What do you read, when you’re on the plane or waiting for a backup to finish or whatever the else you do?   I mean, besides “The Camel Book?”   Stuff that really gets you thinking, either about the business we are in, or the businesses we work for?

May I suggest a few, to start?

The Long Tail, by Chis Anderson (http://www.amazon.com/Long-Tail-Future-Business-Selling/dp/B001Q9E9F6).   The tag line of this book is “Why the future of business is selling less of more.”   Extending this idea, say, to websites, this might explain why, even though there are bigger and bigger “brand-name” sites, there are also more sites out there than ever before.   I’m starting on my third re-reading of this one ...

Managing the Mechanism, by Vince North (http://www.amazon.com/Managing-Mechanism-Software-Successfully-ebook/dp/B00ANYTJZA), an interesting apparently Kindle-only take that basically says that the reason why software is so hard to manage, is that software’s so different.   Pleasantly little methodology-bashing.   He takes the position that software is a mechanism, always doing whatever it does under its own pre-programmed direction, and that most software projects fail due to project management approaches which do not take the implications of this into account.   (A thought-provoking idea ...)

How to Build Your Own Website for Free, by Charlie Morelli (http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Mobile-Site-Less/dp/1479262781).   Okay, so I like “Kindle freebies,” but lately I have gathered quite a few books that make this point in various ways, – and frankly, they all are beginning to scare me a little.   I mean, you really can do a lot of the stuff that businesses actually want, including mobile-app stuff, for free now.   Even though there will always be a demand for heavy-hitting back-end coding, like we are all used to doing, I perceive a sharp reduction in the notion that a web-site and the programming that used to go into it is still worth tens of thousands of dollars.   I openly fear that there is developing in our business an over-supply of workers that coincides with a sharp reduction(!) in demand.

Anyway, there’s three.   Any good ones from you that you think we programmer-types all should be reading on these cold winter nights?   What do you think of what they said?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Read any good books lately?
by punch_card_don (Curate) on Jan 20, 2013 at 04:32 UTC
    How to Build Your Own Website for Free

    In 1979 I was paid nearly a month to write a program that would do a linear regression of experimental data and draw a graph of the resulting line on an x-y plotter. Just a few years later, a $100 calculator would do the same thing.

    So, yes, it is highly likely that you will eventually see websites commodified to the point that they are produced by children's toys.

    But - there will always be something else to program. The skill is not "website programming", it's just "programming".

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
Re: Read any good books lately?
by technojosh (Priest) on Jan 17, 2013 at 19:24 UTC

      An intriguing-sounding book, to be sure.   Thanks for the recommend.   I am interested by any book that gets a “one-, two-, or three-star” review that itself goes on for several pages ... because it means to me that, even though the reader may have come away from the book disagreeing with it in some way, or in some way finding it wanting, the book nonetheless made him think.   (I usually zero-in on those reviews first, and generally skip the effusion – “thanks, Mom” – altogether.)

Re: Read any good books lately?
by DrHyde (Prior) on Jan 23, 2013 at 11:40 UTC
    I read very few techie books these days, and fewer businessy books. The last ones that I read were The Art of Unit Testing (which I recommend to all of you) and Toyota Production System. I mostly read for pleasure nowadays, and review almost all of what I read here.

    OK, I confess, I read the book on the Toyota Production System for pleasure too, because I'm just that kind of nerd.

Re: Read any good books lately?
by cavac (Curate) on Feb 04, 2013 at 13:31 UTC

    Well, one book i'm currently reading is The Complete Yes Minister: http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Minister-Jonathan-Lynn/dp/0563206659. This is the the book version of the BBC comedy series. It really gives a nice insight why neither government nor management ever achieves something.

    Of course, my most read document of the past years has been RFC2616: Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1.

    "I know what i'm doing! Look, what could possibly go wrong? All i have to pull this lever like so, and then press this button here like ArghhhhhaaAaAAAaaagraaaAAaa!!!"
Re: Read any good books lately?
by Swalif (Scribe) on Feb 11, 2013 at 18:41 UTC
    I have some programming books to read but they are all well known for the users here. However, on the other hand I am planning to read some books which I delayed for some time now but I am really looking forward to read them especially for the good reviews I've read about them:
    How to Read a Book
    The Stone Boy and Other Stories
    Moon walking with Einstein
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

      I read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! a few months ago. Very interesting and entertaining read. Definitely worth it.

      Christopher Cashell
Re: Read any good books lately?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Feb 15, 2013 at 01:32 UTC

    I just obtained Software for Infrastructure by Bjarne Stroustrup.

    I'm only part way into reading it and I already think it should be obligatory reading for all programmers. Including (even especially) those of us that think we've seen it all.

    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
Re: Read any good books lately?
by hdb (Monsignor) on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:53 UTC

    Currently reading http://10print.org/ which I find entertaining and with a high nerd factor. Lot of talk about Commodore C64 of which I have a lot of good memories.

    It contains a lot of deviations as well into random numbers, arts, etc. Not too technical.

      Blatant self promotion: Re^2: Random maze generator

      The book seems nice. I might try to read it, too, having a lot of good memories of Commodore 116/16.

      لսႽ ᥲᥒ⚪⟊Ⴙᘓᖇ Ꮅᘓᖇ⎱ Ⴙᥲ𝇋ƙᘓᖇ

        Having seen your maze generator I am wondering whether you are among the authors of the book...