Favorite Books of 2016

I’ve never been much of a reader. I’ve always preferred to wait for the movie. If I could get away with CliffsNotes in school I would. However, reading technical books and those that might help me develop and further my career have been a recent exception. I can’t get enough of them. When I’m not reading at home or for work I’m listening to audio books in the car.

Below are a few of my favorites that I read (or listened to) in 2016.

Soft Skills – by John Sonmez

This has been one of my favorites for 2016. I actually first listened to the audio book on the drive down to Florida when I moved. I’ve since read or listened to the book 5 times combined. Sonmez does a great job of giving developers of any age, skill, or stage in the career encouragement to get to the next level. I know the first time I encountered Soft Skills I felt like someone had given me a firm kick in the behind! This is absolutely a must-read for any developer that thinks they may have stalled.

The War of Art – by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art was one of the books recommended by John Sonmez in Soft Skills. This was a relatively short book and a quick read. This is another great book for helping to avoid and/or conquer what Pressfield calls resistance. Whether suffering from writers block, self doubt, impostor syndrome, or just looking for a little motivation, this book is for you.

The 4-Hour Workweek – by Tim Ferriss

I picked up a copy of The 4-Hour Workweek a few years ago when it first came out. The title alone was enough to pique my interest. The book sat on my shelf for years before it finally disappeared completely, never having been read. When I rediscovered Tim Ferriss and the expanded and updated book I was thrilled. Tim has some great ideas for would-be entrepreneurs and those just looking to enjoy life by taking mini-retirements while you’re still young. This is another book I’ve read or listened to multiple times in 2016, and I’m sure will make it’s round in 2017 and beyond.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – by Stephen R. Covey

I can’t remember at what age this book was assigned reading, but it was done so with utter dread and disdain. I’m not sure what the circumstances were at the time or if it was just a younger, less mature version of me that didn’t appreciate the wisdom communicated in this book. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an often recommended book, and since it popped up several times in other works I had read recently I decided to give it a try. Boy was I happy I did. And, as I write this I think it might be time to put it back in rotation to refresh myself and put some of the nuggets of wisdom back into my mind.

The Lean Startup – by Eric Ries

As 2016 comes to a close and I’m planning for what to accomplish in 2017, kicking around the idea of a startup comes to mind. This of course is partly due to Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup. Whether you’re looking to start a startup, work for one, or just learn principles to improve your everyday work life, this is another book with which you can’t go wrong.

The E-Myth Revisited – by Michael E. Gerber

This was another book that was recommended to me. I had voiced my desire to launch a startup in the next few years and The E-Myth Revisited came highly recommended by a friend. Michael Gerber does a great job in this book guiding and directing the would-be, just-started, or seasoned entrepreneur. He helps dispel the myths often associated with entrepreneurship and encourages you to work on your business instead of in your business in order to grow and become successful.

Chaos Monkeys – by Antonio Garcia Martinez

What a fun read by Antonio Garcia Martinez. Chaos Monkeys is the (cautionary?) tale of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur on his was to success with several of the high-tech companies in the industry. A bit of a break from tech books and professional development, but plenty of wisdom and insight in this book to make it worthwhile. Who knows, maybe I’ll follow in his footsteps one day, and avoid some mistakes thanks to the writings of AGM.

Writing High Performance .NET Code – by Ben Watson

This was perhaps my favorite technical book of 2016. Watson does a great job of describing the inner workings of the .NET Framework, the CLR, and fundamentals of writing high performance .NET code. While the new version of .NET was release this year the foundation and practices described in this book are very much still relevant. A must-read for .NET developers concerned with writing high performance applications (that should be all of us).

Tools of Titans – by Tim Ferriss

This is another book from Tim Ferriss that just made it on the list for 2016, having only recently been published. I, of course, pre-ordered the book the day Tim announced it through his social media accounts. I’ve only just started to dive into the book, but I can tell that Tools of the Titans will get heavy rotation in my reading list for 2017.


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