Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Book Recommendation: Soft Skills–The software developer’s life manual by Jon Sonmez

May 11, 2015 Leave a comment

I got interested in this book when I looked up Jon’s profile after watching a pluralsight course on Android Development Fundamentals.

Soft Skills - The Software developers's life manual

I got hooked by the table of contents and ordered it from Sapna Online (Amazon and Flipkart were not having this book then – I have never considered amazon India as option like amazon worldwide, But Flipkart – Is Flipkart loosing it? Common flipkart).

It is completely worth your time and money. I wish I had this book 10 years back. No other book covers the breadth of topics like Jon does.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Specifically I enjoyed Jon’s advice on Career options and investment. I was trying to correlate with what I had written about Career Path in my previous incarnation and in the recent past.

I used to refer  to a couple of titles before on this

But none of them are close to the breadth of topics Jon covers.

Not that I agree with Jon’s opinion on every topic, but then hey people are different. I will post about my thoughts on these topics soon. I will also post a detailed review / notes soon.

Highly recommended to every developer.

Interpretation of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Casey Horton posted a great interpretation of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Hippocratic Oath of Software Professionals

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment
From Emergent Design – The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development

  • We need something like the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. I do not expect my software to be perfect (ever), but I think it is reasonable to hold myself to the basic standard that every time I touch it, I will take care not to make it any worse.
  • We need to center ourselves on the notion that validating software (with those who will use it) is part of making the software.
  • We need to code in a style that allows us to follow this do no harm oath.

So, what is that style? … The book is about what in Scott’s view that style is.

Categories: Books


October 6, 2008 Leave a comment
I read this small anecdote from "Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving
Personal Mastery in Business and Life"
by Professor Srikumar S. Rao

He was the Lord of the Realm, dignified, and imbued with noble oblige. He would
have lunch at his club every day and then take a brisk constitutional. His
assistant would tag along and he would issue instructions as they walked. Much
business was usually accomplished.

He would pass a panhandler every day
at the same corner and would drop ten shillings into his hat, That was a goodly
sum those days, but the recipient showed no gratitude. He was rude, ungracious,
frequently inebriated. Sometime she was even vituperative.

One day, when
the tramp was even more disagreeable than usual, the assistant could not contain
himself. "Your Lordship, why do you continue to give money to such such an
undeserving hobo?" he queried.

"What would you do if were in my
position?" the Lord queried back.

"I would tell him what he could do with
himself said the assistant with feeling.

"There was a time when I did
that", assented the Load. "But then I realized, what I was doing. It is my
nature to help those not so fortunate as myself. When I brushed him off in anger
because of his surliness, I was letting him dictate how I would behave. And I
would not let a wine slotted, foul-mouthed, unwashed vagrant decide my

No no no, I am not there yet either. But we can be on the journey to that
place, become bullet-proof one day.
Categories: Books

(Re)Reading – Object Design Roles Responsibilities and Collaborations

September 24, 2008 Leave a comment
I am reading Object Design Roles Responsibilities and Collaborations again after 4 years. It is almost like reading a new book.
A section from the book:

"Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the
Artist Within
, argues that many so-called creative talents can be taught.
She poses this delightful thought experiment:

What does it take to teach a child to
read? What if we believed that only those fortunately endowed with inborn
creative ability could learn to read? What if teachers believed the best way to
instruct was to expose children to lots of materials, then wait to see who
possessed innate reading talent? Fear of stifling the creative reading process
would dampen any attempts to guide new readers. If a child asked how to read
something, a teacher might respond, "Try whatever you think works. Enjoy it,
explore, reading is fun!" Perhaps one or two in any class would possess that
rare talent and spontaneously learn to read. But of course, this is an absurd
belief! Reading can be taught. So too, can drawing.

Her book challenges our assumptions that drawing requires rare
and special "artistic" talent and that formal teaching of basic drawing skills
stifles creativity. Basic drawing techniques, like reading techniques, can be
taught. No wonder many of us can’t draw! Learning to draw is a matter of
learning basic perceptual skills—the special ways of seeing required for
accurate drawing.

Object design does not require rare and special "design"
talent. Although design is a highly creative activity, the fundamentals can be
easily learned.
You can become adept at object design with enough practice and
experience seeing the nature of the design problem and learning fundamental
strategies for producing an acceptable solution.

Categories: Books

Print quality of ASP.NET AJAX in action – from dreamtech press (Indian Edition)

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment
I bought Manning’s ‘ASP.NET AJAX in action’ – Published in India by dreamtech press yesterday.
The book costs 500 INR, the paper & print quality is pathetic.
It would be nice, Even if they price it a bit higher and provide better prints.
The other idea would be, they can provide paperback and hardbound / deluxe editions of the book.
The book contents are worth in gold, there’s no doubt about it.
But its a shame that some Publisher to earn a few bucks has wrecked havoc.

