I had always wanted to work at a company that had a library of intereresting/educational books I could borrow; so when I started at JDS Australia in late 2005, I brought in a few of my technical books in case anyone else wanted to borrow them. Gradually other people brought in books too, until there was quite a nice collection.
I like to think that consultants who have read Death March and The Mythical Man Month will be a little wiser than their brethren who have just flicked through Learn x in 24 Hours. The lives of technical people will definitely be more pleasant if they have a manager who has read Peopleware, and everyone will be kept busy if the sales guys have read and applied Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
So, for the greater good (or something), I am throwing open the (metaphorical) doors of my personal library to people who don’t work at JDS. If you know me and would like to borrow any of the books listed below, please let me know.
Note that inclusion on the book list doesn’t mean that I recommend the book, just that I have it in my collection. 🙂
Testing, Performance and Scalability
- Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications (J.D. Meier, Carlos Farre, Prashant Bansode, Scott Barber, Dennis Rea)
- Scalable Internet Architectures (Theo Schlossnagle)
- Lessons Learned in Software Testing (Cem Kaner, James Bach, Bret Pettichord)
Programming Languages & Software Development
- The C Programming Language (Brian W. Kernighan, et al)
- The C Puzzle Book (Alan R. Feuer)
- A Programmer’s Guide to Java SCJP Certification: A Comprehensive Primer (Khalid Mughal, Rolf Rasmussen)
- Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide (Philip Heller)
- Java Pocket Guide (Robert Liguori, Patricia Liguori)
- Regular Expression Pocket Reference: Regular Expressions for Perl, Ruby, PHP, Python, C, Java and .NET (Tony Stubblebine)
- Virtual Machine Design and Implementation C/C++ (Bill Blunden)
- Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide (Dave Thomas, Chad Fowler, Andy Hunt)
- The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Andrew Hunt, David Thomas)
- Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (Steve McConnell)
- UML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Standard Object Modeling Language (Martin Fowler)
Project Management, Managing Technical People, Running a Technology Company
- Rework (Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson)
- Slack : Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency (Tom Demarco)
- Peopleware : Productive Projects and Teams (Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister)
- Ship it! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects (Jared Richardson, William Gwaltney)
- The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering (Frederick P. Brooks)
- Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects (Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister)
- Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent
- Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity (Joel Spolsky)
- Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming (Peter Seibel)
- Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days (Jessica Livingston)
- Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age (Paul Graham)
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Malcolm Gladwell)
- Outliers: The Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell)
- The Design of Everyday Things (Donald A. Norman)
- Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes In The Age Of The Machine (Donald A. Norman)
- How to Lie With Statistics (Darrell Huff)
- The Cult of the Amateur: How blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of today’s user-generated media are destroying our economy, our culture, and our values (Andrew Keen)
- Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today! (Chris Carlsson)
- The Non-Designer’s Design Book (Robin Williams)
- Hacking Exposed Web Applications (Joel Scambray)
Sales, Marketing, Psychology
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert B. Cialdini)
- Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini)
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! (Al Ries, Jack Trout)
- The Definitive Book of Body Language (Barbara Pease, Allan Pease)
- Wombat Selling (Michael Hewitt-Gleeson)
- Search Engine Optimization: Your Visual Blueprint for Effective Internet Marketing (Kristopher B. Jones)
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly (David Meerman Scott)
- Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel (Scott Adams)
- The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century (Scott Adams)
- I’m Not Anti-Business, I’m Anti-Idiot (Scott Adams)
- Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert (Scott Adams)
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I guess that even more than wanting to work at a company with lots of cool books to borrow, I wanted to work with the kind of people who were interested enough in technology that they would actually buy and read books about it.
And another thing…
I think that maintaining a “professional library” is probably an indicator of a company that cares about staff development. One of the first things I noticed when I visited the ThoughWorks Melbourne office was a printout on the wall where staff could put a tick next to the books that they wanted the company to buy. I remember thinking that ThoughtWorks must be a pretty cool place to work.
Maybe “do you have a library of books that employees can borrow” would be a good question to ask at a job interview.