The Dark Forrest
The second part in the three-body problem trilogy and it is fantastic. This series is by far the best science-fiction that I’ve read to date. It follows up the first book, at first slow but then accelerates madly just getting better and better. Mind blown over and over by the brilliant author.
At the time of writing this I’m already several hours into the final book and I can’t put it down!
The Unwritten Laws of Engineering
Originally a 1944 classic about the unwritten “house rules” of the engineering profession (but now updated and revised a bit for the modern age). I didn’t know at all what to expect but had to take a peek into this short book and I must say that it’s a pretty solid book.
It’s very short and on point (though some parts was a bit tedious) and has many good advices that holds up.
This is likely the most fucked up story of a company I’ve ever read. It has everything. Batshit crazy leaders trying to create tech to save peoples lives which just doesn’t work and instead hurts them, insane amount of venture capitalist money and total manipulation using prolific people and media hungry for success stories. It is one scary story which just grows and grows, well worth a read.
The Future of Humanity
I’ve seen Michio Kaku on TV but never read any of his books (though I’ve owned another of his books for many years). The writing is very similar to his TV shows, it’s cutting edge science mixed with probable science fiction.
For good and bad, the book contains a lot of interesting and cool things - which means it can be a bit overwhelming, it’s so much stuff. The common thread through the book is a bit forced at times as well.
Having worked in software development with Scrum-like processes, I thought it was time to read about it from the inventor. This book isn’t a educational textbook but a history where things came from and why.
Over all, it’s a good read with solid sound ideas. My main criticism is that it at times seems too good to be true, like it’s the phenomenal cure to all problems, not only in software development but poverty in Africa and much more.
It doesn't have to be crazy at work
This is a book every boss, manager and employee should read. It’s about working effectively but in a calm and deliberate manner. It’s fairly short, it’s on point and it really resonates with me.
The many anecdotes from the creators of Basecamp proves that it’s possible to work this way, how bad behaviors can be changed to good ones and how they reached to their conclusions.
How to build a car
I’ve got no interest in cars or racing at all, but I do really like engineering biographies. I guess that says something about me finishing this book and I did like it.
It’s a mix of technical car engineering stories, personal life anecdotes and a lot of work. Workaholism aside, it was a fun and interesting read.
The Three-Body Problem
This is a really great science-fiction book, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. I like the mix of real science and engineering concepts mixed with, you guessed it, fictional science.
It’s the first book in a trilogy, though I’m rarely a fan of book series, it may be good one in this case. Also fun to read something of a Chinese author.
I saw the movie adaptation when it came out and thought it was great. The book is very similar, so not as fun to read after seeing it, but it has more of the detailed good stuff so still worth it.
I like the very realistic story and scenarios, the snarky tongue-in-cheek cursing dialog / monolog of the main character and generally the feel of it.
The Joy of Less
The minimalism movement makes a lot of sense to me and I really like it (when it’s not to cult-y). This books is a mixed bag of what I’ve head from The Minimalists, cleaning guru Marie Kondo and many environmentalists.
It’s mostly good, practical but feels a bit targeted to women in the USA. For me, it was one of those books which started out good but I lost interest half-way in.
The Big Short
I tend to avoid financial things as much as possible since they bum me out but I have seen the movie adaptation of this book many times and really liked it.
The book is similar but more in depth. Many financial concepts flew over my head (which is kinda the premise of the book) but it was still a very good read. A story everyone should know and be really upset about.
Mars Rover Curiosity
An inside story of the history of the Mars rover Curiosity and the lander it used. It’s told through the eyes of Rob Manning, the Chief Engineer at NASA / JPL, and details from the conception of the idea to landing on Mars.
The focus is mainly through engineering, what problems arose, how they were solved and the politics surrounding the process. It’s for the more nerdy of us but an interesting read nonetheless.
Endurance is the autobiography of American astronaut Scott Kelly who among much more spent a year in space on board the International Space Station.
It’s a super interesting and sobering view of what it means to be an astronaut - much harder and not as romantic as one might think.
Black Klansman, the true story of how a black cop infiltrated the KKK (I haven’t seen the movie adaptation). It’s a good, interesting story but to me it wasn’t really a super exciting page-turner.
It has many good ‘scenes’ and anecdotes but it wasn’t as dramatic as I’d expected and it didn’t wrap up in a satisfying way (hard to criticise since it’s a real story).
I’d been excited about this graphical novel for a while but unfortunately I think it felt short. The art is pretty and the story had potential but the execution wasn’t great. The story felt jumpy and didn’t develop enough, maybe it needed more editing or maybe it needed more pages to fully express all intentions.
