September was a pretty good month for me, and I've managed to read more and stumbled on some outstanding books and articles. I also fixed the publishing of new posts (sorry) and improved how the page looks and works a little bit. I hope you like it.
Books I'm reading #
- Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems by Martin Kleppmann
- Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body and Be More Resilient Every Day by Mithu Storoni
Books I've read #
I've accidentally bought it while looking for "The Silk Roads", but it was pretty good. You get a really high view as it's a short version of the bigger edition, but I like the illustrations, and it still makes me want to read the full version later to refresh and learn more.
This one has a lot of good points, and it goes from terrible companies to socially responsible ones turning a pessimistic book into something, maybe not optimistic, but there is hope. But I'm oversimplifying here. It's an easy read and worth picking up.
Elsewhere on the Web #
Driving engineers to an arbitrary date is a value-destroying mistake
This one is great.
Why CEOs are failing software engineers and other creative teams
The one thing that's drilled into your head as a business major and leader is, "here is how you succeed." Accordingly, you are taught best practices – things you do to optimize success. As you would expect, you are taught about past successful companies, "here's how they succeeded." They teach you about great business leaders, people who have succeeded. You are taught how to do business planning in order to optimize your chances of success, and they teach you how to finance your attempt at success. In effect, signing up to be a business or finance major is an act of self-determined success, and the entire system is a culture that naturally values, and in effect worships, success.
Here is the rub: new value is a function of failure, not success, and much of software engineering is about discovering new value. So, in effect, nearly everything you are taught as a business major or leader is seemingly incompatible with software engineering.
You Aren't Lazy. You Just Need To Slow Down
"Laziness is usually a warning sign from our bodies and our minds that something is not working,"
Breaking Logjams in Knowledge Work. How organizations can improve task flow and prevent overload.
As we have begun to teach this material at MIT, by far the most common question goes something like this: "Sure, this works in your examples." (We typically discuss manufacturing, genomic sequencing, and oil drilling.) "But will it work in my organization?" We always give the same reply: "The stuff we teach works only in organizations that have people in them."
Why Do We Work Too Much?
Our tendency to work twenty per cent too much is neither arbitrary nor sinister: it's a side effect of the haphazard nature in which we allow our efforts to unfold. By thinking more intentionally about how work is identified, how it is prioritized, and how it is ultimately assigned, we can avoid some of the traps set by pure self-regulation.
Managers: Compassion and Accountability Aren't Mutually Exclusive
"Being compassionate doesn't mean you have to lower your standards." Rather than thinking of it as a trade-off between compassion and accountability, think about how you can combine the two.
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