As the sprints stops - Summer reads for lazy days away from the keyboard


Picture by Presley Roozenburg

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 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 strongly suggest you to read this summer.

The Culture Code: The secrets of highly succesful groups (2018)

by Daniel Coyle

Picture by rawpixel
Do I belong here?
Do we have a future together?

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.

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.

Purchase on Amazon

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps and helping your business win (2013)

by Gene Kim

Picture by Benjamin Child

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 on the IT department becomes 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.

Purchase on Amazon.com

Orbiting the giant hairball: A corporate fools guide to surviving with grace (1998)

by Gordon MacKenzie

Picture by Kinga Cichewicz

Gordon MacKenzie, for those of you who dont know, is a water colorist who has a long history working for Hallmark Cards.

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 that I still re-read 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.

Purchase on Amazon.com

Clean Code (2008)

by Robert C Martin

Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

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 Robert 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.

Purchase on Amazon.com

(Note that the links provided to amazon are affiliate links, so in case you don’t find that OK — feel free to google them yourself. By using them however, you support me by enabling me to buy more books. Thanks :-))