This book is a masterpiece. It’s about humanity, from taming fire to capitalism and everything in between and around. The author poignantly describes many of our human behaviors in an often thought provoking way.
It’s hard to summarize this book, it’s dense but insightful in a way that’s hard for me to explain. Let’s just say that it gave me a lot to thing about.
This book is about the African-American female mathematicians who worked at NASA, and a much broader and in-depth story than what was depicted in the movie with the same name.
Despite telling a story about war, racism, segregation and misogyny, there’s always a positive and optimistic drive in the people portrayed which I really liked.
I heard a lot of hype about this book but to me it didn’t really deliver. It had some really good plot points and a few very interesting ideas but for the most part it felt like a shallow Hollywood movie in book form.
I gave up reading this book twice but somehow still plowed on. Was it worth finishing? Yes. Would I recommend it? No. (Unless you’re in the mood for a Hollywood-like story, then go for it!)
The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck
I’ve started reading many psychology / life philosophy books but rarely finish any of them. This one on the other hand, despite the easy to misunderstand title, hooked me good and I binged it in two days.
I found it had some really solid life advice that resonated with me packed, in an easy to read and straight forward way. To give some critique, I think the book lost speed and focus towards the last two hours or so.
I was going to say that this was my first Neil Gaiman until I noticed that he’s the author of Coraline (which also has a fantastic movie adaptation). Anyway, it’s been a while since a fictional book hooked me like this one did. It’s one of those books that made me feel fully immersed in the described world.
Well written, good tempo, fantastic characters and environments - and as a bonus, you learn some things about more or less obscure gods.
How to change your mind
I’ve kept my eyes on Michael Pollan after seeing his excellent Netflix series Cooked. Never thought I would read a book about psychedelic drugs though, but this was a fascinating and many times mind blowing (no pun intended) read.
The book explains how psychedelics can be used as medicinal treatments and why it’s starting to be accepted now despite having been around for decades. It’s also a good historical book which dives into many different angles and persons.
Two quotes stuck with me: “the betterment of well people”, as in we can be better even though we’re not sick and “Psychedelics, used responsibly and with proper caution, would be for psychiatry what the microscope is for biology and medicine or the telescope is for astronomy.” (Stanislav Grof).
Saga, book 2
Continuing with the next book in the amazing Saga series. Book two brings more of the good from book one and continues in the same vein. If you liked book 1 then you’ll definitely also like book 2. The only sad thing is that there is no book 3 yet so either I have to start reading the smaller releases (single issues or smaller volume collections) or wait for the next book. Not sure what I’ll do, but I’m 100% sure that I will continue to read this fantastic series in some way.
Quiet girl in a Noisy World
Subtitled “An Introvert’s Story”, this is a graphical novel from Debbie Tung who is, like me, an INFJ according to the Myers-Briggs test. The book is, I presume, most enjoyable if you’re an introvert yourself and thus can relate to all the feelings and situations. I guess it can also serve as a good introduction for extroverts to learn more about introversion without having to plow through a dense book like Quiet (also mentioned here on this page).
The book itself looks kinda thick but not much text so you can plow through it in one sitting if you wish.
Quiet is a book about introversion (and extroversion but mainly focused on introversion because that’s needed). As an introvert myself I’ve read some about this topic but this book took it to a whole new level. It’s very thorough, covers fascinating historical aspects, a lot of personal anecdotes but always tries to tie it to scientific research.
I really, really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to everyone, introverts and extroverts alike, and especially parents because it can teach everyone more about how we humans function differently.
This is a truly epic graphical novel collection with almost 40 issues (a coworker bought the huge bundle). I’ve seen he movie several times before, although many years ago now, and while it’s good, it is a bit confusing and not fully coherent (as I remember it). The graphical novels are more thorough and make lot more sense, and while the story is similar, it’s also very different so you should definitely read this and not just see the movie (or see the movie afterwards if you haven’t looked at either).
At times, it is a little too violent for extended periods of time for my taste and in honesty it could probably have been a bit shorter. Overall though, it was a good read which captivated me during my holiday. Many dystopian and post-apocalypse vibes to be had.
Born to run
I’ve never liked running and I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve done it. Still, I devoured this book from beginning to end.
It feels, from time to time, hyperbole in its praise of how good running is, especially barefeet running, but otherwise this book is a real thrill. Adventures, historical anecdotes, exciting characters and one hell of a story.
If there is one thing that could get anyone excited about running, it would be this book.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Continued immediately with the part 2 in the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. The name of the book is (for those of you who’ve read it) brilliant. I especially like the part with the animal that wants to be eaten.
