Summer Reading List: Top Recommendations from our Engineers

Summer’s here! (If you live in the northern hemisphere, of course). For some, it’s just another season. Yet for others, it’s time to vacation and catch up on some reading! So we asked our engineers what books they were into and their recommendations for your summer vacation reading list. Their interests are broad — from DevOps to creativity, with interesting detours into organizational culture and leadership.

Take a look and let us know which ones you would pick!

  1. Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations, Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

It is very likely that in a few years from now we’ll be looking back and referring to this recently published book as the turning point for the DevOps culture going mainstream. For a decade, people in the know have been successfully applying DevOps and lean practices to accelerate their software delivery. A lot of that was based on common sense, intuition, and empirical observation. This book changes that. Using real science, the authors establish beyond any shadow of a doubt that teams and organizations that adopt DevOps practices improve their performance exponentially. Make sure to grab one copy for you and another for your CEO/VP/Manager (that’s what I did!). You should probably hurry and do it now because your competitors are already reading it.

— Recommended by João Neto, Head of Product Quality and Acceleration

2. The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, Jon Gertner

Bell Labs was probably the most important scientific institution of the 20th century. Some of the inventions nurtured there are transistors, satellites, information theory, lasers, fiber optics, cell phones, Unix, and the C programming language. This book traces the origins of some of the 20th century’s most important inventions and explains why they were all developed in the same place by an unusual group of brilliant minds.

— Recommended by João Valentim, System Owner

3. A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps, Katrina Clokie

DevOps is currently one of the hottest topics in the IT industry. The book gives you an overview of the most advanced testing concepts adapted to this new DevOps reality. It is really helpful not only for people who are just getting started in this world, but also for those who already have some experience. It is a great starting point for understanding different types of testing problems, as well as providing insights into risk analysis in software development.

— Recommended by João Proença, Quality Owner

4. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister

I liked this book because it very clearly explains a series of challenges that knowledge workers face on a daily basis. It presents techniques for building good judgment, soft skills, empathy, and direct knowledge to help these people succeed. These challenges and solutions are pragmatic, and the book presents them as an alternative to bureaucracy, treating people as just another resource, lack of trust, and factors that compromise creativity, all of which can appear when a company is growing really fast.

— Recommended by Paulo Ribeiro, Lead Technical Writer

5. Rework, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

This was one of the first books on management that I read. And it was the first to speak about management lightheartedly. It speaks to the importance of inspiring and provoking change, how you should keep your convictions, and how experimenting and iterating are more important than taking a long time to decide something. I also liked the idea of talking to your clients like they’re your friends, honestly and conversationally.

— Recommended by José Caldeira, Head of Product Development

6. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Tony Hsieh

This is the story of a guy who founded a company and, throughout the years, had to adapt to the market. He had to change some of the most basic principles of the company’s business, and the company almost went bankrupt. But by adopting a strong company culture, he achieved amazing success. I see our company reflected in crucial parts of this story.

— Recommended by Dinis Carvalho, Senior Software Developer

7. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, Kim Scott

This is a book that’s fitting for people in a team leadership role. It provided me with new ways of giving more direct feedback without creating discomfort. It also goes through a series of action items to boost a team’s focus and motivation, which can be easily tried out with a few adjustments.

— Recommended by Ricardo Neto, Software Manager

8. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow teaches you about two systems in your brain constantly fighting over control, and the many ways in which this leads to errors in memory, judgment, and decisions. It’s about rational/conscious vs. the emotional/unconscious thought. At the end of the day, this book teaches you how to make better decisions about everything you do in your daily life.

— Recommended by Stoyan Garbatov, Product Owner

9. Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love, Marty Cagan

This book focuses not just on building products or building new products, but also building the right products. And it addresses the need for preparing teams to find those products. It’s a really inspiring book that provides different tools and techniques to challenge the way we think about creating products.

— Recommended by Gonçalo Veiga, Head of Product Experience

10. Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull, and Amy Wallace

This is a must-read. It’s an inspiring book with so many lessons. It teaches us about innovation and how to nurture a creative culture. The lessons are easily applied to a tech company, specifically to areas that are pushing the boundaries and doing disruptive research. These are areas where sharing and participation are essential, and you want to create unique, groundbreaking work.

— Recommended by António Alegria, Head of Artificial Intelligence

11. Threat Modeling: Designing for Security, Adam Shostack

This definitive guide for threat modeling is practical and detailed at the same time, describing ways to change the way you design software with security in mind — and teaching readers how to do it. It is the basis for how we are changing the way we address security in the OutSystems software development lifecycle.

— Recommended by Rui Covelo, Security System Owner

Happy reading!