What was Your Book That Shape You

Max Ong Zong Bao on January 07, 2020

While I'm awaiting in anticipation for my The Pragmatic Programmer: your journey to mastery, 20th Anniversary Edition book to arrive through mail. ... [Read Full]
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Clean Architecture by Uncle Bob. It helped me focus on the SOLID principles and made me apply TDD more and more in my day job.

I'm currently reading The Pragmatic Programmer's new edition as well and it's really good so far.
I'm keeping short notes on every topic while reading it, on how I've experienced that topic so far, what to look out for, etc.


Nice I can't wait for it to arrive.


WOW. I have been thinking about it lately.

This is totally not tech related but "Stephen King's IT", really shaped my life. I used to be a fat boy until I read the book and I realize I was behaving like fat kids does, there is a pattern. I used to wear jackets even on summer just to cover my man-boobs. That was 10 years ago, now I am 12% body fat, with a six pack and doing ultra runs.

“He thought that fat boys were probably only allowed to love pretty girls inside. If he told anyone how he felt (not that he had anyone to tell), that person would probably laugh until he had a heart-attack.”
― Stephen King, It


Wow, that's really great. I recently read a book called "Can't Hurt Me By David Goggins".

Which is a bad ass that I believe is a really good read as well.


Fantastic book. Goggins is one scary dude!

Yeah he is I'm reading living with a seal. It's funny as hell with lot's of swear words.

It's funny as hell with lot's of swear words.

Glad to hear it! I'll give that one a try sometime.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - many thoughtful insights on life, work, values, quality and how different people look at all that. It helped me understand that I’m not alone and I’m actually doing good.


Yes, I loved that book too. I read it and wanted to buy a motorcycle right away. haha.


A motorcycle is a kind of symbol there) my laptop became my motorcycle)


Dam that is like the one of the popular philosophy book.


Here are some books I've found very useful:

The Manager's Path, by Camille Fournier bookdepository.com/Manager-s-Path-...
She describes the career path from Senior Developer to Manager, what you might encounter and what you need to learn at each step. Is very useful to me since Im on that career path.

Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim, et al bookdepository.com/Accelerate-Nico...
This is a great research, with actionable advice, about how to run Dev Ops, and the real impact it has in businesses.

Currently reading An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management, by Will Larson amazon.com/Elegant-Puzzle-Systems-...
This one is a bit for management a bit more advanced that where I am now, but is great to start looking into the future if I progress in this path


The Manager's Path - this... I would give you another upvote if I could. If I only had read it earlier... It is not only an insight into what will you face on each career step, but also gives you some pointers, what you should expect from your managers and higher-ups. While reading the whole TL chapter, I felt as the author just took it from my life...


That's really nice :) will look at it and devour it fully :)


Nice I had heard of the managers path it was like a recommended book for developers working towards it.


C++ Primer my first book on programming. It was definitely one I thought will make me a genius. It worked... partially.
It was one of the greatest experiences, I was so committed to reading it.


Nice that makes me want to read that book as well.


Tough (and great) question. Recently it's Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. It gave me confidence to stop hiding -- it's the reason I joined Dev.to. Even the title is inspiring.

And I second/third/fourth The Pragmatic Programmer. The first programming book I properly read, and still the best.


Nice i read a older copy 6 or 8 years ago and i always wanted to buy one after i had loan it from the library.

So now it was a good chance to get it.

When i heard it in "Test & Code" episode that they had released a new edition and this lead me to crowd source the book with 3 others to have it delivered to Singapore to reduce on the delivery cost of the book.


Who read it first?

I credit Pragmatic Programmer for making me question the purpose of everything. Which is a weird thing to say about a software development book ...


The design of everyday things. I've never looked at human interfaces the same since - understanding that a clever solution is the not the same thing a usable one.

Also helped me remember I'm not an idiot because it took me a few minutes to figure out how the bizarre taps worked in my new office's bathroom.


Haha don't worry I actually had trouble in using my hostel's tap when I was in Scotland.

I had never used taps with hot and cold taps in my life.

As in Singapore we only had one for our home and the public toilets.

It took me a while to figure it out on getting the right temperature for my water in the morning.


To me, it has been the Phoenix Project. This is has a ton of good information in a great story format and honestly, it feels like it has every bad practice I run on corporate environments and how to fix them.


Nice I wanted to get my hands on that book especially in the area of DevOps It's quite a popular book.


I read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People around 1995 and I think about it constantly. The main takeaway for me is in the first few habits. To paraphrase (1) Realize that you are in control of your actions (2) Decide your principles/goals (3) Prioritize your actions to accomplish them.


I always love the quote "You are master of your own ship, captain of your own soul"


Last year, I read The Four by Scott Galloway. This one book taught me so much about the big giants of our industry. How they tackled problems, what principles they used, how they started from nothing and impacted the world so much. I highly recommend this if you want to shift your focus from pure coding and want to know what happens in the real world.

Right now, I'm reading Hit Refresh by Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella. Totally enjoyed every page of it!

Hit Refresh trailer


Haha he is really good.

One of the key bets they are doing is actually voice assistants that might be a gateway to AI Assistants that compliment with Human Intelligence.


Yes! They're so into IoT, AI/ML and cloud! Also, they're the ones behind the Q# - programming language dedicated to Quantum Computing!!!

The Future GIF


"On The Road" by Jack Kerouac, bar none.


So in what way did the book impacted you?


You just have to MEET Jack himself...


This is from the 'Steve Allen' talk show, '59. Steve was a cool cat on the piano. This is Jack (two yrs after the release of the book) when he was still a 'good lookin' guy before he became a belligerent red-nosed drunk.

OTR regularly comes up as Top 100 American novels.

His poetry is beautiful. Mexico City Blues and Tristessa are lyrical. I would read parts aloud to myself to get the rhythms right. Probably did the same with OTR.

The book made me want to drive fast across the country...


Did you at least see the video?

Erm.. Not yet will watch it when I'm free.

Alright, I watch it. It was really cool in steve playing the piano while conducting an interview and I had the vibe of being a man of action through the poetry.

Yes, I think you are right. But he also had periods of meditation where he studied Buddhism.


I think the book that had the biggest impact on me was the ZeroMQ guide.


Not only did it really make me aware of distributed architecture, it also went into great depth about open source organizational hygiene. Can't recommend it enough.


It seems there are tons of puns nice!!!



Now this looks too simple to be realistic, but ZeroMQ sockets have, as we already learned, superpowers. You could throw thousands of clients at this server, all at once, and it would continue to work happily and quickly. For fun, try starting the client and then starting the server, see how it all still works, then think for a second what this means.


Hello, Max! This is a great question!

The Highly Sensitive Persons Survival Guide, by Ted Zeff, has made a huge impact in my life. It made me understood how I was, why I was like that, and that there was nothing wrong with me.

It gave me lots of perspectives and exercises to create a safe space for me so I could control my stress and my reactions to external stimuli.

If you've even been told that you overreact, that you're too sensitive and you feel too nervous or anxious in this world full of stimuli we live on... Please consider this book and let it guide you and give you the first steps.


Hmmm...sounds really similar to Quiet by Susan Cain. I would check it out thanks for the suggestions


A bit of spirituality: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, is one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. I've repeated parts of it 4-5 times. Life-changing perspectives and concepts we seem to be "unconscious" to (sticking with Eckhart's terminology).


The book that really made an impact for me was Nelson Mandela's A Long Walk to Freedom.

Not just because it's a fantastic story of struggle but it is also truly inspirational.

If a man can study law in a 6x6ft prison cell, then I can refactor that piece of code I've been avoiding.


That's really a awesome book. I heard about him through the autobiography from Richard Branson.

On how VirginActive was created on the behalf of saving a national chain from bankruptcy which Nelson Mandela approached to Sir Richard to take over and help save the business.


Good Topic!

The book that was more valuable to me was "The Software Craftsman" by Sandro Mancuso, it helped me a lot in become a better programmer.

I really want to read 4 Hour Work Week too, it looks a great book.


Yup, it was despite it's dated its concept is good :) which was mindset changing to me.


Can there be a single book which influences a person for all his life? For me, multiple books have come in at various points of my life...

  1. Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Howard Roark was a huge role model during my college days.

  2. Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie. It kind of gave me a perspective shift.

  3. Frank Herbert's Dune For the love of Sci-Fi it created in me. SFF has been my favorite genre since Dune.

  4. Satoshi Nakamoto's white paper Bit Coin : A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System - For the way it transformed an essentially ethical problem of Honesty into a computable one. Whoever Satoshi is... he is one of the most profound thinkers of our age.

  5. Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens : Well, for scaring the s@#t out of me :)


I read Tuesdays with Morris and it was really a tear jerking experience.


Right now I'm reading @daedtech 's book, and it's helping me to reconsider lots of things fast in my career!



Yeah, I'm definitely buying a copy soon. Erik's posts are always insightful.


Hmm..would you care to share what is the insights you had gotten from it?


Great I had just followed you. I'll look forward to it.


I recently finished "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. Some of it gets a bit technical for his field but it isn't overwhelming. It can be applied to any situation and will stick with me for the rest of my life.


I can think of two, I used to hate reading books after finishing school, that until I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad when I was about 19 years old. The book isn't that good but it propelled me to read constantly and love reading again.

The other one is Deep Work by Cal Newport. I like this book so much that I read it at least once every year.


Haha, that's great to me Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a gateway towards the drive to learn and raising financial intelligence and becoming an entrepreneur. Which lead to me making tons of choice to shape and help into who I am now. Which started with 4 Hour Work Week.


"Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas Hofstadter.


Quick question what was the insights you had gotten from it?


I picked this book up in a thrift store back when I was in high school, and it was the first "technical" book I read of my own volition.

The book weaves together topics of mathematics, music, and art (among other things), establishing shared components and exploring the idea of emergence in cognition. Among the technical discussions are comical -- yet thought-provoking -- dialogues that explore the chapter's subject while making self-referential observations.

Though it's not meant to be seen as a guide to classical music, number theory, zen, or biology, it is responsible for introducing me to how interesting those subjects are, and my own interests in development projects stem from the idea of emergent behaviors. It's a fantastic (though somewhat dense) book, and I find myself reading it again every few years.

Nice that is really good :)


These two books have made a lot of impact in my developer career so far: Clean Code and The Art of Readable Code


Nice that is really cool. Clean code sort of recommended read for alot of developers.

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