After having finished this one, I need a break to read something else before I continue to part 3. Although it is very good, it’s a little too much to read book after book.
Saga, book 1
I try from time to time to read graphic novels. It’s something I “should” like but rarely get into. I start many of them but almost never finish any. Saga on the other hand got me good! I plowed through this 500 page book and loved every second of it.
The story is great, the art is great. It’s fast paced, imaginative and very thrilling. Perfect to start reading now when there’s a book version of the first 18 issues and even better, there’s already a part 2 book!
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Truly one of the classics in “geek literature”. I read this when I was around 13 (I think) in Swedish so it was time to re-read it and in English this time. I’ve picked it up once before but thought it had too much nonsense then. This time I was ready for nonsense and it was great!
It’s smart, it’s funny and there’s a lot going on all. Will definitely read the rest of the series now.
Hello Ruby - Adventures in Coding
A childrens book about programming? Sounds weird but it absolutely works! I bought it when it was first released and I also had the pleasure to invite the author Linda to here when I was in the Øredev conference program committee.
This time I re-read it for the first time for my daughter. She’s too small to understand anything yet but she seemed to enjoy my voice and looking at the pictures.
I’ll be sure to read it to her more times as she grows up.
The girl with the lower back tattoo
Not sure why I picked up this book. I’ve never really seen anything by Amy but I guess this was recommended to me at some point. The book is a really good read though. It’s a autobiography filled with a wonderful mix of comedy and tragedy. Everything feels very real and Amy must be given credit for her ability to convey horrible things which has happened to her in a serious but at the same time humorous way.
I’ve heard a lot about this book on the podcast greater than code. The book is written by Marshall Rosenberg and details his communication process. It’s one of those books you should revisit and read several times. Generally a very good book, gave me a lot to think about and I think it does improve communication skills. At times the real world stories seems almost too good to be true. Still too early to tell if the approach works or not, but I believe it will (at least to some degree).
In Order to Live
This is an extremely good & touching book written by Yeon-mi Park. She was born in North Korea, fled to China but was forced into trafficking until finally reaching South Korea. It’s unbelievable how much misery Yeon-mi has been through. The book will both give you a chance to peek in to the mind of someone raised in a dictatorship and how adapting to the outside modern world can be challenging, but also a how traffickers take advantage of the ones in need.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
How to raise a child as a feminist, written as a letter from the author (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, mentioned below) to her friend. It’s short, concise, easy to read / understand and on point. It served as a good reminder for me that not all countries or communities has progressed particularly much, at least I would be truly chocked if I heard anyone telling the parents of a new born girl that you wish she find a good husband when she grows up.
The second book (Finn Family Moomintroll in English) about the Moomins from Tove Janssons that I read. This is the book where Thingumy and Bob arrive clutching a large suitcase containing the King’s Ruby which they stole from the Groke. I once saw a documentary about Tove Jansson where it was claimed that this was based on Tove’s love towards another woman which they had to keep secret since homosexuality was illegal at the time in Finland.
Being a Dad Is Weird: Lessons in Fatherhood from My Family to Yours
A humorous book written by Ben Falcone who shares his thoughts about what it’s like being a dad - but in reality the book is mostly a bunch of anecdote about his father (which is not a bad thing). It’s an easy read, funny and humane. I liked it a lot. A good light read.
This is the story about the notorious dark web site Silk Road and the man behind it. This is one hell of a story. It’s informative but at the same extremely entertaining, like a real good thriller, almost to good to be real.
This book his highly recommended, not just for the technically inclined but for everyone who wants to read a really gripping and fascinating story.
Harry Potter & The prisoner of Azkaban
Third book in and off to a great start. I remember that the Prisoner of Azkaban was the first movie that was starting to be decent in the series.
The books are generally getting better and better but for some reason I got tired and unfocused by the book’s ending.
Lupin is still one of my favorite characters from the series.
Harry Potter & The philosophers stone
I read all the Harry Potter books in Swedish while growing up, now many years later I thought it was time to revisit them and experience them in their original language.
The first book in the series was as good as I remembered it and I think it still holds up. It’s an amazing magical world to escape from reality into!
(I feel like Harry & Gryffindor wins a bit too much, poor Slytherins.)
Harry Potter & The chamber of secrets
Continued with the second book and I’m still very pleased with them. It was so long ago that I read them that I don’t remember many of the major plot points so they’re still a blast to read.
Dobby was perhaps more annoying than I remembered but overall another great book with a lot of the Hogwarts mysticism.
The 4 – Hour Body
Tim Ferris is an partly interesting, partly insane, and always rigorously testing and trying out new things. This book is intended to give you tips for getting a hot body. While many things sounds scientifically rooted, some just isn’t and that undermines the entire book. Two glasses of red wine every day is ok - could that be because Tim really likes wine? Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours - are you fucking kidding me?
There’s also a chapter about sex which include detailed guides along the lines of “do 9 half-insertions followed by one full insertion, repeat for five minutes” and an anecdote along the lines “once I ate huge amounts of stake and I made ladies so horny that they threw themselves at me”. Ugh…
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
It’s hard not to notice the super entrepreneur Elon Musk, mostly known as the man behind Tesla and SpaceX. This book gives a colorful insight into his life and the history of himself as well as his companies.
After reading it I found myself partly amazed at his tireless efforts to continue no matter what backlashes, but also disgusted about how he treats his employees including being mad at a co-worker for leaving to witness the birth of his child.
We Should All Be Feminists
This is a short read and can probably be considered a primer to feminism. It’s the first feminist literature that I’ve read and I found it well argued, on point and very relevant. This should be a no brainer for everyone to read and would serve well as being part of our educational curriculum.
You can also watch the TedTalk presented by the auther herself - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I believe this TedTalk is pretty much identical to the book content.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
It has been a long time since I read the original Harry Potter books but back then I really loved them. This book took a little while to get used to reading since it is a script for a play. This gives the story a weird flow but after a while it’s pretty nice, fast paced and mainly dialog.
I’m not really fond of ‘grown up’ Harry Potter who avoids eating sugar - I want an escape from reality. Overall though it’s good enough.
The Little Elixir and OTP Guidebook
This is the perfect book for learning OTP if you already know a little bit of Elixir - or if you’re mostly curious about learning OTP and not all the semantics of Elixir.
It will give you a short intro to Elixir, dive deeper into OTP behaviors, supervision, distribution, fault tolerance, load balancing and finish with exploring type specification, property based and concurrency testing.
It’s easy to read, encouraging and on point. I liked it a lot.
Kometen kommer (Comet in Moominland) is the second Moomin book in the series but the first one I’ve read.
It’s filled with wonderful whimsical characters but at the same time has an unnerving feeling about inevitable disaster (the book was written during the second world war).
Some pages contains beautiful illustrations by Tove herself which adds to the reading experience.
Truly one of the classics in software development. It has some clues which reveals its age, such as the mentioning of 640x480 screen resolution is, but it still feels timeless and relevant.
This is one of those books every programmer really should read at least once. It’s filled with good tips, both in terms of technology but also regarding human behavior.
Whatever background you have, whether you’re experienced or a beginner, if you haven’t read this book yet you really should!
Distributed systems for fun and profit
This is a free e-book written by Mikito Takada which covers a variety of topics associated with distributed programming. It’s kinda short and I imagine some might say that it only scrapes the surface while other will get more than enough details. In my opinion, it’s enough to make you understand the fundamental aspects while deliberately avoiding the complicated, gritty details. If you do want to understand something in detail, the author will point you to the appropriate place for that as well.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly
A cute, but at the same time, dark and challenging story about a hen who longs for freedom and a better life. Many parallels can be drawn to how we humans live and I think we all can relate at least to some of the events which takes place throughout the book. The book is not very long which I liked; it’s condensed, well written and I think it will stay with me for a long time.
Bli grymt rik på aktier!
This is a Swedish book about doing business on the stock market. It’s a light read with 150 pages and it teaches you the most fundamental things to think about when dealing with stocks. The text is not very technical so it is easy to understand but it lacks depth (but that’s what I wanted). To me it felt very down to earth with a focus on long term goals and a reasonable growth rate.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Alyse Knorr, the author of this book, tell the story about the development and legacy of the Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. 3 but also the story of her experience of growing up as a girl who preferred video games over barbies. The two stories are intertwined throughout the book, you read about the launch of the game, the design of the mechanics and other curiosities for a while to then switch over to the other more personal story about her life and how Super Mario affected it. I enjoyed reading it a lot!
The Passionate Programmer
One of the modern classics of programming soft-skill books. I’ve owned it for many years but didn’t read it until now. It contains many tips about how to become a better worker and remain passionate about your job. I think this books in large can be applied for other professions as well even though it is very targeted for programmers.
This book is about the history of Pixar written by one of its founders: Ed Catmull. It explores many angles of how to combine business and creativity. I especially found the process of how the Pixar are created interesting as they often start out as something completely different and by a long iterative process are shaped into the final result we get to experience.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami is my favorite fictional author and I believe this book is one of his best. 1Q84 is my absolute favorite but this one is my second choice. Strange, surreal and a typical Murakami protagonist. A perfect summer read.