Productivity as a developer may be measured in lines of code produced by cup of coffee consumed, but it’s not a very useful metric. Effectiveness, or doing the right thing, is more important that cranking out code and learning yet another new technology. To do this, you need to step away from the keyboard for a while and focus on knowledge and soft skills that will allow you to use your programming skills more effectively.
These are my 3 favorite book to learn the skills you need to be more effective and do the right thing. I suggest you read the books in the order they’re presented since they build nicely on each other, but they are all worth your time individually.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
With all the new ideas going around and all the skills you could potentially learn, it’s easy to be pulled in many conflicting directions. This book will help you figure out what’s really important in your life and your career and help you focus on it.
I’m pretty susceptible to this myself : if I let my guard down for a few weeks, I’ll end up with a thousand things on my plate. This book was was a great help in refocusing and choosing goals for the next year so I can go forward with a few things that really matters to me.
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
Once you have a few good goals, how to you apply them? I believe that small efforts over the long term is the recipe for success, and I’ve lived according to this principle for a long time. I was glad to find that book, which describes how it works in simple and accessible way.
You want to keep moving in the right direction most of the time: in the end, the results will delight you. But be careful since it works both ways. If you do a bit of the wrong things and dismiss it as not being “that bad”, you’ll end up somewhere you didn’t intend to go.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business
Since small efforts over the long term are a great strategy for success, how do you manage to do it? By building habits in your life that makes doing the right thing natural and effortless. Many things in our lives are driven by habit: you might as well take control and build the right habits.
This is the definitive book to understand habits, how to use them to your advantage in your life and how to get rid of the bad ones. If you could read only one book on soft skills ever, you should read this one and apply it religiously. This is the kind of book that can change your life, one habit at a time.
Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, so I’ll get a small commission if you buy the book using them. You can also search for the books directly on Amazon.