Reading List

Reading List



Title: Winning Inside: Was wir vom Spitzensport für unser Berufsleben lernen können
Author: Markus Hornig, Dr. Angela Kerek

Title: Der Osten: Eine westdeutsche Erfindung
Author: Prof. Dr. Dirk Oschmann

Title: Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track
Author: Will Larson


Title: Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered methodology for small teams
Author: Alistair Cockburn

Title: Leadership and self-deception
Author: The Arbinger Institute

Title: Turn the Ship around!
Author: Stephen R Covey

Title: Go in Action
Author: William Kennedy, Brian Ketelsen, Erik St. Martin

Title: Do it Scared
Author: Scott Allan


Title: The Way of Integrity: Finding the path to your true self
Author: Martha Beck

Title: The Manager's Path
Author: Camille Fournier

Title: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Author: Stephen R. Covey


Title: A Philosophy of Software Design
Author: John Ousterhout


Title: Rich Dad Poor Dad
Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Title: The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better
Author: Gretchen Rubin

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain

Title: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life
Author: Hal Elrod


Title: Talking with Tech Leads
Author: Patrick Kua
Comment: I admit that I had my doubts about the value of this book when I read its title. However, the current CTO of N26 did a good job of summarising his former experiences of being a tech lead and the experiences of other fresh and established tech leads in form of interviews.

I liked the differing focus of the interviewed tech leads depending on their teams. Overall, I was positively surprised that most tech leads suffer from the same insecurities after jumping into that role. They have difficulties to let go of writing code, they are insecure about how the team sees them, what they expect and how much guidance they need.

All of this is a learning process. You need to figure out over time what the team needs and how you can support them best. Even established tech leads need to figure this out when they join a new team.

Title: Rules for Your New Leadership Role
Author: Pam Fox Rollin
Comment: Although I think this book targets rather people leaders than technical leaders I found some good advice. I would have liked to have read this book before I got into a tech lead role.I covers quite a bit of topics that are important for you when you join a team as a leader. The book also gives you a roadmap of what you should look out for after you settled in your team and how to maintain a healthy leadership position.

Title: Mindset
Author: Dr. Carol Dweck
Comment: This book describes the differences of the fixed and growth mindset. And although I think those concepts are pretty hyped at the moment I found it interesting that there is quite a bit of research around it.

What I found even more surprising is the fact that I experienced a change in how I think towards the growth mindset in the last five to seven years. I saw a lot of parallels in what Dr. Dweck writes and how I have been feeling the last couple of years.

Nowadays, I am of the opinion that failure is nothing bad per se. It rather shows that you are trying something you are not good at yet. Nevertheless, you try it, fail and improve the more often you try. Failure is just part of the whole experience of learning. Everyone can potentially learn anything. It is just a matter of how much time and energy you are willing to put into it.

Title: Rework: Change the way you work forever
Author: Jason Fried , David Heinemeier Hansson
Comment: I must admit that I stopped reading this book further. It was just too fluffy and too connected to the company size and the way it is run. I just did not get enough practical advice that I could apply to the way I am working and to the current situation of my company.

Title: The Secrets of Happy Families
Author: Bruce Feiler
Comment: I liked how Bruce transferred agile practices into daily family life. I also liked to read about experiences he added from other families, showing their solution to problems that he would have solved differently.

This shows very nicely how each team needs to find their way. Agile does not prescribe a certain way of doing things. It gives you a toolbox. What you do with it is entirely in your responsibility.


Title: Eleven Rings
Author: Phil Jackson
Comment: Eleven Rings was a great read. Phil Jackson is the former coach of the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers. He describes his approach to coaching which he applied to different teams. This approach highly relies on a feeling of togetherness between the players. Using techniques like meditation he has been able to create a level of fellowship that makes championship teams.

Title: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
Author: Daniel Goleman
Comment: Reading this book was tough. It can be quite dense at times and I had a hard time to read more than 15 pages in one go. Goleman gives the biological background of focus and explains how we can practice to focus better. For me the end of the book was the most interesting as he touches the topic of successful leaders and how they were able to reach this level due to focussing.


