This is one of the harder reads I had. The topic and content are great. However it seems, I’m allergic to the way it is delivered. It took me 3 attempts over two years to finish the book.
The book highlights the importance of acknowledging our emotional side at work. I like that it recommends defining your values and enforcing them through hard conversations.
I recommend this book if you can finish it. If it's also hard to swallow, try an audiobook.
I was worried that I’m not critical enough when I’m rating books as I usually give high ratings to books I read. I’m glad to know that’s not the case. This book is terrible. It’s the worst I’ve seen in a while. I enjoy Simon’s inspirational speeches and I’m fully on board with the importance of “why” topic. And yet when combined the book has nothing to offer. The reasoning is flawed and the ideas are very repetitive. It is not inspirational, nor practical, nor insightful.
That's a pretty interesting book about debunking the status quo. I generally agree with the author that the “lies” as the status quo make little sense. However, I’m not fully sold yet that the “truths” is the right solution. I felt the arguments were very weak at times. Also, the author gives weird definitions to the problems so later he can present his solution, which are only relevant in such setup.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the argument as it got me thinking. The book is easy to read. I would recommend it if you want to challenge your beliefs with the new facts.
Wow, just wow. I love this book. It's amazingly touching and absorbing. I started reading it, but soon realised it's perfect for audiobook. The chapters are so well written and delivered, it got me to tears multiple times. This book is like a good friendship or movie series, you connect with the characters like they are your best friends. After it's over it makes you sad you can't follow them any more.
Extra shout-out to Brittany Pressley who narrated the audiobook. She did an amazing job conveying different characters and their emotions.
I highly recommend this book to everybody.
I listened to this audiobook and I should say it would be better to read it instead. The book is very well structured. The author provides a good breakdown of how to connect with people when communicatating.
The book doesn't offer anything groundbreaking: be valuable to others, puts others' interestes first, be interesting, be inspiring, speak clearly, be authentic. I feel the advice is too generic and theoretical. I might read it in the future though.
I loved this book. It's straight to the point. Chapters where the author is referring to other books do not repeat them, but reference the source instead.
The book's title is very accurate, it's a guide on how to build a company. It covers a bit of everything: co-founders, the team, personal habits, decision making, leadership, culture, tooling, collaboration, meetings, fundraising, recruiting, sales. My favourite chapters are decision-making, meetings and recruiting. I will be revising them later.
While the book is tailored for the CEOs, I would recommend it to a wider audience as it offers good advice to be an effective company. The chapters are clearly labeled and you probably can skip "Fundraising" as it won't be as useful to you.
I read Non-Violent Communication book a few years ago. I liked it but already forgot a decent chunk of it. Recently I discovered a workshop on the same topic.
I was dreading watching it as it's 3 hours long. However after the first 30 minutes I couldn't stop watching it. It's amazing! It's very insightful and practical. I highly recommend watching it to everybody. If you like it, then you can read the book and get more details.
Very useful book. I love books that are written by professionals and based on their practical experience. Such books rarely give you hypothetical models which authors dreamed about. However, they always give practical advices that worked for them. Another similar book is Defining Decade.
The book gives 22 communication techniques which could be used in conflict situations or when logical reasoning failed.
Like any good book based on experience, this book has plenty of stories to better explain the point. I can't wait to read another book by the author Just Listen.
I recomend this book to everybody.
The book gives an overview of what developers' career might look like when they move to management. The book has a good structure and easy to follow. I like how the author highlights challenges of each career level.
For example many developers see CTO position as their careers goal (I did myself). However the majority would resent it when they understand what it includes.
The book could benefit from deeper and wider research. It feels author's experience was the main source for the book. I wish the book was more comprehensive and included more roles.
I would recommend this book to all software developers at all levels to better understand their career path. In addition, the book should teach to spot and help bad manager they will encounter at work.
I had a very hard time following this book. It consists of many ideas from different areas and times. There are plenty of valuable insights, but a bit of glue and transitions would be nice. Right now it feels like a collection of author's notes.
I'm giving it 2 stars because I didn't get much out of it. What I've got at the surface is a common sense and I couldn't find a way deeper.
This is a masterpiece. This book has everything I'm looking for in a book: great research, interesting insights, clear book structure, smooth flow, just enough examples to prove the point, and finally the book is tested by time.
What's the book about? It's exactly said in the title "When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail". I have nothing else to add, it delivers on the promise.
