Thoughts on building a library

I’ve always loved to read as a child but what I read depended mostly on the books I got as birthday presents. As an adult I occasionally bought some books at book stores at train stations. But I never had a strategy how to build a library.

Why do I need a library?

Knowledge is power! Books are the easiest way to gain profit from other people’s experience. You can see books as mentors which tell you valuable life lessons. For example the Game book “I will teach you to be rich” got me started with thinking about personal finance. Continue reading “Thoughts on building a library”

Review Code Reading

If you learn a music instrument you have to learn riffs, licks and songs. No teacher will ever say “Here are all the chords and scales. Go into the world and make people happy” Does not work.

But in software development sometimes it seems to look like that universities show you algorithms and data structure and the syntax of a specific language and say you are done – save the world with your code.

In the last couple of years more and more people look at software development as a craft and call it the software craftmanship movement. Continue reading “Review Code Reading”

Ruby Day 1 – Seven Languages in Seven Weeks

My friend Timo recommended the book “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks” to me a couple of months ago. During my parental leave I’ve finally found time to read -and more important-  code the exercises.

The first language is Ruby. Ruby is object-oriented, dynamically and strongly typed. It supports duck typing and is a good fit for developing DSLs. Continue reading “Ruby Day 1 – Seven Languages in Seven Weeks”

Review “Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker


To call this book a book is a bit exaggerated. It contains only 60 pages which I assume you can read in under one hour. Nevertheless if you haven’t encountered the work of Peter Drucker yet this is the place to start.

The Author

Peter Drucker is best known for his concept of “Management by Objectives”. He also coined the term “knowledge worker” and “core competency”.

Main Takeaways

Drucker elaborates on three major questions:

  • What are my strengths?
  • How do I perform?
  • What are my values?

These are the basic questions to ask yourself to answer the bigger questions:

  • Where do I belong?
  • What can I contribute?

The rest of the book ponders on developing relationships and a second career for later in life.

The bottom line

I will stop writing so my review won’t be longer than the book itself. Managing yourself is a big factor in personal success. If you don’t manage yourself how can you manage others? As I already mentioned this one is a good entry into the works of Peter Drucker. It’s also perfect as a gift, so buy a bunch of them.

My reading habits over the years

As a child and teenager I read a lot, mostly fictional books. I often went to the library and got lots of books as a birthday or Christmas present.

  • Astrid Lindgren
  • Tonke Dragt
  • Wolfgang Hohlbein

On of my favorite authors at that time was Ken Follet. I read through the 1000+ pages of the Pillars of the Earth on just two or three days. The more we had to read for German classes in school the less I’d liked to read at home. Occasionally I read a Preston / Child thriller.

After I finished school I worked as a sound technician at the Landestheater Detmold. Due to masses of spare time and to the lack of nowadays always on communication devices I got into reading again.

I re-read all the classics which I should have already read in school.  Because I didn’t had to, it was actually a lot of fun. I read a lot of the books from Thomas Mann,  from Heinrich, Klaus and Golo Mann as well.

During my studies I started reading non-fictional books and often bought different books about the same topic because I enjoyed reading things from a different perspective to better understand them.

So what happened to the habit over the years? Why did I almost stopped reading entirely?

Distractions by other hobbies

  • Working 40+ hours per week plus commuting
  • Surfing Facebook and 9gag
  • Binge watching
  • Children 🙂

What got me into reading again

  • Martin Suter
  • Paulo Coelho
  • Manfred Spitzer

My new most favorite author became Dan Simmons after I accidentally bought the book “Terror”
After I watched the TED talk Why I read a book a day (and why you should too): The Law of 33% I started to read again like crazy and started to build up a personal library

Review “The Passionate Programmer”

About the Author

Chad Fowler is best know for being CTO of 6Wunderkinder after its exit to Microsoft. Before he was Senior Vice President of Technology at LivingSocial.

The Book

Fun fact: the first edition of this book was titled “My Job Went to India: 52 Ways To Save Your Job” but Fowler found this title misleading: instead of improving from mediocrity to keep your job we wants You to focus on becoming exceptional and staying ahead of the pack. Continue reading “Review “The Passionate Programmer””

The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull

I think I first came across the Peter Principle in the context of The Dilbert Principle.

Where Scott Adams states in a satirical fashion that “leadership is nature’s way of removing morons from the productive flow”, Peter and Hull just say that everybody in a big enough hierarchy always gets promoted to a position where he no longer can succeed and so reaches his personal level of incompetence.

Pretty  shocking, huh? Continue reading “The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull”

Review “Lessons learned in Software Testing”

I became aware of James Bach through the Google Techtalk “Becoming a Software Testing Expert”. Then I quickly got his book “Lessons Learned in Software Testing”.

In this book Bach presents with his colleagues Cem Kaner and Bret Pettichord 293 tips and tricks (“lessons”) from the test practice.

Divided into 10 chapters, this book covers almost every aspect that can be encountered in daily SW test work. Continue reading “Review “Lessons learned in Software Testing””

Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson

Today I introduce you to one of my favorite books, “Rework – Business Smart and Simple” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The two authors are the founders of 37signals and have developed the framework Ruby on Rails, on which most of their products are based. After devouring their first work Getting Real in the online edition (http://gettingreal.37signals.com/), it’s time to spend the money on a hardcover. I like books that pragmatically approach the topic of business start-ups / company founding, so get straight to the point: Continue reading “Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson”