I recently read a bunch of textbooks and figured it would be a good idea to write something down about them. It helps me to remember them a bit better and maybe can even assist someone else with finding the next book to read.

The Phoenix Project
by Gene Kim

Someone told me about that book and I found the concept interesting. The idea is to explain some lessons about IT and DevOps by way of telling a story. So this book is written as a novel and while reading it you can learn together with the protagonist who is the IT manager of a fictional company. I like the idea but it somehow felt like the story was not particularly well written. Also the learning’s are somewhat shallow. I’m not sure if I would recommend reading it.

The Unicorn Project
by Gene Kim

This book tells the same story as “The Phoenix Project” but from the perspective of a developer. The writing style is the same as for the other one and the story did not really improve. I thought the different perspective might be interesting so I decided to read this one as well. But somehow it is not very convincing and there is not all that much in there.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M. Pirsig

I don’t have a motorcycle so motorcycle maintenance is something I know nothing about and don’t aspire to become proficient in. Zen is also a topic where my knowledge is rather limited. It’s quite good then that this book is at its core about quality. Quality is something that is a part of every aspect of our lives. The things we do, the items we use and experiences we make all have a quality to it. In this book the author explores quality in a story where he and his son are on a long trip on a motorcycle. The reason I read this book was because it was recommended in so many different contexts. It is rare that a book with such a specific title is recommended by so many people working in disciplines that often are so far away from what the title suggest. So I figured if so many people recommend it, it might be worth a read and I think it is.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work
by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

This is a book I really enjoyed reading. The authors describe how they moulded their company into an environment where it is enjoyable to work, write quality software and still have enough energy to enjoy the spare time. They describe the deliberate choices they made to create a calm environment where people can do great work without burning out. A lot of the assumptions of how a software company is supposed to work (at least in the US) are challenged and they explain how they go about it. The chapters are all quite short so its easy to read it in small pieces and I really like the writing style.

Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software
by Eric Evans

If you are looking for a book on domain driven design, this is the book that will pop up as the “standard”. It is not a short book but I think it is worth a read. Maybe it did not have to be that long but there is quite a bit of information in it. There are lots of examples and some of them help to make the point but some could have been left out. The author approaches the subject very methodically and tries to give a complete picture of all the aspects, methods and ideas behind domain driven design. In some areas it starts to show its age but that is interesting in its own way. Even though some parts felt a bit dry I am glad that I have read it and I did learn something.