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Good Reads in 2018

by Howard van Rooijen

Most people are publishing lists to mark the passing of yet another year. I need a few more weeks to reflect on 2018 @ endjin, but I do have a list of the books (both technical and non-technical) I’ve bought in 2018.

The first one is technically a cheat, as I’ve just pre-ordered it. After reading “Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful” on Medium, I discovered that Gabriel Weinberg had co-authored a book on the subject. I’m really hoping that “Superthinking: Upgrade Your Reasoning and Make Better Decisions with Mental Models” is as good as the article.

A Programmer’s Introduction to Mathematics by Dr. Jeremy Kun. I spotted this on Hacker News and it was an instant purchase. Maths has been my constant Achilles Heel and this book feels like it was written for me.

In September Ian Griffiths joined endjin as our first Technical Fellow. He’s one of the most fascinating people I know, so I took the opportunity to sit down and recorded a Q&A session with him. One of the many books he mentioned was Charles Petzold’sThe Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing’s Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine“, I didn’t know this existed, but is definitely something I’d enjoy.

I wanted to help teach my godson to programme. Matthew recommended that I take a look at “Oxford International AQA Examinations: International GCSE Computer Science“. It’s a fantastic book – I wish I had something like this when I was at school.

One of my aims for 2019 is to raise the bar on how we use PowerShell at endjin. I’ve purchased Don Jones’ “PowerShell 4N00bs“, “The PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking Book” and Adam Bertram’s “The Pester Book

The buzzword of the moment is “Digital Transformation”. I’d rather remove the “digital” part of the phrase and make organisations realise that transformation is a constant in modern business, but it seems to have resonated with business leaders (journalists and vendors). If you look at the work endjin does – it’s often driven by one of the main motivations of transformation; disruption, governance requirements, operational or productivity improvements. We created a video called “Unlocking Digital Transformation with Azure API Management” and produced 3 different cuts; a 5 minute, a 20 minute or a 50 minute version. If you want to hear our take on that subject. One of the better books I’ve read on Digital Transformation is Venkat Venkatraman’s “The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology“.

If you operate in the Microsoft ecosystem, Michiel van Vliet’s book “Refresh the Road Ahead: A Guide to Successful Business Partnering with Microsoft” is essential reading; there is so much knowledge about how the organisation operates and how the yearly cycle works.

One of the subjects I’ve become a lot more interested in over the last few years is sales & marketing (owning a business will do that to you). “Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles” by Dan Tyre & Todd Hockenberry is a fascinating read about redesigning your organisation to be better aligned with customer needs.

My niece turns 5 soon and I’m very keen to encourage her. Two of her Christmas presents this year were utterly beautiful books “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” and “Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2” by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m a fan of cooking. This year I really wanted to raise “my sauces game” and purchased “Sauces: Savoury and Sweet” by Michel Roux.

Finally, one of my friends has recently become a keen runner. Based on recommendations from James Broome (an experienced runner), I bought him the following for Christmas: “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, “Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall and “Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurek.

About the author

Howard spent 10 years as a technology consultant helping some of the UK's best known organisations work smarter, before founding endjin in 2010. He's a Microsoft ScaleUp Mentor, and a Microsoft Azure MVP. You can follow him on Twitter via @HowardvRooijen