Since I love reading I thought I switch things up for today and share a small list of books I enjoyed (and why I enjoyed them).

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Principles by Ray Dalio

I mentioned the book before in one of my emails. Reading this book I had the feeling of finding something that speaks to me, more than once. The situation like there was a light bulb lighting up, because you see connections between things you were blind to, before. I know I’ll re-read that book a few times, because I am certain that there are more lightbulbs hidden in it.

Confident Ruby by Avdi Grimm

I read the book too early in my career. I wasn’t ready for it. I put it down. A few years later somehow I remembered it, perhaps I found the ebook on my computer somewhere. I started reading it again. And I couldn’t put it down. Please let me quote from its website, because I definitely couldn’t put it any better:

Confident Ruby is, first and foremost, a book about joy. It’s about the joy I found when I first discovered how elegantly and succinctly I could state problems in Ruby code. It’s about the joy I gradually lost as the “real world” snuck in and cluttered my code with distracting edge case scenarios, error handling, and checks for nil. And it’s about how I came to recapture that joy, by employing small patterns and stylistic choices to make each method tell a coherent story.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I picked this up in a book store on Gatwick airport near London. I was heading home from the Isle of Ruby conference and I felt like I should buy a book. It was marketed as a bestseller on some list. Usually I do not pick up books like that. But something made me take it. Perhaps it was Bill Gate’s quotes on the back?

“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” (Bill Gates)

I honestly don’t know. But I am glad I picked it. I read most of it laying at the pool on Rhodes island. It’s not heavy literature. But it’s a fun read if you are looking for something during the summer. It does answer several questions I didn’t formulate for myself before. Like, how religion evolved and what came before it. Sure there’s the bible, Qur’an, Torah and other texts but did people believe before that? And how did sapiens spread across the world?

Deep Work by Cal Newport

I read that over a year ago. Open office floor plans and their negative impact are discussed a lot these days. An important part of the discussion is people’s inability to concentrate on their work in an open office with many co-workers. This books doesn’t really talk about that. It talks about the opposite of that. It shows you how establishing a deep work ethic helps you produce better results and do more intense work—during your working hours. The author shows you 4 rules you could/should follow to reach a new height of productivity and just work better. While it’s sometimes a bit too much and he takes things a bit too seriously, I honestly applaud the idea behind it. Finding the focus to work better and more concentrated does help me and perhaps that’s something for you as well.

Alright. Are you disappointed because you expected more programming or software development focused books? Ok, then I’ll give you two more of those: Anything by Sandi Metz Both books are great and applicable even if you don’t work with Ruby. They just use Ruby as a simple, accessible example language. But in their essence they teach you the most important aspects of object-oriented software development.

In case you do like one of these books or especially if you completely disagree with me on something, please tell me by responding to this email. And if you have any book recommendations you’d like to share, please also tell me.

Yours, Holger