While the research talks about huge businesses, I think it’s still important to understand what’s going on at the large scale.
Three thoughts related to the book:
Recently Apple released and switched to M1 chips on laptops. It was perfectly timed to the letter as the book suggested 23 years ago. You don’t know what I mean? Have a read and you’ll know too. ;)
Boring. But let's start with good parts. I like how the second book looks at The Phoenix Project from another perspective. There can't be a more seamless way to connect the books. While the first book was about devops, the second is about developers. I enjoyed the part at the end when they were monitoring and fixing bugs in production. The chapter had a good pace and holds suspension to the end.
Unfortunately the second book is polluted with unnecessary details. Feels like the author wanted to show off how many cool words he knows.
The only educational part, Five Ideals, are almost forgotten as soon as they are introduced. The main character already knows it. While the story itself serves as their demonstration, ideals are detached from the reader.
The story line is turned into extremes. The main character is flawless god-like creature, while others are the most incompetent people in the world.
My favourite funny moment is when developers decided to use new technology, which they never used before. Without any experience the decision was to use it straight in production while burning bridges to the previous implementation. Unfortunately such reckless behaviour is delivered like a hero moment. It's like a surgeon decides to transplant the heart on a live patient without any experience or knowledge. 🤦♀️
In summary the book has great intentions but they are poorly delivered. Skip this book, it's not worth your time.
The book offers a short and entertaining story about the new CEO. It's almost identical to The Phoenix Project book in composition and story line. The story walks through the 4 guides for the organisation leadership. It's an easy read and you can finish it in a couple of hours, so I would recommend it on this basis.
I enjoyed Chess not checkers. I wish it was longer with more lessons in it, so there is more to enjoy.
Barefoot Investor recommended this book. It is written by John Bogle who founded Vanguard Mutual Fund Group. If you don't know, Vanguard is the largest provider of mutual funds and the second-largest provider of exchange-traded funds in the world.
I found the book very dry to read, however, it has plenty of research data. The book requires a good understanding of different investment schemes to fully appreciate it. Unfortunately I could only grasp the core message: invest in index funds. They provide the best diversification and with lowest fees it's almost impossible to beat them.
That's only applicable to long term investments though. By following the mentioned advice, it should put you above the majority with minimum cost and effort. I agree with Barefoot Investor, this book is a must read for all stocks investors.
In the short run the stock market is a voting machine . . . (but) in the long run it is a weighing machine. -- Ben Graham
When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one. -- Occam’s Razor
Common sense tells us that performance comes and goes, but costs go on forever.
"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” Stick to the good plan.
The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions.
This book gives good introduction to management. It gives exposure to the few concepts and frameworks. While it's very short and narrow, it's enough so you can continue learning by researching the mentioned references.
Looks like the book is primarily based on Lara's experience with a sprinkle of research. The advices she gives are very specific and practical. I wish the book included more details about stages of group development. While Lara used it as a thread that connects all chapters, but it definitely could have a stronger presence.
The strongest chapter is about growing your teammates through mentoring, coaching, sponsoring and feedback. I found it very insightful and valuable.
Considering how under-skilled the managers I've met in my career, I think the book is a good fit for the majority. I'm yet to see a comprehensive management book, so I would recommend Resilient Management to at least junior to mid managers.
Great book! Good structure, practical content, easy to read. The book offers a systematic approach to dealing with habits and not relying on will power.
This book is a simple description how fairly successful consultancy company called Menlo works. The book is obviously promoting their process and culture, but it’s not encouraging you to follow it. That makes it smooth to read and allows you to make your own conclusion.
Menlo is a consultancy and not a product company. That defines their culture and processes. Looks like a lot of processes were solidified when the company was founded in 2000s. Nothing wrong with that, it just feels dated at times.
Below are my highlights and comments
This is short (2 hours) motivational book. It’s written in an engaging style. The main idea if you want results you should do the work.
The author encourages to distance yourself from your own bad habits and lack of discipline. I think that’s an interesting idea which might yield better results.
This book feels like more like a summary essay of the author’s previous book "The War of Art". I haven’t read it yet, but even the foreword makes it very clear.
Below are my highlights.
This is one of the iconic book of its time. Apparently it had a great influence. The book was republished in 1995 and author decided not to change much. Big mistake. The book has two type of content: very relevant and ridiculously outdated.
