Head in the Clouds–Eyes on the Books

I normally post technical topics here on this blog, but I’m extending this post a bit to include a little professional development. Don’t worry; there’s some tech (and Distributed Computing tech, no less) in this post as well.

I recently presented a few sessions on a “SQL Cruise” to Alaska (more on that here) and one of those sessions was on professional development. As part of that, I had everyone do some exercises on career building, and we created some deliverables we would be accountable to each other on. After all, one of my favorite business quotes (my version, others have said something similar) is:

What gets measured gets done.

One of the deliverables was to establish our career goal(s) for the next year, and then come up with a list of 12 books that would help us get there. We promised to read one book per month, and report back on our blogs a review of the book and how it applies to the career. So in no particular order, here is my list – I’m telling you all, so call me on it if I don’t post a review on one of them. I reserve the right to change my list as I learn more, but 12 books is the rule:

  1. Programming Windows Azure by Siriram Krishnan: Learning about how to select applications suitable for Distributed Technology. (June )
  2. Rhetoric, by Aristotle: I read this long ago, but I would like to re-read it to learn how to more clearly formulate my arguments and help my writing skills to improve. (July)
  3. Favorite Folktales from Around the World, by Jane Yolen: Storytelling is at the heart of presenting well. ( August )
  4. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely: Understanding the actions of others is key to my success. ( September )
  5. The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous: The role of faith in life. ( October )
  6. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott: I’ve heard a lot about this, and I’m not even sure I agree with it. But I want to see what it says about collaborative efforts and how I can leverage them. ( November )
  7. Think Stats: In my studies of "Big Data", the skill I find missing most of the time is Statistics - as part of the "Data Scientist" role I'm investigating, this is part of a kit you can get from O'Reilly. I actually replaced another book with this one. ( December )
  8. The Elements of Persuasion by Richard Maxwell  and Robert Dickman: Another "storytelling" book. ( January )
  9. Designing Data Visualizations by Noah Iliinsky and Julie Steele: Part of my "Big Data" focus. ( February )
  10. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick: This is a book I've heard a lot about, and it's in a similar vein as GEB, one of my favorite books. ( March )
  11. Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform: Using Microsoft products to solve a given problem. It includes Cloud strategies as well. ( April )
  12. 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias: Stories and themes are part of software, presenting, and working in teams. This book claims there are only 20 plots, ever. Let's see. ( May )


As part of keeping each other accountable, I hereby tag a few of my fellow travellers – and you, of course, are invited to play along. Link back to this blog post and put your link in the comments below if you want us to follow your journey:

Comments (3)
  1. Dev Nambi says:

    I like the choices. Do you read them according to subject topic, or randomly?

    My list is up as well, devnambi.com/…/a-good-book-has-no-ending .

  2. BuckWoody says:

    Dev – I'm reading these in various orders. To be honest, since I'm a big Pulic Library fan, I'm reading the ones I can get at the time from there first. I'm starting with the Windows Azure one, since I need some info from it anyway.

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