As part of the Open Spaces at DevOpsDays Raleigh, the group decided to do a “Book Club” to share interesting books, podcasts, etc. that would be interesting to us DevOps folks. The members of the conversation were Magnus Hedemark (thanks for tweeting all these), Nirmal Mehta, John Willis, Aaron Huslage, and myself. Here is a compiled list from that discussion:
The End of Heaven: Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age by Sidney Dekker — Accidents and disasters have become technical problems without inherent purpose. When told of a disaster, we easily feel lost in the steely emptiness of technical languages of engineering or medicine.
Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software by Michael T. Nygard — A single dramatic software failure can cost a company millions of dollars — but can be avoided with simple changes to design and architecture.
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler — Semler turned his family’s business, the aging Semco corporation of Brazil, into the most revolutionary business success story of our time. By eliminating unneeded layers of management and allowing employees unprecedented democracy in the workplace, he created a company that challenged the old ways and blazed a path to success in an uncertain economy.
The Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices: The Reality of Managing Complex Problems in Organisations by Paul Culmsee and Kailash Awati — When it comes to solving complex problems, we often perform elaborate rituals in the guise of best practices that promise a world of order, certainty, and control. But reality paints a far different picture, which practitioners are often reluctant to discuss.
2 Second Lean Book by Paul Akers
Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff — The eye-opening true story of the government’s secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil — a narrative that span from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.
The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier — Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal — especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you.
In Search of Certainty: The Science of Our Information Infrastructure by Mark Burgess — Quite soon, the world’s information infrastructure is going to reach a level of scale and complexity that will force scientists and engineers to approach it in an entirely new way. The familiar notions of command and control are being thwarted by realities of a faster, denser world of communication where choice, variety, and indeterminism rule. The myth of the machine that does exactly what we tell it has come to an end.
How Complex Systems Fail by Richard I. Cook, MD — Being a Short Treatise on the Nature of Failure; How Failure is Evaluated; How Failure is Attributed to Proximate Cause; and the Resulting New Understanding of Patient Safety
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins — The Challenge: Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. — Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? sums up Lou Gerstner’s historic business achievement, bringing IBM back from the brink of insolvency to lead the computer business once again.
The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time: How Apple, Ford, IBM, Zappos, and others made radical choices that changed the course of business by Verne Harnish — Decisions equal success-nothing happens until one is made. Businesses make millions of decisions every day. But once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox — Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry — even to your bosses — but not to your competitors.
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert I. Sutton — The definitive guide to working with — and surviving — bullies, creeps, jerks, tyrants, tormentors, despots, backstabbers, egomaniacs, and all the other assholes who do their best to destroy you at work.
Time Management: Increase Your Personal Productivity And Effectiveness by Harvard Business School Press — Time is the one thing no manager has enough of. Through goal setting, prioritizing, delegation, and other proven techniques, this guide helps managers maximize their personal productivity within and their impact on their organizations. The Harvard Business Essentials series provides comprehensive advice, personal coaching, background information, and guidance on the most relevant topics in business. Whether you are a new manager seeking to expand your skills or a seasoned professional looking to broaden your knowledge base, these solution-oriented books put reliable answers at your fingertips.
The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal — Drawing from groundbreaking research, psychologist and award-winning teacher Kelly McGonigal, PhD, offers a surprising new view of stress — one that reveals the upside of stress, and shows us exactly how to capitalize on its benefits. There is a great TED talk that Kelly McGonigal did too.
Thanks for Reading!
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I'm Chris Short, 20+ veteran of the IT industry and 11 year veteran of the US Air Force. I help people and companies embrace DevOps practices and tools through writing and public speaking. I am a staunch advocate for transparency and open source solutions to problems.