Unfortunately I run out of patience of sorting those two and I didn’t finish the book. I would not recommend this book.
The key message that you should not estimate software work in man hours because they don’t scale linearly. The communication and management overheads grow with the team size. Adding people to already late project will only delay it as there are onboarding costs.
Below are my highlights.
I wish I’ve read this book in my twenties. The book explains what’s going on with the brain of 20 years old person and how that affects their life viewed from the psychologist perspective. Now I’m in my thirties I can’t agree more because most of those lessons I had to learn myself.
Below are my highlights.
Great by choice is a book about research that answers the question: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?
The book is based on research, has many examples and very engaging. It serves all of that with amazing structure including handy chapter summaries.
It is a bit too detailed to my liking in some places.
Below are my favourite highlights
Update: I read some criticism of Jim’s research and there are some very strong points. While his research methods might be good (there are enough criticism about it as well) the issue lies in a small pool of companies. Statistically it’s very easy to get false positive when you have only 20 companies to look at.
The book includes the short analysis of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google along with future prediction. It was an interesting listen but I didn’t make any notes.
Hah! I listened to this book a long time ago but seems like I didn’t blog back then. Luckly I decided to listen to it again.
I think it’s safe to call this book classic. It’s very popular and highly rated, while was written 30 years ago. It has great story, good character development and all of that is interweaved with life lessons. On top of that is fairly short, so I highly recommend it.
This book gives a good introduction to ecomony basics. It quickly touches on a lot of concepts so don’t expect to get a good introduction. The author prioritises cool slang over explanation simplicity. This book is very entertaining indeed, but having the basic knowledge myself I found it had to follow.
Overall this book is a good introduction into new way of working. It compiles a lot practices into place. It doesn’t go in depth but it shows you the direction you can explore yourself.
The key idea is to rethink how we interact and do work. It gives a new framework to think about the change. The book starts with establishing the ground work and introducing the new concept of Organisation debt.
Today I stumbled upon an interesting topic of culture in Spotify. Henrik Kniberg is main person who provided the insights to it.
It's all started in 2012 when Henrik wrote about it in Scaling Agile @ Spotify with Tribes, Squads, Chapters & Guilds. The organisation grew and changed since then, but I think it's valuable to see how the organisation evolved.
Such a strong content and great delivery backed by successful company grew the popularity like a wild fire. There is an interesting post about the wrong adoption of the ideas. See There Is No Spotify Model for Scaling Agile
I'm very excited about Rough Consensus. Democracy is built around the majority. It works great when all voters are at the same high level of expertise. Unfortunately that can't be further away from reality. For example in voting: "Don't let ignorant people vote".
In practice nobody knows everything, so we should respect our differences. The core idea of Consensus: the lack of disagreement is more important than agreement. The focus on the flaws helps to drive the discussion and share the knowledge of the minority to the rest of the group. It's a way to pick the best option, and not the popular option.
I highly recommend to read the original paper: On Consensus and Humming in the IETF. It explains how to do it and the mistakes to avoid.
I like this book because it's practical. I also hate it in places because it feels like the book couldn't qualify as a best seller without completely unnecessary chapters. The book can be very useful if you can finish it.
First of all few words about the author. It's hard to respect Brendon when he is proud that he wrote a book in 1 month (not this book). Author who seeks success while openly claiming that good research is unnecessary. You will see that while reading it. Few chapters are written around author's personal stories and claims based on it. So yeah, who needs research?
The best part the book is very well structured and easy to follow. The content is weak in places, but there is nothing that conflicts with my personal experience, so it's easy for me to accept it even with weak arguments.
The book presents 6 habits and 3 common mistakes/traps.
Everybody heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I was curious to know more about it than what's in wikipedia so I read the original paper called "Theory of Human Motivation".
To remind you, the paper was written in 1943 and it's one of the best reads I've done. Modern books prioritise the high words count. The paper is opposite of that. It is very concise and full of references.
To my surprise only the first half of the paper talks about five levels. There are so much more to it! The second half argues that the hierarchy is not rigid. It was never meant to fit everybody and be 100% accurate. I think that's a very important part that got lost in the process of over-simplification to a single image of a triangle.
It was pleasing to see the author arguing both sides of the argument. The paper mentions the limitations of the proposed model, exceptions and areas for the further research.
This is extremely dense book. It wins extra points for being concise. You can read it in hour or two. There is also audiobook read by the author.
