My Goodreads 2022 reading list shows exactly 50 books this year. I did not break my record for the number of books (52, in 2017), but the amount of pages, 15.248, is definitely a record. Although reading is not about breaking records, spending time on a hobby is something that requires dedication and I am proud of my reading achievement. In this post, I will share my favorite, work-related books of 2022.
This year, I read only 13 work-related books. As I also read for relaxation I like to read other books as well, it doesn’t matter what, function, non-fiction, horror, or literature. I usually read at least 2 books in parallel, so I can switch, depending on my mood and tiredness.
People who work with me will not be surprised by the list of my favorite books in 2022 (although I added an unexpected bonus):
- Code That Fits in Your Head: Heuristics for Software Engineering
- ACCELERATE: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations
- TEAM TOPOLOGIES: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable: A Leadership Fable
- Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
- Bonus: Erasmus - Dwarsdenker (Erasmus - Portrait of a Maverick)
So, why should you read these books? Let me try to explain.
Code that fits in your head
Written by Mark Seemann, it contains a collection of heuristics and knowledge, which was already available online but he did a great job combining them and making it a great book to read.
… I realized that most of that knowledge is already available, but it’s scattered, and few people have explicitly connected the dots into a coherent description of how to develop software. […] This book is my attempt at creating such a package.
Mark did a great job combining everything, writing everything around the concept of “all things should fit in your head”. This idea, although not new to me, really resonated, and I used and explained this concept many times last year, during job interviews, code reviews, workshops, and Coding Dojos. Read it when you are a developer, to refresh your knowledge or to pick up some good, new habits!
Why are some organizations delivering software of high quality, and delivering it fast, while other organizations struggle to get software in production? What can we learn from these successful organizations, and how can we apply this to our own organization? Every talk, training, and workshop I gave last year touched on some subjects of this book. It’s about culture, technology, and process, a must-read for everyone working with software development. Not just developers, but really everyone: CEO to CTO, Analysts, Product Owners, and System Engineers. I have done several workshops around this book, in different formats, and with different groups and I am amazed by the (bad) state of DevOps (pun intended) of so many organizations.
This is a book I didn’t read once, not twice but three times last year (although I only counted it once on Goodreads). I organized a book club, two talks, and this week I will start another book club around this book. Using the knowledge of this book, we are even transforming our organization into new team structures. Together with Accelerate this book made a high impact on my professional career, it drastically changed the way I want to work. It also brought new opportunities, giving talks and helping an organization change to a different way of working. This adventure is still going on in 2023, so I think I will read it at least another time this year! Another must-read!
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Although the title seems somewhat negative, it is a very positive book. A pageturner, and a book with a clear vision. To my surprise, many people seem to know Patrick Lencioni, the author and his pyramid. I used the pyramid in quite a few coaching sessions and team interventions. I even inspired someone to buy and share a stack of this book with our management. The book is based on a leadership fable, and discussed the social aspects of trust, conflicts, and working together on a shared goal, building a cohesive team. Like most of the books in this list: a must-read for everyone.
Turn the Ship Around
Stumbled upon this book in a podcast from Gene Kim and it sounded interesting. I was amazed (and inspired) by the way the commander leads his ship. It has many, very useful tips and information about leadership. Everyone is a leader and I believe everyone can gain something from reading this book. It might also be a good introduction to military leadership, which is changing from pure command and control to individual, personal leadership.
Bonus: Erasmus: Dwarsdenker
Dwarsdenker: Maverick, an unorthodox or independent-minded person. Living in a time when the printing press created an information revolution, but also a time when everything was highly controlled by the church, Erasmus is determined to keep learning and researching. Learning new languages if need be. Writing what he thinks is right, even when it might endanger his life. I didn’t know much about Erasmus and enjoyed reading this book. I am even thinking of rereading it. Unfortunately, it is not available in English (yet?), but there is some information in English available.
What to read in 2023
Just a short list of books, I hope I inspired some of you to read one or more of them. Please let me know when you did! And also, as an avid reader, I am always looking for new books to read so feel free to send me your recommendations!
Already on my list for 2023, some of which I already started reading but didn’t finish in 2022:
- Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software (a re-read)
- Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
- Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility
- Engineering Management for the Rest of Us
- DOMAIN STORYTELLING: A Collaborative, Visual, and Agile Way to Build Domain-Driven Software
- Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond