Jake Worth

Jake Worth

One-Sentence Summaries of Popular Technology Books

Published: March 21, 2023 • Updated: November 07, 2023 3 min read

  • books

Here are some one-sentence summaries of books that have helped me understand programming and technology. Some are technical and some are general.

I’m only including books here that I’d recommend reading. This format is reductive by design, so please explore these books to consider the nuances I’m omitting.

I’ll be keeping this list updated as I read more.

One-Sentence Summaries

  1. Beck, Kent and Andres, Cynthia. Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change. If an engineering practice is good (code review) we should do it all the time (pair programming).
  2. Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Our brains change rapidly between generations and the internet is changing them right now.
  3. Ford, Martin. The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. Automation will make some jobs obsolete– not the ones you might think– and also create new jobs.
  4. Godin, Seth. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? As work becomes automated, the people who will still be indispensable at work will have mastered skills like authenticity, passion, and communication.
  5. Godin, Seth. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). Participating in any venture requires an important skill: knowing when to walk away.
  6. Hoover, Dave and Oshineye, Adewale. Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman. Advancing beyond entry-level quickly is possible with the right strategy.
  7. Hunt, Andrew and Thomas, David. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. Programming is a craft and we can learn from other established crafts.
  8. Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs’ genius was seeing potential in ideas that other people underestimated or dismissed.
  9. Krug, Steve. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Great user interfaces ask their users to make very few arbitrary decisions.
  10. Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not a Gadget. The internet has strayed from its founding ideals and could be replaced with something more humane.
  11. Metz, Sandi. Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby. Object-oriented programming can be modeled as a series of messages passed between bicycle components.
  12. Newport, Cal. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. If you want to be passionate about your work, first focus on being good at it.
  13. Norman, Don. The Design of Everyday Things. Design is inseparable from psychology.
  14. Petzold, Charles. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. Computers can be understood by building up a mental model from first principles, starting with a flashlight.
  15. Sinek, Simon. The Infinite Game. Organizations that succeed in the long run choose to play games that don’t have an end (Walt Disney builds Disneyland, a place that can be endlessly improved).
  16. Stanier, James. Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager: How to Be the Leader Your Development Team Needs. Engineering management is teachable, but it takes effort because the proficiency it took to be become one doesn’t guarantee you’ll succeed at it.
  17. Swartz, Aaron. The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz. Thoughtful essays about technology and ethics from one of the web’s founders.
  18. Conery, Rob. The Imposter’s Handbook: a CS Primer for Self-Taught Developers. Quickly learn the fundamentals of CS from a self-taught ‘imposter.’

What’s Next

The following books are in my to-read pile:

  • The Mythical Man Month
  • Programming Pearls
  • Code Complete
  • CSS: The Definitive Guide
  • Peer Reviews in Software
  • Sustainable Web Development
  • Working Effectively With Legacy Code

Please send me recommendations for more reading!

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know!

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