Barbarian Goat-Skin Reading Digest April 2012

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Hello Fellas! Looks like my goal for writing 3 blog posts a week was a big #FAIL. What the heck is wrong with time… A man just needs to blink and 2 weeks have passed! what passed… floooown by! :)

Anyhow, where was I…

Yes! I meant to talk about the nice and not so nice books (just being clear here for those of you who didn’t quite get the goat-skin reference) I’ve read this very month. First and foremost, I have to praise Audible and Leo Laporte for bringing AudioBooks into my life: never more shall I die of boredom whilst vacuum cleaning or doing the laundry, never more shall I grumble when needing to throw the recycling, or wash the dishes, never more…

Ok, so I’ve found that I like to mix literature+knowledge+programming into the mix, I will usually read programming books on ebook format, and alternate listening to literature and non-literature.

Programming: This Month I Went Back To Basics

A couple of months ago, I was reviewing Jeff Atwood’s [Recommended Reading For Developers][] and I noticed… damn… I haven’t read yet “The Pragmatic Programmer”, what kind of software developer am I? XD So I decided to make some space in my infinite-list-of-goat-skins-to-read and I must say it was a shock! A loooot of the best-practices related stuff that I’ve learnt since I started my career from lots of different sources were right there, in one place, waiting for me… smiling quizzically ^_^. It was very fun and interesting to read, although at times some of the references seemed ancient in this fast-pace programming world we live in. I remember laughing to myself when reading the “broken window” (Software Entropy) passage and realizing that I had used a similar metaphor when explaining the importance of code cleanliness in a previous job.

I also read The Art Of Readable Code. I bumped into this book as I was preparing some sessions on improving code readability I thought to base mostly on Clean Code. It was great! A whole opus with the sole purpose of helping you write the best code possible (readability-wise), what else can you hope for? XD And it is always nice to have these relaxing soft reads from time to time.

“Code should be written to minimize the time it would take for someone else to understand it.”

Dustin Boswell and Trevor Foucher The Art of Readable Code

Literature: Finding a Conclusion to Katniss’ Saga

The only literary piece I finished this month was Mockingjay, putting an end to Katniss Everdeen’s Oddisey. I definitely and thoroughly enjoyed it, as much as any of the previous books of the series. The imaginative dystopian future, the evocative scenes, the breath-taking finale… hehe :) cannot say more!

Non-Literature: The Mixer

I love wine. Who doesn’t? But I’ve always felt like an ignorant, and twice as much now that I’m living in Sweden. Back in Spain I knew my wines. In Spain, you go to a restaurant for dinner, you ask for the wine selection, and voilá, there you have the familiar names, all Spanish varieties: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat… In Sweden however, they like variety, and that’s wonderful indeed, but I find myself in a predicament any time I see the wine listings with brands from South Africa, Australia, California, France, Italy, Germany… Merlots, Chardonnays, Shirazes… you see the problem I reckon. So I thought it was about time to learn something about wine and went for Wine For Dummies, yeah I know… For Dummies, I’ve never ever picked up a good book from those series. But like a fly to the honey, I feel attracted to them any time there’s a subject I feel I don’t know anything about. And so, there I went to read Wine For Dummies, it was ok, short, to the point and … for dummies.

I also like to find ways to be more productive. I think programmers have a fixation with this; the skillset we have and the era we live in join together to allow us to build, to create anything we can imagine, the only thing we need is time, but there seems to be so very few of it. Thus, we buy into any system, technique or methodology that promises to empower us to be able to do more! The Power Of Habit seemed like a good read for this month, the premise: learn to control your habits and you’ll find happiness (or something). It didn’t quite satisfy me though, I was expecting a guide, a recipe: do A, B, C and you’ll be able to create a healthy habit, instead the book contains a series of stories, anecdotes of sorts, that serve to illustrate how habits can impact our lives. Nothing wrong with this, wiser men sometimes say it’s the path and not the destination, but it just was not what I was expecting. I would have probably learned as much by reading Wikipedia.

Another book that was actually pretty good was Tribes. Within its pages, Seth Godin tells us, prompts us, shouts at us take matters into our own hands, to defy the statvs qvo, to become leaders each and one of us. I loved its freshness, and wholeheartedly recommend it, lovely read indeed.

Wrap Up

In summary:

Damn, this post ended up being much longer than I had anticipated. I should probably take each book separately next time…

Until next time ^_^

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