I wish Manning could find a better partner in India.
Categories: Books

Peopleware – Interim notes

June 9, 2008 1 comment

I am reading ‘Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams, Second Edition by Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister’. It is an enjoyable read. I will post the complete notes within a couple of days, once I finish the book. But I couldn’t resist posting a few notes / quotes or whatever you call it. It is an exciting read and I heartily recommend it for anyone who has worked in teams for a couple of years.

“…Workaholics – Workaholics eventually realize they have sacrificed a more important value (family, love, home, youth) for a less important value (work). Managers who exploit their workaholic employees eventually lose them. The key is to get ‘meaningful productivity…’ .

“…There ain’t No Such Thing as Overtime – There will usually be an hour of ‘undertime’ for every hour of overtime. There may be short term advantages but certainly no long term ones. Nobody can really sustain the intensity required for creative work more than 40 hours a week. Overtime is life sprinting, you have to slow down to catch your breath later, it doesn’t make sense in a marathon. The best workers just ignore managers who often request that they sprint…”

“….Reprise – People under time pressure don’t work better; they just work faster. In order to work faster, they may have to sacrifice the quality of the product and their own job satisfaction…”

“…Visual supervision is a joke for development workers. Visual Supervision is for prisoners…”

“… Parkinson’s Law almost certainly doesn’t apply to your people…”, “… Treating your workers as Parkinsonian doesn’t help. It can only demean and demotivate them…”

“… The structure of a team is a network, not a hierarchy. For all the deference paid to the concept of leadership (a cult word in our industry), it just doesn’t have much place here…”

Categories: Books

Agile leaders lead processes over people

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Now that I have caught your attention with a controversial topic, let me say that this post is actually a book review 🙂

A lot of the content is from Weinberg an not mine 🙂

Traditional vs Problem Solving Leaders

Traditional leaders
(who believe in the threat/reward model) tend to lead people. You may think
what’s wrong with this, that’s what is expected of a leader – leading people.
Leading people requires that  they
relinquish control over their lives. Should we as leaders do that, expect
people to relinquish control over their lives? Will we ourselves be happy if we
were meted out the same treatment.


So what should the
leaders do? Should they leave everything to chaos? No in this leadership model
(called organic leadership ) leaders lead the process. Why? Leading the process
is responsive to people, giving them choices and leaving them in control. So
agile leaders, since they value people and believe in developing them don’t
lead people. Instead they will lead the processes. We believe in People over
processes hence we need to lead the latter.


The problem of
helping others

Wanting to help
people may be a noble motive but that doesn’t make it any easier

If people don’t want
your help, you’ll never succeed in helping them, no matter how smart or
wonderful you are.

Effective help can
only start with mutual agreement on a clear definition of the problem.

Always check whether
they want you help

Even when people
agree that they want your help, that agreement is not usually a lifetime

People who want to
help other people generally expect to get something for themselves, though they
may not be aware of it.

Most people think
helpers are selfish, but also think there are exceptions to the rule.

No matter how
strange it may look, most people are actually trying to be helpful.


Tasks & People

  1. Do you put tasks before people?
  2. Do you put people before

  3. Balance people and the task
  4. Escape from the situation
  5. None of the above

I answered Yes to a.

But I read on…

Then I ran into this
question in the first paragraph of the chapter

A task must be
completed with certain results or by a certain time, or else something dire,
known only to you, will happen. If you require everybody to work overtime or do
anything necessary to complete the task you are putting task ahead of people.

And then I became
confused should I have answered b).

The next paragraph
answered the question and I was relieved

You may become an
individual success without ever having to face this dilemma. As an individual
achiever, you are the only person involved, so you necessarily balance the task
and your needs, though you may be unaware that you are doing so. In that case when
you start working with others, the conflict comes as a shock to you.



Leader who don’t
care about people don’t have anyone to lead, unless their followers don’t have
a choice.

No amount of caring
for people will hold your audience if you have nothing to offer but pretend you


Rarely I have read a
text where the author almost reads your mind.


If you stop by the
nearest bookshop and see a copy "Becoming a technical leader – An organic problem solving approach"  by Gerald
M Weinberg, try to browse through a topic of your interest in the book. You might
like it like I did :-).

Categories: Books

Book Recommendation: Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management

October 3, 2006 Leave a comment
I just finished "Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management" by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby
Its truly a wonderful read. You can probably finish it within a weeks time. Its more of a novel than a management book. A code junkie like me completed this within a week’s time! (I have never completed a management book before). What makes it more  interesting is the pragmatic way the the concepts are explained using the character Sam and how he does his day to day management job. Contrast this to the dry theory you find in other management texts. Its hardly 150 pages. It talks about
Management by Walking Around and Listening
Coaching and facilitation
Team building
Career development of your team.
Standing up to your team and managing your manager.
Giving effective feedback.
Handling performance issues, Get well plans
Project portfolio management and other management techniques.
Highly recommended.
PS: Thanks to Prakash for nudging me start reading it from my library 😉
Categories: Books

Shalimar the Clown

November 2, 2005 1 comment
A wonderful read.
Especially the whenever the plot is in Kashmir.
If you get a chance to pick it up, do give it a try.
Categories: Books