I still can't make my mind about Derek. It's either he is genius and hiding it very well. Or he is the most naive and luckiest man. Either way read the book, it's worth it.
One thing really surprised me. Derek talks about completely different attitude of running a business. Every single business I know is there for one reason — money. You might think that's the best way to run the business. Sure, but it's definitely a survivorship bias. Money focused business might live longer but it's like a walking dead — it ruins the scenery.
It's rare to find customer focused business. Everybody says they focus on their customers. Yeah right, as long as their business is growing. Are your customers really interested in your business growth? I don't think so. They are interested in a great service/product. In fact larger companies tend to have worse service than their small competitors.
The author's mindset is similar to Basecamp. Focus on customers. You are not going to need it. Adjust as you go. No funding.
I like his "HELL YEAH! or no" principle. I saw it many years ago and it got stuck with me for all that time.
Delegate or die: Answer the question and explain the thought process and philosophy behind the answer.
Trust, but verify: Remember it when delegating. You have to do both.
A real person, a lot like you: Technology depersonalises humans, but there are people on the other end, remember that.
Quote from Steve Blank: No plan survives first contact with customers.
You should feel pain. If you do you will always know what to improve.
If you like the book I would recommend to follow Derek's blog.
This is a great technical story. I find it hard to explain my daily job to a non technical person. This book is the best example I've seen which closely resembles what the tech work is like. It's not the perfect match but the closest I've seen by far.
The story's realism keeps holding your attention till the end. The book is well paced and full of management lessons. Few highlights which I enjoyed:
"Free puppy" analogy. When what you think is free ends up costing you a lot over the years. I find people tend to favour short term thinking unfortunately.
Management of key resources and bottle necks at production factories and office jobs.
The book brings attentions to 4 types of work in tech teams:
And my final observation, just like in real life, managers in the book don't have formal management education.
The book focuses on the management aspect of work. I would recommend this book to experienced tech people, because they will appreciate it more. If you are outside of tech and want to get a glimpse into the daily lives of tech management jobs have a look as well.
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Shortly after I finished Inspired book Shape Up book came to my radar. After reading this book the whole puzzle got together. The pieces:
This book serves well as a guide on how to use Basecamp. The closer your process is to this book, the more useful Basecamp will be for you.
It’s important to note that Basecamp is a cash-cow. The quality of the development process is not necessary affects its success. Read the book with a grain of salt.
Their process is also Dual Track. The first stage is exploration and the second is development. However unlike in Inspired, it’s not clear if they ever do user testing. The book is very practical and it’s easy to see that it evolved over time.
I find Shape Up process very reactive as they discourage having backlog. I agree with the principle that important ideas will always come back, so you don’t need to record them. However they went to the extreme to reinvent the road map every 2 months. Basecamp doesn’t feel like a product but a playground for its founders.
I think the book will gain popularity because it’s short and free. It would serve as a good introduction to dual track processes. I will recommended it on this basis to others.
My friend is a big fan of Marty Cagan. He is so impressed by his work that it made me think I’m missing out, so I’ve decided to read it. Inspired is a book for product managers about product managers by product managers.
Let’s start with important things first. I loved it. My career is a decade old and I was surprised how little I knew about product development. This book taught me a lot. What product managers are, what they are not, what they do, how to hire and how to work with them. It’s probably the most comprehensive book on a single topic.
The mind blowing discovery for my was at the end. The author is highlighting through the book about the difference between normal agile coach and the one who worked in product team. It’s only at the end of the book he explains the difference. Scrum as the most popular agile methodology is created in consulting (custom software in the book). It works amazingly well in such setup and it is completely unsuitable for product teams. I knew it myself deep inside, but verbalising it made it real. I like agile manifesto. With that the new knowledge 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto opened up from a completely new perspective.
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
It’s great for consultants, pointless for product teams.
The process the author proposes is something between waterfall and agile. In short you don’t develop anything until you’ve proven the prototype and business model. I was very skeptical at the start but finally got convinced that it is a good process to use. The book does not give it a name, but people call it Dual Track Development.
On the first track you explore ideas, come up with prototypes and test them on users. The idea is to keep the feedback loop tight and iterate on ideas. On this track all roles must be involved, including developers. That avoid the problem with waterfall model where levels don’t communicate.
The second track is usual development process. That could be Scrum, Kanban or chaos driven development.
Both tracks run in parallel, but with different cycles.
