Transitioning to Tech: A Reading List
20 key resources I used to prepare for a career-switch from the military to tech.
Earlier this year I left the Army to join Facebook. As I prepared for the career switch, I read a lot. Along the way I kept track of the resources I found most helpful. This is that list.
Since joining Facebook, I’ve found myself sharing this list with friends new to tech in search of suggestions for books, articles, and online resources. I hope it’s helpful to you, and I hope you’ll share it with others in transition. Enjoy!
On Building & Shipping Software Products
- Shipping Greatness. If you only read one book about how to build and ship software, it should probably be this one
- Business Model Generation & Value Proposition Design introduce a helpful tool and an approach for thinking about tech companies and products.
- The Mythical Man-Month is book about the joy and craft of programming, and how teams build software.
- High Output Management covers best-practices and tactics for personal and people management in tech.
- The Lean Startup is a really popular 101 on the fundamentals of starting a startup.
On Companies & Culture
- Three books that do a good job profiling Facebook, Amazon, and Google: The Facebook Effect, The Everything Store, & How Google Works.
- Work Rules, by Google’s head of People Ops, is a great primer on HR in tech.
- Netflix Culture: Freedom and Responsibility is a well-known and highly regarded slideshow about how Netflix operates.
On Psychology, Influence, & Communicating
- Thinking Fast & Slow is just a great book about bias and decision-making with daily applications.
- Influence by Cialdini is an important book, the principles of which are especially important in tech. See also Boz’s post: Influence Over Authority.
- Resonate, on presentation best-practices.
- Paul Graham’s essays are essential and often cited, especially these three: Do Things that Don’t Scale, Startup = Growth, and Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.
- Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager is an essay about what “right” looks like for product leaders.
- How to Start a Startup is a Podcast Series of lectures delivered by Sam Altman and Y Combinator at Stanford. There are 20 episodes, and each is outstanding. The first three by Sam Altman & Paul Graham are especially great and worth listening to multiple times, as is Alex Schultz’s talk about Growth, and Kevin Hale’s about Building Products Users Love.
Reading Lists to Bookmark
- YC Startup Class’s Recommend Readings is the list to accompany the ‘How to Start a Startup’ course above.
- This Master List of Growth Resources is a treasure trove of more books and resources, assembled by a former growth leader at FB & Snapchat.
- This Reading List by Josh Kaufman is well organized and has a lot of breadth intended to replicate some of the readings in a business school curriculum.
I hope this is helpful! Feel free to let me know what’s missing so I can check it out (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks Tommy & Anthony for pointing me to many of these, and Josh for nudging me to make this post.