Winter reading: Book Club

Here are three books I picked from my winter reading list for reflection and boosting energy.

Docs for Developers - Jared Bhatti, Zac Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse

Docs for Developers is like a trusty guide when I’m confused and I need inspiration for writing user documentation. I keep this book next to me when I want to beat writer’s block.

The authors challenge the way we manage documentation. None of co-authors introduce specific tools or flavors of markup language. Authors have tremendous experience in transforming user docs for Google Cloud Platform, Cisco’s developer portal, UK Government website.

The back of the soft cover sums up the book;

Well-documented projects save time for both developers on the project and users of the software. Projects without adequate documentation suffer from poor developer productivity, product scalability, user adoption, and accessibility. In short, bad documentation kills project.

The Art of Statistics — David Spiegelhalter

David made statistics like storybook. The Art of Statistics is a lifetime’s worth of observations on statistics research and practices that distorted our relationship with data in action.

Higher calling — Max Leonard

As an avid cyclist myself, the subtitle of the book ‘road cycling’s obsession with the mountains’ piqued my interest in legendary cyclists and mystery haunting in the Pyrenees and the Alps. Higher calling does not read like documentary books or aide-mémoire on sportsmanship. Max Leonard unravels mystery of mystic mountains like thriller. Higher calling helped me discover Spanish and French Pyrenees by bike and foot in 2018 and 2019.


I’ve read some things in the last few weeks that have been useful for managing responses in high conflict situations. I ended up giving some of them as gifts to others:

BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns - Bill Eddy

The author goes into some example situations and provides a concrete pattern for responding to situations in a manner that de-escalates it. Even if it doesn’t de-escalate, it helps with redirecting the conversation. It’s targeted at communication means that are written (e.g. social media, emails) when you don’t need an immediate response. I’m sure with practice, integrating the formula into immediate responses would be possible.

5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life - Bill Eddy

This one is by the same author, but more geared towards recognizing behaviour in others that can help you prepare with interacting with them in more productive ways (or avoiding them altogether). This was a solid read based on the DSM5

For fun, I picked up at the library:
Rebel Seoul - Axie Oh

I restarted learning Korean so I picked this book up for fun since it’s basically a Sci-Fi K-Drama in novel form. Nothing more, nothing less haha. It provided cultural touch points to help understanding some aspects of Korean culture. At some point I’d like to just sit in on a Fedora community like the Ubuntu-KR to gain better understanding. (Though I’m not sure one exists)

As far as technical books, I’ve been reading Programming in ANSI C - Stephen Kochan which has honestly been tougher to get through since the current projects I’m working on are written in Javascript instead of C lol

There are a bunch of books that I’ve read recently that I track on a BookWyrm instance which is kind of a federated version of Goodreads.

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“Aan de slag met Linux voor LPIC-1” or translated it would be something like “Get going with Linux for LPIC-1” by Sander van Vugt.
The book is dated, it used Centos 6.5 server and Ubuntu 14.04 desktop, but most of the items are still valid.
I know it is not the type of book you would expect but this is what I am reading and studying right now.

Happy New Year.

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I’m reading Good Enough Job by Simone Stolzoff (a great read about work/life balance), as well as The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak (historical fiction, and dedicated ‘immigrants and exiles everywhere, the uprooted, the re-rooted, the rootless, and to the trees we left behind, rooted in our memories’). I also did a quick re-read of an old classic - Installing Linux on a Dead Badger by Lucy Snyder (because I recommended it earlier to someone and it’s been a while since I read it).

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I’m interested in the history of support industries (barrels and boxes for farm and fishing products, steam engines, canals, …). Currently, I’m reading Engineering reminiscences contributed to “Power” and “American machinist” by Porter. The author assumes familiarity with the steam engines of the day, so parts are hard to follow, but some of the business strategies, reluctance to change, trade secrets, etc. have outlived the technologies.

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You may also like Alberto Cairo and his books:

  • The Functional Art: an Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization
  • The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication

He recently finished a new one called The Art of Insight. I haven’t got it yet, but I will. :slight_smile:

Ended up picking up Alberto Cairo’s How Charts Lie based on this recommendation at the library since they didn’t have the others there. Thanks for the Recommendations

Do comic books, graphic novels count for the book club here?

I take recommendations on these genres as readily as the technical ones so I have no qualms with hearing what you’re reading in them

Absolutely, comic books/manga/webtoons give powerful inspiration for screen writers and movie producers.

I recently read the book ‘Open Source Law, Policy and Practice’ by a prominent author and lawyer, Amanda Brock. Open source is much more than movement or ethos. It is really a practical and economic driver that glues together tech community and enterprise.



Going to read the entire Vol.5 of Green Lantern (2011-2015) by Geoff Johns

While starting to read Ken Liu’s Dandelion Dynasty : The Grace of Kings