Reading in November

November was full of books, new and old. I had quite a lot of time for reading, plus I’ve finally managed to put away my old habit of “If I pick a book I must finish it”. So lots of content is left unfinished. As a side effect, I developed a habit of reading a sample of the book before purchasing it - cost effective and saves a lot of time.

Technology and friends

Production-Ready Microservices by Susan J. Fowler

This book was on my list for a long time, however the more I worked with microservices, the less my expectations became. Although I enjoyed reading it, the book is too high-level to be very useful, especially after having hands-on experience in production. I always felt that the important details were missing and the content was too dry. That said, the book might be a valuable read for new engineers or engineers who have never worked on distributed systems.

So I’d still recommend the book as an introduction, or as a gateway to deep-dive on each of the topics discussed in the chapters of the book.

Database Internals by Alex Petrov

I picked up the book after finishing Designing Data-Intensive Applications, by Martin Kleppmann, which I thoroughly enjoyed and it was very easy to read and grasp. I guess I had the same expectation from Database Internals, however I am making very little progress. Database Internals is not the easiest book to read, in my opinion it also requires prior knowledge in a lot of subjects and fundamental topics (both hardwar and software). Regardless, if you want to learn how modern databases implemented or could be implemented, this book is for you. It starts with a generic introduction of various storage engines and deep dives into different subjects, such as B-Trees, LSM trees, Transactions and so on. The second part of the book is all about distributed systems.

Overall I find the topics and the way the author structured the book fascinating and hoping to make good progress in upcoming weeks.

Recommended to read.

Leadership and Management

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth, by John E. Doerr

This was the first book about OKRs that I read. I have used OKRs for a very long time, even for personal needs (e.g. I had OKRs for learning German) so I have already known the framework and how you could implement it quite a bit. That said, my expectations from the book were very high, only from the fact that this book comes from John Doerr himself.

Surprisingly, the book was very vague and dry, I think it could be a great sales pitch for someone new to the framework, but nothing more. Majority of the content are case studies from other companies, however those case studies are also almost useless, since they cover mostly “why” part, but don’t go into details of “how”. Moreover, the book is quite repetitive after the first couple of chapters.

The best I got from the book was the idea to read High Output Management from Andrew Grove, which is being referenced quite a lot by the author.

Would I recommend it? No, better just skim the website

High Output Management, by Andrew S. Grove

This book is considered classic in its genre. After Measure What Matters, I was convinced I had to read it. Andrew Grove did an amazing job going through the fundamental problems and solutions in leadership and management. The book starts by introducing a problem in a physical production domain and later develops on the same story to go through typical scenarios. It is fascinating to see how the ideas and concepts in this book are still relevant, although written decades ago. What I really like is that the book is full of hands-on advice and tips. At the end of the book you get Q&A style section going through all the concepts from the book (you can use it as a checklist).

I definitely recommend to read this book, it is an amazing artifact not only for the people in management, but for everyone.

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You, by Julie Zhuo

Great book, especially for new managers or for the people who are planning to start in management. Lots of practical tips and suggestions on how to go through the tough life of a manager in a day-to-day basis, from 1on1’s to hiring and managing up.

Definitely recommend.

Fantasy and Science Fiction

The Trouble with Peace, by Joe Abercrombie

Here we go, the long waited one! Joe Abercrombie is probably my favorite author, that I ever read (considering that I favor this genre ;) ). The Trouble with Peace is the second book from The Age of Madness series and Abercrombie killed it as usual, with his character development, shock, death, happiness and ton of explicit content.

Really, go buy the book!

Run, by Blake Crouch

I read Recursion and The Wayward Pines series from Couch and really enjoyed both. So I was expecting a similar experience from Run, however after progressing through half of the book I realised that moving forward does not really make sense.

I won’t spoil much, but the main storyline is about a family who is running away from other people who try to kill them, why they want kill is where the spoiler is. The whole book is literally this, in a car, family driving day and night and running. Also I am not from the US and the whole world is from real places (I guess?) which I have no idea about, so it felt very dry and I could not really connect with the story.

I’d probably say skip this one.

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

Picked this after Run, since the reviews were good. The storeline is interesting, easy to read, but very similar to Recursion and other books from Couch. The more I read the author the more I have a feeling that they are just repeating themselves. I think this is the last book for me from Couch.

Oathbringer, The Stormlight Archive #3, by Brandon Sanderson

Oathbringer is the 3rd book in The Stormlight Archive sequence. I actually read it some time ago, however since the Rhythm of War came out, I picked the previous one for re-reading. One thing I like most about the series, is you read a lot and can’t put away the book, however if you look back nothing really happened! I find it quite interesting how Sanderson does this, as usually I can’t progress with books where nothing happens :) Recommended!

Written on November 25, 2020