Nice talks, one book & a leitmotif

During the last weeks I met a lot of interesting people. Having talked about the widest plurality of subjects, I realized that there was one common connector, a kind of leitmotif that occurs in almost all conversations I enjoyed. It’s the general situation of our working conditions, which leads to Daniel Pink’s book “Drive”.

This one book is outstanding, but I want to give an overview of all the books I read during the last months. Since I’m a slow reader, you don’t have to be scared: this list is quite short ;–). Have a look at this small pile:

book stack...

So, here are the books from the stack above that I…

..read during the last couple of months

Daniel Pink, Drive

Absolute must-have-read! This book’s title sells it short. It answered so many questions, to name a few:

  • Why did I prefer to switch from superb paid body leasing to working for a company with a much lower salary but much higher “sympathy-factor”?

  • Why do I as a pro dev & IT consultant spend time in open source / non-profit activities in the exact same field in my free time?

  • Why does being paid for reaching goals almost always takes the long term motivation (and fun) out of it?

Plus, this book is walking on the shoulder of giants with a big bad scientific literature list. “There’s a mismatch between what science know, and what business does.” is a well thought repeated phrase during the read.

The big competitive advantage of this book is that it does not just point out the symptoms of the wide spread modern business misbehavior and what to do about them, but the sources.

I repeat: a must-read!

Feel free to check Amazon for an offer.

Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework

Very easy to read, since it’s sliced into short handy chapters which are supported by illustrations by Mike Rohde. Provoking approaches to well known problems and situations that we sometimes see as self evident.

A must-read!

Cory Doctorow, Makers

Great fiction novel, taking place in a not too distance future. Absolutely entertaining book that’s also thought provoking.

Makers, published in October 2009 by Tor (US) and HarperVoyager (UK) is about people who hack hardware, business-models, and living arrangements to discover ways of staying alive and happy even when the economy is falling down the toilet. Weirdly, I wrote it years before the current econopocalypse, as a parable about the amazing blossoming of creativity and energy that I saw in Silicon Valley after the dotcom crash, after all the money dried up. Cory about this book on craphound.com

Gary Vaynerchuk, Crush It!

Social Media Guru writing a book. Hm… I can’t really get excited about a millionaire who succeeded in self marketing after he was already wealthy giving tips about quitting your job to support your family with tweets & blog posts.

To be fair, he describes ways to play the exit from your day job smart.

Bottom line: this book is quite okay, but not really inspiring.

…started to read

Douglas Rushkoff, Life Inc.

Amazing intro – about Rushkoff’s own awakening about the social costs of gentrification biting the colonial gentrificators in the… backside. Absolutely curious about this one!

Steven Levy, Hackers

If “MIT Tech Model Railroad Club” and “TX-0” ring a bell, you’ll like this one.

I stopped reading this historical overview over the history of hacking since I got some more… contemporary & forward oriented books in my hands. But this one’s definitely on amongst the top of the waiting queue.

Seth Godin, Linchpin

Solid tips for being exceptional despite possible stumbling blocks in your way.

I stopped reading it since I didn’t like the subliminal “work like a horse even if your job sucks big time” attitude.

If I don’t like the circumstances I’m in, I change them. If my job sucks, I do everything to change it to the better. If I do not succeed in this plan A, plan B would be finding a place where my attitude & values are more welcome ;–).

That’s why books like “Rework” and “Drive” are more of my taste, although this is definitely a great book, too.

… did not read yet

37Signals, Getting Real

Being addressed to “web application development”, I skipped this one when it came out. Which was a big mistake…

After reading “Rework”, I saw how universal and useful the findings from 37signals about running software projects in general are.

It’s said to be far better than Rework – I can’t tell yet, but I’ll soon find out.

My advice: if you only read one book this year, choose Drive.

Having a look at this video gives you some insight in the general subject that is discussed – and it’s discussed in a very adequate manner.

If you watched that video & don’t feel the urge to get a picture of the whole story – please check your pulse. Otherwise, feel free to go get that book.

OK, so after finishing Life Inc., there’s only two books left on the stack. I’ll have to find some new material to feed my appetite.

What are the last books you read you’d say made a good reading?

If you also read one ore more of these books: what’s your opinion?

Hope you enjoyed these micro-reviews & I’m looking forward to reading your feedback ;–)!


Sven Kräuter | 5v3n