books in 2019

Inspired by Ghazi Binarandi’s post (which copied Tommy Collison’s , which copied Aaron Swartz' ), I thought doing the same thing would be fun so here we go. In no particular order, the following are books I read in 2019.

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo#

I have not reached a point in my career which people would report to me yet. Interestingly, this book has given me insights to better handle situations at work. Many of management principles were super new when I became a fresh graduate and work as a software engineer on my first job. This book goes through basic management things, such as one-on-ones, and how to leverage / be good at it. If anything, the knowledge I gained from this book has made me appreciate my managers more for being present.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande#

Medical Doctor as a profession is one of the most prestigious career in our society today. Everyone goes through rigorous training on understanding the technical knowledge. Yet some doctors, like Gawande, found himself under-equipped to deliver messages as another human being. This book also mentions how we, as functioning and productive adults, tend to think we know the best for everyone, including the elderly. Easily one of my favorites of all time.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson#

Executive summary of this book: get creative and don’t work harder. I changed my view on hardworking after reading this book. I like to put it in the analogy of a car, where your productivity is the distance you achieve. Working harder is like going on higher RPM: lower gas mileage, the speed / distance gained from going 6000 RPM to 7000 RPM isn’t as significant as 1000 RPM to 2000 RPM. Every second you spend > 5000 RPM, you’re gonna have to push your car for an hour before you reach the next gas station.

The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz#

Horowitz wrote a lot about building a company and how hard it was for him. Yet, I find many things to be relevant and much more interesting when I substitute company for organization. This book is a compilation of his blog posts and here’s one of my favorites: A Good Place to Work . My version of Ben’s statement: being a good company friend / coworker is itself an end.

An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson#

When I earned the title software engineer, I thought the hardest things for a group of developers are going to be the technical problems. Over time, I grew suspicion over that idea and this book somewhat confirms it. This book is perhaps one of the first steps which my interest in complex systems and human factors grew (one day I’ll write more about this). I use references to his blogs a lot in my other writings.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari#

There are good parts of this book despite it being overly quoted by tech bros of Silicon Valley. As someone who was never interested in history, this book did a decent job grabbing my attention. Brief history of humankind is a very apt subtitle to the book.


As always, I welcome comments, questions, and discussions with love. Drop me a line and let’s get in touch!