Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
This title has been discontinued by the publisher.
About the Author
John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer, where he tirelessly pursues his vision of transforming complex issues into simple solutions. John has published over 50 courses on topics such as iOS, Android, .NET, Java, and game development for the online developer training resource, Pluralsight. He also hosts the Get Up and CODE podcast, where he talks about fitness for programmers. John is a life coach for software developers, and helps software engineers, programmers and other technical professionals boost their careers and live a more fulfilled life.
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The book provides really shallow tips on a huge variety of topics. The tips are overall really shallow and in many cases are not really helpful.
The author talks a lot about strategies for making money -- feels like this book was just another way the author used to just make money without giving back something meaningful to the community.
Additionally, the book is way overpriced: $30.
So why did I buy it? I realized I had read a lot of professional software development books: on languages, coding style, design patterns, high level concepts, mindset, etc. But I had a blind spot: no books on software development social/soft skills. I searched for software development books on social skills and this one stuck out. There also doesn’t seem to be much competition (if you know of any other good ones, please let me know).
So against all my instincts telling me “this guy is not really an engineer. He’s a marketing bro. How could he know what he’s talking about? How could this book apply to my life?” I decided to purchase the book. My next thought was shock: “WHAT? The delivery time is TWO WEEKS? It’s not prime!?”
When the book finally arrived and I started reading it, it didn’t take me long to start making highlights, bookmarking sections, and writing notes. The book is good. He gives a lot of good advice in a wide variety of topics. The ones I found most useful were about career planning, networking, marketing, productivity, and mindset. He surprised me by offering advice I hadn’t heard before and can instantly put into practice. I would share them here, but he deserves the book sales.
When you have a book with such a wide variety of topics, it’s inevitable that many readers will already have a good understanding of a few of those topics. For me it was personal finance, fitness, and diet. I didn’t think his chapter on dating added value either.
His writing was simple and easy to understand, but not exactly spellbinding. He opens a lot of chapters with a single paragraph explaining why the subject is important and follows it by saying “now that I’ve convinced you this subject is important…” Most of the time, he didn’t. It felt cheesy. But his points are clear and he offers a lot of important questions to ask yourself.
This book covers a lot of subjects at a high level with examples you can put to use right away. I think most readers will be able to take away a few things that they can apply to their own lives that over time will make a significant difference. What more can you ask for from a book?
Few if any of the chapters cover topics traditionally considered to be "soft skills," i.e. interpersonal communication, empathy, teamwork, conflict resolution, etc.
Much of the book talks about self-promotion. While there's nothing wrong with self-promotion - it's necessary, in fact, to move forward in one's career - he seems to treat it as an end in its own right. It comes off as self-important and slimy.
Finally, and signally, the author's recent behavior on social media has proven him unfit to instruct anyone on soft skills.
A blight on the Manning imprint.
I do like the life-skills topics: investing in stock, real-estate, etc. Things that can be done with a family or "on the side" given a person's capital. The fitness section is really insightful, I doubt I'd be at John's level, but it does cover a lot that your physical education classes SHOULD have covered in high school and approaching it at a geek level.
Lastly, the section on networking and marketing yourself is solid, but if you've got a good handle on Twitter, and LinkedIn this may seem a little redundant. Overall, a solid book for developers.
Top international reviews
It’s a feast of distilled wisdom on the life skills needed to succeed and thrive as a software developer. Rather than focusing on technical skills, which are covered in so many other books and videos, John instead generously shares his hard earned insight and experience on topics as diverse as financial management, maintaining physical and emotional health, working for your self, and cultivating a positive and effective mental attitude.
In each bite-sized chapter there are practical and immediately actionable exercises to improve any developer’s life across the board.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
This book doesn't really cover soft skills all that much but it definitely offers a couple of good tips, but it ultimately delivers on being a software developer life manual.
In the quest to overcome impostor syndrome or to just simply be the best software developer you can be I would highly recommend this book be on your reading list.
If you are widely read on the subject of IT, then little of the stuff is likely to be new to you. However, the author presents it in a way that makes it more likely that you will move from the thinking stage to the doing stage.
Thank You John Sonmez.