“This is a book that will speak to anyone in their early 30s and up. It’s full of stories of how Sega tried to usurp the behemoth that was Nintendo in the 90s with very unique advertising campaigns and how cross cultural differences ended up tanking their own future. Great personal stories of all people involved and how they came up with the advertising ideas.”
“With a heavy lean toward biology, this book talks about being a great leader and as a result building great teams. Among other things, this includes being a strong team player and highly empathetic, rather than being in more of a dictatorial role.”
“Peter F. Hamilton is a wonderful Sci-Fi author. This series is different from his other series, as it’s a detective series with a sci-fi backdrop. All three books are a fun read. It’s also a nice departure from his normally long novels.”
“Daemon is a technological thriller set in the near future (as in “could happen tomorrow“) that is almost a commentary on all sorts of technological matters, from net neutrality, to google glass, to NSA spying, and beyond. It’s a little slow on the uptake, but as you keep reading, you quickly reach the point where you can’t put it down. I had days where I found myself sitting in my car in my driveway because I needed to hear what happened next. (I listened to the audiobook). The flaw I would point out is that it’s really 1 story spread across 2 books, but it’s definitely worth the read. It took me a few tries to actually get into the story, but once I was invested, I quite literally could not wait to see what happened next. If you love technology (come on, we all do), and want to see what a lot of it thrown together and mixed into a dangerous concoction could look like, this is definitely a spectacle you need to behold. Freedom™ is the second book, but if you read Daemon, just plan on reading Freedom™; There is no re-introduction in Freedom™, it just picks up right where Daemon left off, and continues at the same pace.”
“Phoenix servers recently came up in conversation and lead to these articles. Chef gets us most of the way there, but there is certainly more we can do. And the Netflix idea of having an automated army that purposely breaks unexpected random parts of your infrastructure is scary and awesome at the same time. It would lead to a LOT more automation and less stress in the long run.”
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things is an in-depth look at what it’s really like to run a startup – exploring the tough times where defeat seems imminent and the difficult decision making that occurs that completely changes the future of the company.“
“A classic on management and innovation. His approach to strategically and tactically approaching innovation is a must read. This one of the many books from Alan Kay’s reading list I am starting to devour.”
“Often considered a classic and a must-read in business, Dale Carnegie discusses how to improve your human interactions. In short, people like to be treated with respect and like a person, rather than as simply a means to an end.”
“The simple analogies that Einstein had put forth to explain such hard concepts is welcome, but reading this book you get an appreciation for everything that happened for his ideas to come to light. Amazing to see both the support he gets but also the hard times that fall upon him and others of his time.”
About the presenters
For the last few months, we’ve been collecting book recommendations internally to present at our monthly all-hands engineering meeting. It started out as work related material, but in the processes of collecting everyone’s recommendations it became very apparent that people are far more excited to share their non-work-related picks. It turned out those books were also the more interesting ones to discuss. Of course, the tech books were also solid picks and show what our engineers are excited about on a professional level. The list seemed too good to keep to ourselves… So we thought we’d share it with everyone. We hope you enjoy these as much as our team has. Leave us a comment if you’ve already read or plan to read any of these.
“From the days of the early MIT hackers to the explosion of the personal computer and software industry revolutions, Hackers explores the history of the subculture of tinkerers and creators that made it happen. The stories are testimonials showing that when you give people access to tools and infomation, they are capable of great things. This book is inspirational not in the mushy sense, but in a very direct way that makes you want to grab a soldering iron, some microcontrollers, and start compiling code.”
“Lots of random ideas. Seems like the author went out and did a bunch of cool travels and reading then found a way to tie it in to how right-brainers are becoming super important. Not many take-aways, other than for how to design tools to be holistic, beautiful, and meaningful.”
“The Haskell book was quite mind blowing as an approach to programming. I found Haskell appealing because it combines static typing, compile time checking, functional programming, and a powerful type system, among other things. Usually you only get two or three of those in a language.”
“If you want to know the power of a milli-second and at the same time pissed about the going ons in the financial industry read this. It’s really a story about the power developers have over the world.”
“Nate Silver dives into a diverse set of topics to explore the statistics and methods for making predictions within each of those areas. The topics vary from Major League Baseball to weather prediction to chess. It’s a longer book, but the diversity of topics keep it seeming relatively fresh throughout.“
“The blog post details the Japanese design philosophy of “Super Normal,” which means that when you are trying to create a new product, instead of reinventing the wheel, you take a product or concept that is “normal” to the world and improve upon it. I recommend this article because people often fall into a position of comfort and settling for experiences that seem to be just what we want when they can often be better. We accept a product’s shortcomings, like the cold, difficult-to-hold bucket mentioned in the article, because it gets the job done and/or no one else has done or conceived of anything better yet. The more friction we can remove in all aspects of having our members achieve their goals, the better, and that’s something we should continuously strive toward.“
“Three bios – What they all had in common, was they had a passion for what they did, they were driven to do it, and were not in for fame and money.They were willing to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy following their dream, though it often impacted personal relationships. The Buffet one was good in that he always boiled everything down, no matter how complicated, into simple things. The King one, likewise, he had a straightforward process and stuck to it diligently. The Richards one, just because I’m amazed he’s still alive.“
“Snow Crash predates the Matrix movies and the .hack series of games, and its influence on the subject of virtual-reality in fiction is obvious. A sword-wielding, code-slinging pizza-delivery driver working for the mafia is fired from his job, and begins to uncover the mystery of a new virtual narcotic, “Snow Crash” – which is both a computer virus and a degenerative nerve disease in the real world.”
My colleague Peter Eisentraut and I had the opportunity to speak at PGConf NYC 2014. I gave a talk on how we use pgTAP as part of our Postgres test harness to unit test the PostgreSQL function API we provide to the application developers at MeetMe.
You can find the the slides at http://github.com/grzm/2014-pgconf-nyc-harnessing-pgtap.
The audience asked a lot of good questions and I got to meet some great developers. One of the benefits of speaking at a conference is interacting with the attendees and other speakers. Everyone has a different story to tell based on their own experience. It’s a wonderful way to get fresh perspectives on issues that we see in our own work.
As always, a lot of sharp minds turn out for Postgres events, challenging (in a good way!) the ideas I present, which in turn gives me the chance to reevaluate and improve what we do.
We’ll be releasing the test harness as a Ruby gem in the coming days. We’ve found it useful in providing a straightforward way to develop and test our API. There’s a lot of great work being done in the area of database testing and deployment (such as sqitch), and I’m looking forward to feedback.
I recently wrote about the benefits of speaking, and within that article, I mentioned having recently spoken at the Atlassian Summit 2013 conference. Now that the video is up, I can share it with you. Here it is. Excuse the excessive moving.