Books

The Books I Read in 2017

I wanted to write a blog post about the books I’ve read in 2017.

I managed to go through 20 books this year.

They’ve been organised in the following categories:

  • Business
  • Fitness
  • Personal Development
  • Programming

Of course, a book in one category can often have information that applies to other categories, so this is just a pretty broad classification.

I really recommend you get an Audible.com subscription. It’s amazing how much material you can cover by listening a bit while walking around or working out.

Business

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume

The Personal MBA

The Personal MBA teaches simple mental models for every subject that’s key to commercial success. From the basics of products, sales & marketing and finance to the nuances of human psychology, teamwork and creating systems, this book distils everything you need to know to take on the MBA graduates and win.

I knew a business is about making a profit, but I wanted a deeper understanding than that. This very accessible book filled that need. I think every Computer Science course should include a module covering these topics as I found the business aspect of software development is often overlooked by programmers.

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

Built to Sell

This book teaches you how to put systems in place such that your business can run independently of you. Thus, when it comes to selling your business, buyers are assured that the business will still be profitable without you. In addition, the book also highlights the importance of specialising in a specific niche. Got a lot of “Aha!” moments when reading this book, highly recommended.

Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life

Sell or Be Sold

In Sell or Be Sold, Cardone breaks down the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. You will learn how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness.

OK, Grant Cardone will motivate you like no other. This book will teach you about selling. Grant’s focus is primarily on having a positive, can-do attitude. He advocates taking “massive action” to achieve success in life.

The Millionaire Booklet

Millionaire Booklet

This is the book that introduced me to Grant Cardone. It is about changing your mindset towards wealth. He advocates that you should start thinking of yourself as a business and to focus your time and money in investing in yourself.

The Richest Man in Babylon

Richest Man in Babylon

This book will teach you essential principles of personal finance. A lot of it is pretty common sense, but making sure you have the foundations down is a good investment of your time.

Business Analyst’s Mentor Book: With Best Practice Business Analysis Techniques and Software Requirements Management Tips

BA Mentor Book

This is a high-level introduction to the profession of business analysis. It illustrates the process of software development from a business point of view, with a focus on management. I found a few nuggets in it, but the presentation is very superficial. If you want to learn more about business analysis, I’d look somewhere else.

Fitness

Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition

Nutrient Timing

This book is from 2004 so some of the information is outdated, but nevertheless I got a lot out of it. My main takeaway is that you should have a post-workout shake that includes both protein (whey) and carbohydrates. Briefly, this will achieve a high insulin response, which will shift your muscles from a catabolic state to an anabolic state, promoting protein synthesis and inhibiting muscle breakdown. The conclusions are backed up with many research studies.

The Obesity Code: unlocking the secrets of weight loss

The Obesity Code

This my go-to nutrition book, I loved reading it. Dr Jason Fung advocates that obesity is not a “calories in, calories out” problem, but a hormonal problem. The culprit is insulin. Without going into details, high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance, which prevents our bodies from using fat as an energy source.

There’s a lot of research into insulin resistance done at the moment, and I’m sure dietary policies will change in the near future because of this. I’d also recommend you check out Dr Fung’s talks on YouTube, he’s very good at explaining the science behind all of this.

The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting

Complete Guide to Fasting

This book shows you how to use fasting to fight insulin resistance. The research is compelling. If you’re into fitness, I recommend you look more into this. Personally, after reading this book I’ve changed my nutrition plan and I’ve also experimented with different types of fasting schedules with very promising results.

The Metabolic Typing Diet

Metabolic Typing Diet

In The Metabolic Typing Diet, Wolcott and science writer Trish Fahey provide simple self-tests that you can use to discover your own metabolic type and determine what kind of diet will work best for you. It might be a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet filled with pasta and grains, or a high-fat, high-protein diet focused on meat and seafood, or anything in between.

This book, in principle, makes sense. I have quite a few doubts about the research quality behind the studies, but I didn’t look a lot into this.

Personal Development

Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics

This is also known as the bible of “self-help”. Dr Maltz explains the importance of the self-image when undertaking any goal. There are many actionable techniques on improving one’s self-image, such as visualisation, mental rehearsal, and relaxation. I got a lot out of this book, and will come back to it.

Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed

Maximum Achievement

If you’re into personal development, this is a very good book. It can really help you in all areas of your life. It gives you steps you can implement immediately to improve yourself. I’d read this book yearly to reinforce its messages.

Be Obsessed or Be Average

Be Obsessed or Be Average

More Grant Cardone for you. I really recommend you get the audio version for this one, this guy will make you move mountains. In this book, Grant talks about embracing your obsessions and leaving mediocrity behind. If you need a kick in the butt, this is the book for you.

As a Man Thinketh

As a Man Thinketh

This a very short but powerful book. Briefly, it says that you should be very aware of the quality of your thoughts. To get positive outputs, make sure that your mind’s inputs are also positive.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life

Boundaries

I wish I read this book years ago. It will teach you how to set boundaries with other people and not be manipulated. The principles are very powerful.

Programming

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Clean Code

This is an awesome book focusing on writing good, maintainable code. My code improved significantly after reading it. Clean Code should be mandatory reading for any Computer Science degree or for any software development job. Read it ASAP.

Head First Design Patterns

Head First Design Patterns

Great book for learning design patterns in an engaging way. I’d recommend you first go through this book before looking into the Gang of Four book.

Professional Java EE Design Patterns

Java EE Design Patterns

I’ve covered this book in a reading circle at my company. This inspired me to start a Design Patterns in Java Series on Dragon Programmer to track my progress. It’s an OK book, but if you’re not especially interested in Java EE, I’d go with Head First Design Patterns.

Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide

Complete Software Developer Career Guide

Awesome book by one of my online mentors, John Sonmez from Simple Programmer. If you’re either a beginner programmer or an already experienced professional, this book will show you how to advance your career. Highly recommended.

The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development

Passionate Programmer

This book will teach you how to view your programming career as a business and move beyond being “just a programmer”. You’ll learn how to invest your time wisely and how to make yourself as valuable as possible to your company. The “Act on It” sections in this book give you concrete action points to execute. I was happy to find out I was already implementing a number of suggestions, and now I know how I can further improve myself.

I hope this list was useful to you, enjoy!

About the Author Dragos Stanciu

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