Monday, January 03, 2022

2021 in books

2021 books
2021 books
As with many things 2021 didn't quite go to plan with my reading. There were too many distractions in the first half of the year, but I got some reading time in the second half. The lack of holidays, flying and commuting didn't really help overall. 

As always this is a mix of light fiction and books related to work, which this year mostly means management. 

In the last quarter I also got into a fiction / non-fiction rhythm. This gives my brain a bit of rest between the "serious" books. 

I also started to use readwise. It is a services that resurfaces your notes from books you have read to make it easier to remember then. Once I started using it I also started using notes much more concious, because I know they will be useful in the future. Previously I only sometimes exported them to use in my Zettelkasten system. I still do that for some topics. 

But now to the books. First the ones I finished by type and lastly the one I didn't finish.  

Management & Engineering

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations

Very popular book, but I found it boring. It is basically a long interpretation of a survey. This could have been a short series of blog posts.   

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business 

 This is great. I really liked The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. And this is a summary of most of his books without the fables. This makes it a quick read, while still containing all the important information.    

Resilient Management

This is targeted at Engineering Managers, but worth a read for all managers. Pretty short too. 

The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

Targeted at executive managers, but really applies to everyone joining a new team as a leader.  I am just not sure I could pack all of this into 90 days. 

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams 

I read this a long time ago, maybe 20 years ago. A lot of the examples seem to be old fashioned, mentioning telephones and public announcement systems in offices. But once you look past this and replace them in your mind with Zoom and Slack you notice that not much has changed and a lot of their findings still apply.

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code (Addison-Wesley Signature Series 

We read this in our engineering book club at Devex. It consists of two parts, first the introduction to the idea of refactoring and then a catalogue of refactorings. Not the best book for a book club, but still a classic and worth reading. 

Currently we are reading A Philosophy of Software Design.

Science Fiction

Leviathan Falls (The Expanse #9) 

The final book in one of the best space operas out there. Sometimes it goes too much into fantasy with magic and gods. The last book made a lot of use of this to close the story.  

Children of Time (Children of Time #1) 

I really enjoyed this. It got recommended to me from a few directions and it was a fun read. Not ideal if you hate spiders.     

Project Hail Mary 

I went through this in two days. Lovely read with a lot of sciency bits and the usual witty writing. 


The Dark Hours (Renée Ballard, #4; Harry Bosch Universe, #35)
Never Let Me Down Again (John Milton #19)
Bulletproof (John Milton Series #20)

I get every new release by Michael Connelly and Mark Dawson. This is really light and fun reading. I like heroes that are not perfect and Bosch and Milton fit right in.  

Yours Until Death 

I am a big fan of Nordic noir, but this was not good. It might be the translation, but it was close to unreadable.     

In Bad Company (Sandhamn Murders, #9) 

Another Nordic noir. I keep reading this series, but it is also not really that good. I guess I just enjoy the Swedish scenery.  This is perfect beach reading, if you can get to a beach. 


Rumble Strip: If You Want to Get Away with Murder, Buy a Car

A comic about how bad cars are. Really depressing and painful to read. But beautiful drawn and witty.

Given up on or paused 

I didn't finish these for on reason or another. While in the past I would have waded through the mud until the end, I now rather give up and start something better.

Children of Ruin (Children of Time, #2) 

While I liked the first one, this one was no fun. 

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work  

Too focused on the US education system. Maybe it gets better toward the end? 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Revised and Updated: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Can I have a very short version of this please? I couldn't get into the writing style. I might give it another go in the future.    

1 comment:

  1. Love that you do this! And will look into readwise. Thanks Christof and Happy New Year!