Reading In between employments

Whenever i move from one employer to another, I make sure to take a few weeks off to read.
So I will have new knowledge than i can potentially be a better person at the new job.

This gives me chance to detox (from the old Job) and catch up on all the books I’ve bought but haven’t read yet.
This allows me to learn new things that i might be able to use to improve the way I work.

Don’t just buy books, buy the time to read them too.

This might be an expensive move, few weeks of unemployment.

But this means that to be able to do this, you should’ve already built healthy personal finance habits.
This basically means you should have an Emergency Fund. An Emergency fund is about 3-6 months worth of your living expenses.
Living expenses, not monthly salary.

There are many good reasons to have this which includes the ability to take weeks of rest when you resign from a job.
This also allows you to not be scared of losing your job, which means you won’t be afraid to stand up for things you know are right.

No more summer vacations

Summer vacations end the moment we leave college.
its always nice to have one every few years.
I’m not recommending you have one every year though.
But in case you do get that chance, take that time to unwind and prepare properly for a new career ahead.

Books are not scary

I read personal development books, mostly to learn, but what keeps me going is that i find it fun.

Books are filled with real-life stories and anecdotes

personal development books are not all numbers, figures and data, they are not like your elementary or college textbooks!

authors often take time to interview and gather stories of other people to support the topic they are writing about, reading stories is pretty much like how you read about scifi or fiction novels, only that this is real life.

What’s the deal breaker here is to find good story tellers, I often buy and stick with authors who are good story tellers.
those books (and their amazing story tellers) are listed here

Personal development books often have 1-10 concepts only!

believe it or not, there are not lots of concepts that you need to ingest for each book, good authors try to lessen cognitive load (quality over quantity).
many formats go iike 2-10 topics/concepts repeated over and over, via different stories and anecdotes reaching up to, oftentimes, 300 pages.

You do not need to finish a book in one day!

too many people pressure themselves into doing this, and if not possible they just wont read at all.

I actually don’t recommend this, I often break down a 300 page book into 10-12 pages per day (every morning), that’s 25-30 days!

this habit gives me lots of time to think about what i read per day and make them really stick, this is like watching your favorite netflix series where after a few seasons you get absorbed too much in that show’s universe vs bingwatching an 8 part series overnight.

My personal habit is to set a regular routine

whenever possible, when i wake up in the morning and get myself done, i stop by at a coffee shop, to read.
there’s just that ambiance that says “you should be productive here”, maybe because there are other people working, reading, studying as well!

then after 30-60mins of reading i go back home or go to work, (by this time im already energized with new ideas that i can reflect on all day)
yes you read that right.. oftentimes it takes me 30-60mins to get thru 10-12 pages.. lol.. lots of re-reading, internalizations, recalling past events where this new found information could’ve been useful, thinking of potential scenarios where i can apply them, etc.. then distractions,,facebook,etc….

Just read that first page and before you know it, your book is done and you’ve adopted a positive habit.

Books that inspired my way of working

Why Books when we already have the Internet?

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First of all, why books when we already have THE INTERNET

Problem with the internet is that too many things are taken out of context.
You get full context, mapping of coherent ideas, frameworks and disclaimers from books, mainly because there were kind people (thanks to all the authors out there) who took the time to organize knowledge.

It was 2015 when I realized this, I was working in Tokyo with Japanese programmers and I learned this habit of theirs. Maybe they do this because they have limited access to materials written in Japanese so they treasure whatever books they get translated, and I believe that’s one thing that makes them very good software developers.


I  believe that the answers to most of our problems have already been written somewhere and is just waiting there on a shelf, or in an online ebook/Kindle/PDF store waiting for us to accept them.


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“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

― André Gide

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Reading just one book can improve your career, simply because it gives you an edge over your peers who rely on out-of-context, easy-to-misinterpret, misguided data from the internet.

