- Paperback: 504 pages
- Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (December 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617292397
- ISBN-13: 978-1617292392
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 247 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
Why this book is unlike any book you’ve ever read
Most software development books are about…software development— this one isn’t. There are plenty of books out there about writing good code and using various technologies, but I’ve been hard-pressed to find a book that told me how to be a good software developer.
This book isn’t about what you can do. This book is about…you. That’s right. It’s about your career, your life, your body, your mind, and—if you believe there is such a thing—your soul. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of lunatic. I’m not a transcendentalist monk sitting on the floor meditating while smoking Peyote leaves, trying to help you ascend to a higher state of consciousness. On the contrary, I think you’ll find I’m a pretty down-to-earth kind of guy who just happens to think that being a software developer is about a whole lot more than writing code.
In the pages of this book you’ll find quite a few seemingly unrelated topics strung together, but there is some semblance of reasoning behind this madness. This book is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a different aspect of your life as a software developer. If you wanted to categorize and group these sections it would be easiest to look at them as career, mind, body, and spirit.
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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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?
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.
I can't fully recommend this to everyone. If you're above an intermediate level and you have a decent network, you might not pick up that much from this book - but then again, you wouldn't be shopping for this book. If I have one quibble, it's that I can't recommend his financial strategy - he's a follower of the "Rich Dad/Poor Dad" strategy of building real estate wealth, and whenever I hear of someone who earned a lot of money doing this, all I can think of is the phrase "survivorship bias" - the half-dozen friends I had who did this sort of thing all wound up barely breaking even and oddly, none of them ever wrote about their experience. Still, kudos to Mr. Sonmez for daring to stick his neck out when too many books aimed at starting developers skirt this important stuff entirely.
It took me a few weeks to find out I can download the digital version from the publisher's web site to read on any device. At first, I overlooked the piece of paper with the codes inside.