Title: My Life and Work
Author: Henry Ford
Comment: I was quite surprised about the ideas of Ford and his ideal purpose of a business. For him a business only makes sense if it offers a service to people - making their lives and/or their work easier. Creating a business solely for the purpose of making money is not the way to go.

Ford also tried hard to create a working space for men with different abilities - mental and physical - giving them the possibility to care for their families. An additional surprising fact was Ford's drive to make processes and products better every day. This is what we try applying agile ideas. He also was open to improvements driven by the employees.

Title: The Dream Team Nightmare
Author: Portia Tung
Comment: Written in the style of a text book adventure this is a very cool introduction for beginners but also a refresher for experts into the world of agile and scrum. I highly recommend this one.

Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Comment: A fictional book about what could happen if you give one company the tools and the possibility to gather the worlds data and make every move public. The book is well written and describes an unthinkable life of a woman named Mae who start working at the Circle. She is confronted with information overload and the compulsion to share everything she does and think.

This book is a good read. However, occasionally it is repetitive and the story develops slowly. More than once I had the feeling that most of the characters are very naive.


Title: My Job Went to India: 52 Ways to Save Your Job
Author: Chad Fowler
Comment: This book is already kind of old considering the IT world that it was written for. Still, Chad gives some good advice on how to better market yourself and how to stay up-to-date.

However, while reading this book I asked myself how realistic it is to follow all of the 52 advices that Chad gives us. It sounds like a full time job. This might not be feasible for mummies and daddies. It also sounds not feasible if you have any other hobby besides coding and bringing forward your career. I think that it is more likely to pick some of the advices from the book instead of doing them all.

Title: The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
Author: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
Comment: An interesting and good to read novel that tells the story about a huge car parts and accessory company which goes all the way from stone-age processes in IT to agile.

Title: Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems
Author: Sam Newman
Comment: This book gives a great overview of the advantages, disadvantages and pitfalls when you want to adopt a microservices architecture. With a lot of experience Sam Newman goes through all levels of the tech stack and also does not miss to explain structural changes that are necessary for a company to be successful with microservices. All in all a good read, however, sometimes slightly repetitive.

Title: Eloquent Ruby
Author: Russ Olsen
Comment: A great book for every Ruby programmer that has the feeling that she/he is not there, yet. Many mechanism are explained that are sometimes not that obvious. For example, Russ details how modules and classes work behind the scenes and explains blocks and metaprogramming.

Title: Remote: Office not required
Author: Jason Fried
Comment: Inspiring book about how work can also be done successfully if employees do not meet in the same place everyday. The usual prejudice and drawbacks are addressed and alternative solutions are given.

Title: Growing Rails
Author: Henning Koch, Thomas Eisenbarth


Title: Working effectively with legacy code
Author: Michael E. Feathers
Comment: This book is pretty specific. It gives you a lot of hints and approaches for how to handle various kinds of legacy code. In my opinion it is not a book for “just” reading. It's more a reference if you have a problem at hand.

Title: Practices of an Agile Developer: Working in the Real World
Author: Venkat Subramaniam / Andy Hunt
Comments: This is a well written and structured book. It presents content in small pieces that can be read within a small period of time. Overall it gives a pretty good summary of what “agile” means and what can be done to be/work more agile.

I think it is a good introduction to the topic if you never heard of agile and Scrum before. Hence, for me it was a bit too basic and I got not that much new out of it. Finally, some best practices presented in the book are a bit outdated or in my opinion things that I already have been doing for a long time (e.g., version control systems, unit testing).

Title: Agiles Projektmanagement mit SCRUM
Author: Ken Schwaber

Title: Clean Code
Author: Robert C. Martin

Long ago

Title: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Author: E. Gamma, R. Helm, R. Johnson, J. Vlissides

Post image taken by Mark Colliton, published under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.