2 Stars


The Way of the Superior Man

by David Deida

This book was recommended by my friend who said it changed her life. The book offers few models of what men and women are, and what roles they should play in life and relationships. The author doesn't bother explaining or backing up any of it, so as a reader you can only take it at face value.

Author uses sexual language a lot. For example "penetrate" is used 31 times. The book is written in a beautiful metaphorical language which is open to different interpretations. I'm yet to understand what "penetrate the world" means.

Like a popular saying "All models are wrong, but some are useful", some of the book's models can be useful. Some definitely resonated with my experience. The problem is the offered models are on a high level. Think of them as symptoms. It's easy to observe the symptoms and think you understand a disease. However it's not. If you don't know what a bacteria is, you will think "bad spirits" are the cause.

I think advice like "men should do X" with a "just because" reason is dangerous even if it's correct. For each one valid model, there are ten invalid ones.

Overall it's an interesting read. I'd like this book to be rewritten with more substance.




Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

by Seth Godin

The audiobook is 3 hours long, which is relatively short, and yet I think it could be 30 minutes. The main idea of the book - (as a business) stand out from the crowd. Give people a reason to talk about you and as a result they'll do free marketing for you. That's it.

The book is a little inspirational. It has many examples and is easy to listen to.




Tools of Titans

by Tim Ferriss

This book is a compilation of interviews of famous people. Overall the book expanded my knowledge on a variety of topics. I like the small chapters and found it great for short read sessions.

The book is mostly an aggregation of raw answers and offers very little on top of that. If you are interested in interviews, I would recommend it in audiobook, as it's long and has low content density.




Team of Teams

by Stanley McChrystal

This book is highly rated and I can see why. It tells a great story from life experience. The story is engaging and exciting.

However if you want to get more than a story that's not a book for you. The book lacks research and analysis. The advice is delivered in the form: "it worked for us, so it must be great and you should do the same". While such experience is great to share, it carries little value because it's not transferable in the abstract form.




Dare to lead

by Brene Brown

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.




Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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.




The Unicorn Project

by Gene Kim

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 Mythical Man-Month

by Fred Brooks

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.




Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

by Seth Godin

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.