If you test an idea and it fails, you just scrap it and move to the next. The BIG difference to plain agile you don’t pollute your code base with bad ideas. Also when you start development you already have well designed, tested and proven feature. No more assumptions and no more pivoting.
Even though the book is mostly for product managers, I found it very useful, so would recommend it to everybody who is in software development.
This is a second time I listened this book. It wasn't a standard audiobook, but audio theatre with multiple voices and sound effects.
I enjoyed it like the first time, but also picked up the bits that I missed before. That allowed me to enjoy the book even more.
I better understood the characters and the love narrative. My original critic is only partially relevant now. Turns out I didn't get it the first time.
This time I spent more time researching the Objectivism, which is the main philosophy in the book. I found that hard to navigate and differentiate philosophical terms. It's like learning chemical elements without periodic table. Would be great to get some framework for different philosophies.
I love the title of this book, it can't be said better. The book was release in 1987 and had its third edition in 2013. The content is still relevant to this day, but sometimes it feels dated.
This is a great book, but I'd say hold off from reading it until you get into managing people. Then this book becomes invaluable resource. It describes the work dynamics from the social perspective and even touches on a big topic like happiness in life.
The book confirmed and cleared a lot of my observations. My three highlights:
Software quality is a cult. Not striving for the best is the common mistakes most companies do. It's not just cutting corners but has an enormous psychological consequences. One of them is job satisfaction. By pushing dev speed over quality you rip the most important part for developers, to be proud of the craft. You might say the speed to market is the king. Sure, but don't be surprised when developers resign.
Hidden hiring costs. It's not so hidden, just ignored. Based on my estimates it costs 50k to hire new candidate. The average employment duration is 2 years. It means you pay 25k per year per hire. It's ironic when company wants to save 5k and not to match the salary offer of the resigning employee. People overvalue simple numbers and ignore more complex ones. The short story, value your people while you have them, otherwise you will pay for it. Even if you spend 20k in perks per employee per year, you should celebrate your decision. It made your employee happier and you saved 5k.
I also enjoyed the chapter on introducing change to organisations. I was burnt in the past when I wanted to improve things. I leant the lesson: people really hate to change. The chapter shows a technique to ease the transformation. Each change needs a catalyst. You need to show and convince the people that the status quo is wrong. The catalyst should create the chaos, the bigger — the better. Only after the people are scared enough you can introduce your idea as a solution to the chaos.
The book sounds too good to be true, but I like the reasoning. I wish it had more to back it up, to build my confidence in the content. But as mentioned above, this book is highly recommended.
I'm pretty good with money (at least I'd like to think that). However I lack a lot of common knowledge about Australian rules. For example how super works or what happens when your bank goes bankrupt. This book is mostly relevant to only Australians, as financial system differs in each country.
The book present a simple step by step guide on how to take your financial life under control. Starting from the bottom of owning a lot of debt up to getting the financial independence. This book is recent which is important as the content is time relevant.
The books proves a good general knowledge and a must read for all Australians.
Great book! It talks about tribe (group of people) culture. It's mostly described in the context of work organizations. The book is inline with my own experience. I saw it as the explanation of the things I didn't see at the time.
The content is very well structured and to the point. It has a good balance between stories and actionable steps.
You can download free audiobook. You'll need to go through 5 pages to get the file, but it's worth it.
If you've achieved competence in your career, this book is a must read for you.
I will read the book the second time to better understand it. One audiobook wasn't enough to fully appreciate the insights.
I do not recommend this book. The book brags about success stories. If at least one employee heard of OKRs, the author would claim the company's success solely to OKRs. This book takes survivorship bias to the extreme. What this book does not talk is how the mentioned companies, including OKR mother-ship Google, constantly fail. You might assume those teams didn't implement OKRs correctly. However the book does not tell you the correct way and you have to figure out it for yourself.
Without that, it's a pigeon superstition:
However I would recommend the resources at the end of the book.
Don't get me wrong, the topic of goal setting and uniting teams is very important. OKR is a fancy word for the goal setting and it creates more confusion. Without understanding of OKR implementation details it's too easy to fall into cargo culting.
It's a weak book. The author's style of writing doesn't help either. The continuity breaks, thoughts jump and the lack of structure make it hard to build the understanding.
There are few good quotes and thoughts, but unless you are into group psychology, don't waste your time. The only reason to read this book is for completeness on the topic and to see the different perspectives.