Here’s a loooong list of things that inspire me. Books, links on the web, concepts, people. The list tends on growing. Let’s see where this leads to.
Table Of Contents
The intelligent investor
by Benjamin Graham (updated and commentary by Jason Zweig)
THE holy grail written in the 1930s. If you want to invest money - for sure. But also of utter relevance if you own a company. It gives you a feeling what a “financial bubble” means and how it affects you. And that a stock market bubble is really a normal thing and has been there many times before. Benjamin tells us that companies have values and that values are the important thing - not the stock price or anything obscure. The comments of Jason make the book even more readable and lift the content to the 21st century.
How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur’s Guide
by Dan S. Kennedy
Dan wrote a timeless classic. A must read.
The four hour work week
by Timothy Ferriss
Also a must read. My advice: Make sure you read Dan’s book before. The funny thing is: Both authors talk about the same concepts. But Dan makes millions by working hard while. Timothy earns a living by working almost nothing.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber
Explains why McDonald’s is cool, and how you can apply the very same principles to your company.
The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building
by Matt Mochary
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell
by Eric Schmidt , Jonathan Rosenberg
How Google works
by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
In my opinion “Negotiating” is one of the most important skills in life. States negotiate about peace, People negotiate about price, companies negotiate about a takeovers. Negotiations are everywhere. So I guess everybody should have a basic understanding how the game is played.
Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator
by Roger Dawson
A practical book about negotiating. Roger’s style is sometimes a bit hard and rude - but - well - you have to know the tactics.
Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People
by G. Richard Shell
The book is a bit more scientific than Roger’s Power Negotiating.
Getting Past No
by William Ury
Getting past a deadlocked situation is really important. William focuses on that.
Leadership / Teams / Psychology
Well. The holy grail. As a single person we will never accomplish big things. Big things are always done by teams. Or teams of teams. And teams consist of humans (normally). And humans are difficult sometimes.
It’s an extremely good practice to write down how your company operations. Many companies are open sourcing their handbooks - and they are a great inspiration
- Valve - a classic and must-read. It might have been the first inspirational company handbook.
- Gitlab’s handbook
- Mattermost’s handbook
There’s also an awesome list at github about the topic: https://github.com/hkdobrev/awesome-handbooks
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box
by Arbinger Institute und William Dufris
Our perception of other people is biased. Biased by what we expect. This expectation horizon is called “The Box”. And this book is all about that phenomenon - and about ways to realize when we are in a box.
Software engineering leadership books
The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change
by Camille Fournier
A must read for everyone that is interested in management of a tech company. It has many tips and tricks on how to run teams, manage managers and lead on VP / CTO level.
Software Engineering at Google
Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom DeMarco
An elegant puzzle
by Will Larson
A must-read for anyone working on tech. Especially good content if you want to scale organizations and grow as a leader.
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
The guide how to set up teams, projects and even offices for knowledge workers.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
The first ever published self-help book from 1937. The book has a funny title, but the concepts are really important. It is however not about cheating people. It is simply a guide for people that like the idea of cooperative leadership.
The magic of thinking big
by David J. Schwartz
Important topic. Think big and have big plans. This is what enables us to know where to go and what to do (aka project planning).
by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais
At some point in your career you will have to reorganize your IT department. For growing companies this will happen quite fast. Matthew and Manuel wrote the first book on how to structure your department (to my knowledge).
The four core topologies are: Stream aligned team, Enabling team, Complicated subsystem team, platform team.
Accelerate: The Science Behind Devops: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations
by Ph.D. Forsgren, Nicole, Jez Humble , et al.
Getting Things Done. The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen
A timeless classic. The basic thing is: Write your tasks down and get them out of your head. Review them time by time and adjust them against bigger goals. Great reading.
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
by Scott Berkun, Mary Treseler, und Robert Romano
A well written book about project management in software industry. A timeless classic.
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less
by Richard Koch
Not easy to grasp. But the world is not in an equilibrium. It is unbalanced. And all processes are unbalanced, too. Often you get correlations such as: 20% of the products of a company yield 80% of the earnings. And that 80/20 principle is called the Pareto principle. Richard Koch introduces the principle and introduces how you might be able to exploit the principle to grow and analyse your company More about the principle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
Demand-Side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress
by Bob Moesta and Greg Engle
by Jason Fried
by Jason Fried and Daniel Heinemeier Hansson
INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group)
by Marty Kagan
EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products (Silicon Valley Product Group)
by Marty Kagan
Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug
Strong Product People: A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers
by Petra Wille
How Google Tests Software
by James A. Whittaker
The most inspiring book about testing. Combine that with the Google Testing Blog and you are ready to go.
- Google enforces a 60% test coverage.
- Google also uses a testing pyramid with 4 slices: small, medium, large and enormous tests.
- … but there is so much cool content in the book that I really recommend reading it.
by Joshua Bloch
A long time ago this book taught me a lot of lesson on how to write good code. It is in my opinion still the best book about good code. It is very much focused on Java (JVM) topics but I think any programmer can get good takeaways.
Designing data intensive applications
by Martin Kleppmann
The book is a good high level primer about different types of system architectures. If you are working in tech for some time it won’t give you any new insights. I still found it useful as a refresher.
Move fast - How facebook builds software
by Jeff Meyerson
Jeff describes the journey of Facebook. From a totally chaotic small company to a company with thousands of engineers and stable processes.
- Facebook did use zero tests for a long time. But that failed from a certain company size onwards. Now they are using tests.
- Engineers are welcome to switch teams frequently.
- Facebook uses feature toggles a lot. This is especially important for iOS Apps as the review process always takes two weeks.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William Zinsser
No matter if you are writing a proposal for a new microservice architecture, a RFC or OpenApi documentation for an API endpoint - writing well is a key asset to every engineer. Practice and become good at it.
The book really helps to understand what makes texts easy to digest for readers. Highly recommended.