argumentation for why his proposed style, in most cases, would be preferable and practical refactoring examples on how to get rid of code smell. Key concepts like keeping function and class sizes down, function arguments to a minimum and making sure the code is refactored to read like a novel really resonates with me.