I read 13 “work related” books in 20221. They’re broken up by category below. I didn’t think any of these books were bad, but the ones I would recommend have a star next to them.
⭐ How To Decide by Annie Duke - Annie Duke takes her poker background and applies it to making decisions in other contexts – lots of practical decision making strategies here
⭐ The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef — somewhat similar ground to to “How You Decide”, but more of a focus on viewing the world objectively. I really enjoyed reading these 2 books together.
⭐ Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky — A nice book full of practical tips for managing your time and reclaiming control from distractions
⭐ The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky — The best description of what it’s like working in a “startup land” situation (either a real startup or high change/growth in a larger company) that I’ve read. Plenty of good practical wisdom as well
⭐ Escaping the Build Trap By Melissa Perri — This book lays out a great vision for what a healthy product organization looks like. As a non-product manager, I’ve found it mostly helpful for recognizing when things are going wrong and giving feedback.
⭐ Kill It With Fire by Marianne Bellotti — An engaging review of how to work with legacy systems (the title is ironic) with lots of real world examples and principles that apply even for newer systems.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries — This book is very well regarded and I don’t remember disagreeing with anything as I went through it about a year ago, but it left no impression on me. Possibly I’d already absorbed the main ideas through other sources?
The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey — A look at how to build trust in business and why its important
Rituals For Virtual Meetings by Kursat Ozenc and Glenn Fajardo — This was more of a workbook, with a ton of examples of possible “rituals” that you could implement during remote meetings. I in theory like this idea, in practice most of these felt too hokey for me to try – but if you’re willing to go full “icebreaker game” for your team meetings, this has good ideas.
The Culture Map by Erin Meyer — Another book that I read a year ago that I don’t feel I’ve retained very well — but the big idea was that business communication and practice varies wildly across cultures and its important to understand the background of the people you work with.
⭐ The Staff Engineer’s Path by Tanya Reilly — My most recently completed book, this was a great exploration of the “advanced IC” career path. I’ll have a longer review coming later, but this was my favorite work related book of the year.
Product Led Growth by Wes Bush — This was pretty specific to a work project, but a decent review of the business requirements for moving to a product led growth model rather than sales driven. Useful for folks who are bootstrapping a new SaaS business or trying to move to PLG.
Building For Everyone by Annie Jean-Baptiste — This is a high level overview of accessibility and inclusive design practices by a design leader at Google. I wanted to like this more than I did – a lot of the content here is about changing large organizations to institute more inclusive design practices, I had been hoping for more “local” things that I could learn to get better here.
One of my 2023 goals is to spend more time with fewer books, including taking deeper notes on some books that I’ve read in the past which had interesting ideas that I don’t feel I’ve retained well. In particular I want to revisit Scout Mindset and Escaping The Build Trap from this year and am already writing up notes for Staff Engineer’s path.
You can see non-work related books on my “non-tech” blog ↩︎