My all time favorite books

This is a list of my favorite books. I’ve sorted them in the order of much I feel influenced by them and how they impacted my life.

Atomic Habit – James Clear

If there was one and only one book I could take with me on a lonely island this would be the one. It is such a good read!

James Clear does an awesome job in explaining how tiny changes in habits can lead to great results.

Main takeaways: Habit stacking, Rule of 1%

Atomic Habits on Amazon

Continue reading “My all time favorite books”

Review Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo – Part 1

The author

Jurgen Appelo is “an entrepreneur, speaker, and writer pioneering leadership to help innovative businesses survive and thrive in the 21st century.”

The book

This book is a beast!

On almost 400 pages divided into 16 chapters Jurgen lays the foundation for his Management 3.0 concept.

Chapter 1

Marty the M3.0 monster


  1. Energize people
  2. Empower teams
  3. Align constraints
  4. Develop competence
  5. Grow structure
  6. Improve everything

Chapter 2

Seven dimensions of Agile

Derived from the agile manifesto Jurgen presents his own view of agile

  • People
  • Functionality
  • Quality
  • Tools
  • time
  • Value
  • Process
  • conflict

Chapter 3 – Complex Systems theory

  • General Systems Theory
  • Cybernetics
  • Dynamical Systems Theory
  • Game Theory
  • Evolutionary Theory
  • Chaos Theory

Chapter 4 – The information innovation system

Five cogs of innovation

  • Knowledge
  • Creativity
  • Motivation
  • Diversity
  • Personality


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 book “I will teach you to be rich” got me started to think 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” (MbO).

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 cannot 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.

Managing Oneself on Amazon

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”

Fowler found this title misleading: instead of improving from mediocrity to keep your job, he wants you to focus on becoming exceptional and staying ahead of the pack. Continue reading “Review “The Passionate Programmer””