25 February 2015

So, a year on from my previous post my 2014 Reading List I thought it would be good to look back and see how I’ve done. The answer is “not as well as I thought I would”. I suspect many people who try and predict a year’s worth of work have the same results!

  1. The Phoenix Project » DONE - longer review post
  2. The Fifth Discipline » not done: I find this one conceptually interesting but quite dry and heavy to read through so I’ve parked it while I work through others. Hopefully I’ll come back to this one!
  3. Rework by Jason Freid and David Heinemeier Hansson » DONE - An easily consumed compilation of pragmatic and insightful ProTips on how to make decisions about your work, nurture a positive culture, and grow your business
  4. Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests » DONE - A practical and well-explained guide on how to grow your components with a focus on refactoring towards better design and testability. Particularly enjoy the examples with constructor based composition for dependency injection, having had more than enough of DI frameworks to last me some time.
  5. To Sell Is Human » not done: I have bought this one but haven’t started it yet, somehow getting sucked into re-reading Drive instead. (Drive is highly recommended)
  6. Agile Management for Software Engineering » not done: parked this for the time being.
  7. What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There » not done: I started reading this and then parked it about a third of the way through having figured I’d gotten what I needed at the time.
  8. Beyond Budgeting » in progress: I’m about halfway through this one and finding it really interesting. Decentralisation, rolling forecasts and frequent shorter-term goal setting are used by these organisations to break out of the budget trap.
  9. Good To Great » not done: I haven’t bought this yet.
  10. Lean from the Trenches » not done: I haven’t bought this yet.
  11. Remote » not done: I haven’t bought this yet.

In hindsight I think I have bitten off more than I can chew, and I’ve got a bit of a problem with too much work-in-progress and not enough finishing. I’ve interrupted books that I’ve been reading when I find others that spark my interest and distract me, which then increases my WIP again. During the year, I started and finished Slack (if you liked Peopleware, you’ll like this) and also the now buzzfeed-esque 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know (easily consumed ProTips for conscientious devs).

I’ve also started reading Lean Enterprise despite being aware of my WIP problem because I had been waiting on it coming out for almost a year now, and I was very excited by the contents and relevance.

So with this all in mind I think that it would be unrealistic to publish a list of 11 books new I’ll read in 2015, and instead trim the list to those I’ve started that I really want to finish. Given it is likely that new books will be released that may tickle my fancy, I should also avoid prescribing in advance the year’s entire list. I’d also like to add a Scala book to the list, to get back into it and brush up my functional nous, but I haven’t decided which one yet (suggestions on a postcard to the usual address please).

Therefore my next target including finishing WIP and allowing room for additions is:

  1. Lean Enterprise
  2. Beyond Budgeting
  3. Lean from the Trenches
  4. To Sell Is Human
  5. Remote

I think this is much more manageable and hopefully won’t take me beyond the end of 2015, even including late interrupts!

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