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So after that long explanation, here is a list of some of the books and short notes on what I learned from them

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Top 10 Books Every Programmer Should Read

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This list used to the “Most Recommended Books in StackOverflow” and
I often refer to this list at, but the site is no longer available.
and the only related reference to that now is this blog post showing how the author made the site

  1. working effectively with legacy code – Michael Feathers
  2. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software – “The Gang of Four”
  3. Clean Code – Robert Martin
  4. Java Concurrency in Practice – Brian Goetz
  5. Domain Driven Design – Eric Evans
  6. JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford
  7. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture: Martin Fowler
  8. Code Complete – Steve McConnell
  9. Refactoring – Martin Fowler
  10. Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guide  – Eric Freema

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If you want to make the most out of this COVID19 Lockdown you may opt to get these books in Kindle format from Amazon

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these 10 Ebooks (Kindle) will be around $304 in total but is definitely a solid investment for your software development career. The price might seem high for some but trust me, wasting your years doing on unguided,non-standard methodologies is more wasteful.

i have only read 3 of these and the others are still on my shelf,

Working Effectively with Legacy Code is the only resource that gave me a solid definition of what legacy code is and with that the knowledge on how to prevent having legacy code and improving the maintainability of any software project.

Clean Code helped me a lot especially when my career shifted to being just a web developer to being a techlead (from doing most coding to doing code reviews, setting quality standards, automating code reviews, ci/cd)

Domain Driven Design helped me build modular systems which is very important in this age of microservices. I’d argue that everyone who wants to do microservices needs to read this one first. Being a Systems Admininistrator of a Kubernetes-based Architecture, DDD helps me create better microservice designs along with the development teams 


Where I get Ideas

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I actively try to regularly update myself with new concepts/ideas probably mainly because of the fear of missing out or getting outdated or useless within an organization.

I read many articles from
– Medium
– DevRant
– Youtube
– Robert Martin
– GOTO Conferences
– Talks at Google
– Thoughtworks
– Ted Talks
– Facebook Groups for local communities centered on particular topics
  – many more
– groups
– Subscribe to some newsletters
  – (for Cybersecurity News)


I also buy books (I prefer hardbounds, but you can get copies of them online), see this post for short reviews on some of my books


Most talks I watch are around 1hr so how do I make time for it?

I Make time to get new ideas

I do it while eating or while while preparing in the morning or while doing house chores.
Often along commute (good thing youtube and tedtalks android app have download and view offline).

I also use them as background noise while waiting to fall asleep and while working (most people listen to music I guess, I’m a weird one). If you listen to them over and over long enough you will eventually understand it fully, this might be even better than just watching them in one sitting while doing nothing else.

For my books, I don’t just buy them, I buy time for them too.
If I’m feeling very relaxed at home I will go out and look for a coffee shop to read for at least 30 minutess.
I have already associated home for sleep and I have associated coffee shops for productivity.
It is not about the fancy coffee, Its just about buying temporary time within the ambiance that they provide.



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I Attend Events and Listen to people talk about their work


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My benchmark to determine if I have enough articles

1. Someone asks a question.

2. Do I have a post that can explain my viewpoint or have a curated set of bookmarks that can save time explaining it?

  • If yes, then share the link.
  • If no, make one.


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If ever you are experiencing a creativity block,  please try these books from Austin Kleon

They helped me understand what creativity and what to do with it.
They are very easy to read (with awesome Illustrations) and always has 10 Concepts per book.

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What is Legacy Code?

Michael Feather’s defines it as “Code without tests”.

Legacy code is not really about old code.

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Michael Feather’s defines it as “Code without tests”.

Legacy code is not really about old code.
Old code with tests is maintainable, modifiable, readable, it is a testament that the previous team/developer(s) had concern, concern for the craft and the future maintainers of the code and the future of the organization.

spectactor: what is your team doing?

tech lead: ah, they are writing legacy code

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.4.1″][et_pb_column _builder_version=”4.4.1″ type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.4.1″ hover_enabled=”0″]Knowing just this solid definition of what legacy code is gave a direction to my way of coding, and the way set the direction of our software projects. It should be about quality, it could be achieved by automated tests. Test, test, test, acceptance tests, unit tests, integration tests, api tests, the Testing Triangle, all of my projects will have these to ensure we won’t be writing legacy code anymore.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

More Whys

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Start with why

this book will teach you how good companies become good at what they do, and I’ts because they are committed to cause, a purpose. This will tell you why some people are able to reach the top of Maslow’s Pyramid while some cannot.

This will teach you how to communicate Ideas well and how to find the right people to work on them, with you, together.

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