I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. Below are books that I’ve read, some basic thoughts about them, and books that I’m currently reading. You can also find me on Goodreads.
I’ve given up on maintaining this list, so just check out what I’m reading on Goodreads if you’re interested! :)
Books Read - 2019
I read way too many books in 2019 to update this site, so definitely check out my Goodreads profile if you’re interested in what I was up to in 2019.
Limetown by Cote Smith
Designing Data-Intensive Applications by Martin Kleppmann
Vmware Vsphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort
Books Read - 2018
Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
I found the book to be better and more satisfying than the podcast.
Database Reliability Engineering: Designing and Operating Resilient Database Systems by Laine Campbell and Charity Majors
This was an outstanding book. Campbell and Majors manage to pack so much information into a succinct and easy to read book, and that’s a true testament to their competency in database engineering. They do an excellent job of laying out the elements of a highly reliable and scalable database infrastructure. The book includes excellent discussion of so many topics, including developing SLOs, database monitoring, providing developers with the tools they need to interact with the database, automating database activities in a repeatable way, and much more.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the brief discussion asserting that there is no such thing as “human error” as an RFO. We need to ask ourselves why the processes and tools broke down and put a human in a scenario where they could cause an outage. I used to talk about this issue all the time when I did more telecommunications work where the tools were overly complex and opaque, practically guaranteeing that a person would make a mistake that resulted in downtime. Overall, I frequently recommend this book to anyone in operations and engineering, not just database work.
Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story by Peter Bolton
This one has been on my reading list for a few years. I’m pretty sure it showed up when I started reading The Phoenix Project. It’s a quick read (about 2 hours) about a software development team that’s reminiscent of Office Space. I think there’s something in here that everyone who has worked in IT can relate to.
Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson
Janina Matthewson is involved with a podcast that I really like called Within the Wires. I really had no idea what to expect with this book, but I found it to be another page turner. The book tells the stories of people who have lost something: sometimes physical, sometimes otherwise. Since reading it, I sometimes find myself thinking about how certain characters situations are similar to my own experiences.
Sometimes I’m able to pick up a book that I absolutely burn through in a few days. That was definitely the case for American Kingpin. It does a great job at chronicling the rise and fall of the Silk Road, and its also a page turner. Bilton’s approach to telling both (really, all) of the sides of the Silk Road really left me with mixed feelings (in a good, thought-provoking way).
In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy
This was a great and fairly entertaining read about the history of Google. It includes a good overview of how Google has managed to differentiate itself across the board with their approach to engineering, marketing, and general business practices.
Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems by Sam Newman
This was a great discussion of microservice architecture, including the pitfalls, design decisions, and operational considerations needed when thinking about a microservice application. This book provided a very good introduction, and I anticipate that it could be a useful, quick reference book.
There were a few good takeways from this self-help book. I apprecite the idea of taking personal responsibility for everything your life, even those things that you can’t control. I also fall into the camp of believing that we should focus our efforts toward our “values” instead of chasing other arbitrary measures of greatness. In the end, these contributions will represent the greatest impact of our lives, and I think this is something that Manson captures toward the end of the book.
Books Read - 2017
It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
A great read from the Welcome to Night Vale folks. At first I thought it was a bit heavy on the “weird,” even for Night Vale, but that quickly wore off. Overall, a very entertaining book that makes me look forward to the next novel (please let there be a next novel).
The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft
I got into the Dream Cycle by accident: I had bought a copy of “The Call of Cthulhu” and it included “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath” and a few additional tales from the Dream Cycle. Not knowing anything about Lovecraft, I thought the other stories were simply a continuation of the Cthulhu tale. I ended up loving the Dream Cycle stories, so I finally got around to buying this collection of them. It took me too long to get through, but I thought the stories were excellent.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
A great overview of the philosophical challenges associated with AI. I think this book is a great start for further intellectual consideration about AI, and it certainly piqued my interest in the issues surrounding the topic.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk
A great perspective on proper writing. Even if you don’t agree with all of the rules and suggestions, I think an understanding of Strunk’s perspective is important.
Freedom by Daniel Suarez
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
I usually find it hard to stomach sales books/materials/articles. They’re usually heavy on the fluff and light on actual content. I was pleasantly surprised to read Morone’s book. It proposes a sales strategy that actually involves understanding and solving customer problems.
Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by Susan Sheehan
I read this book while I was involved with some IT projects for the mental health system. It’s an engrossing tale about the problems of the mental health system during the 1970s/1980s.
Scandal!: The Amazing Tales of Cheats, Crooks and Criminals, and How They Helped Create the Modern Economy by assorted authors in Fortune Magazine
Books Read - 2016
Hacked Again by Scott N. Schober
I’ve honestly enjoyed Dilbert comics since I was a little kid. I didn’t understand them back then, but I guess I just liked the characters with the odd-shaped heads. Now that I’m a member of the white-collar working world, I can actually appreciate the accuracy of Adams’ work. This book is great, and is certainly a must-read for people on all rungs of the corporate ladder.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
A great read for anyone looking to better understand net neutrality.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft
This is the story that really made me like Lovecraft. It’s difficult to say just why I enjoy his stories so much, but there’s something about the Dream-Quest that really makes me feel immersed in the story.
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft