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Madalitso Nyemba
Madalitso Nyemba

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2024 First Quarter Reads

The three books that have changed my perspective on life and helped me become a better programmer.

At the beginning of the year, I jotted down several things I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. One of the things was to read one book a month. I know it is not as many as I can handle but I am also trying to build a reading habit. I looked at my life and what I wanted to achieve. This reflection helped me pick out the 12 books that were ordered in a way that made sense to me. I want to share the 3 I have read from January through March and my brief learnings. This is not your typical tech article but just sharing what has helped me.

The book for January is a book by Stephen Covey titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 7 habits listed are being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking to understand before being understood, synergising, and sharpening the saw. The key takeaway for me was habit number 2 which is to begin with the end in mind. I believe in purpose and that everyone has it. This point emphasises that we need to have a clear mission statement. You do not need to have it all figured out but just have a vision of the outcome. You take it from there. This also helps one in decision-making because you can easily know if a decision will derail you or push you towards the goal. Just like in planning a project. DO NOT JUST HACK AWAY but rather look at the overall picture you want to achieve in the end. Then and only then, can you begin. This book is structured in a way that helps one chronologically from being independent to living interdependent with others. It is a great recommendation if you want to be effective in life as the title suggests.

The book for February is a book by Nicolas Cole titled The Art and Business of Online Writing: How to Beat the Game of Capturing and Keeping Attention. This was an easy choice for me because online writing is a topic I fancy and want to get to know in depth. Arguably this is the best book I have read for several reasons. Firstly, even though it is about writing, you learn a lot of principles that are essential like consistency is key, how research is fundamental to excel in your field and most importantly the only way you can ever get good at something is by doing it, period. Secondly, it outlines a lot of examples that an aspiring writer can use and grow an online audience and become a successful writer. Third and most interesting for me, it is a fast-paced book. At the end of every reading session, I felt like I had been running a marathon. This is not a bad thing and I wish more book writers embraced this. This book will help one in communicating efficiently and effectively. I highly recommend it even though you are not an aspiring writer as most concepts can be applied in various fields. Oh, and you will write concise and effective emails or application letters that grab the reader and let them know exactly what you want to let them know.

The book for March is a book by Matthew Dicks called Someday Is Today: 22 Simple, Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life. I have a lot to say about this book that I could write a whole book about it. This is an awesome read and I recommend it should be the next book you read. Mathew Dicks outlines several strategies that help him be productive like taking 100-second showers, timing emptying the dishwasher, taking 23 minutes to do shopping, eating oatmeal for lunch every day for years, and the list goes on. However, the strategy that got to me was the one-hundred-year-old version of yourself. It is like a check you can use to make a decision. When found to make a decision, you ask if the 100-year-old version of you would look back and be glad that you made that decision. Would that version be glad that you spent a whole Saturday bingeing Netflix? A couple of weeks before reading this book, I uninstalled all social media applications and just left WhatsApp for communication. This boosted my productivity a lot. This book mentioned how you do not need the right environment to get things done but you can rather make the environment right (I paraphrase). This made me use the tiny gaps between activities even better. Those gaps like waiting for your girl as she gets ready or waiting for your turn at the hospital. I used to just whip out my phone and go through my X feed or TikTok but now I read a few lines of the book I'm currently reading or I google an error I earlier met that is stuck in my head. My sister once asked me where I get the time to read as I seem to be always coding and I answered exactly that by saying I utilise the small gaps. 10 minutes in and of itself seems small but compound that over a week, a month, a year then you will see you will be further ahead towards your goals than if you misused the 10 minutes. I can go on and on sharing about this book. Please read this book.

The first quarter has been amazing and I am already in my first book for the second quarter. The sentence for the first quarter is: Ask the 100-year-old version of yourself what purpose/accomplishment would be worthwhile and keep cranking at it on a daily basis with a clear vision of the ideal and not the current knowing we get better by always doing. You have that million-dollar project idea but not sure how to begin, just start. You want to write articles on, just start.

Disclaimer: The links to the books are my Amazon affiliate links.

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