There's only so much a busy software engineer can do in a day. Even if you are a 'rockstar ninja 10x top performer', 24 hours is all you get. Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way of making the best out of those few precious hours we spend commuting, doing chores, exercising (you do exercise, right?), etc. It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up pretty quickly!
Most software-related books have complicated code examples, extensive diagrams, and schemas. Don't get me wrong - it's fantastic! However, it also makes those books nearly impossible to consume in audio format. While services like Audible contain thousands of titles, finding a worthy tech-related listen can be tricky. I kid you not - it took me several years of listening to come up with this list of 10 audiobooks that I would highly recommend to every software engineer.
1. The Phoenix Project
by Gene Kim
The Phoenix Project is a novel about Bill - an IT manager at Parts Unlimited. Bill has to make the company's new IT initiative, Phoenix Project, work. Otherwise, his whole department will be outsourced.
This book combines DevOps movement principles with an entertaining story recognisable to anyone in IT.
2. The Unicorn Project
by Gene Kim
The Phoenix Project is a terrific book. However, I find this one even more relatable as a software engineer. The story revolves around the same Phoenix Project. However, this time, it's from a senior lead developer and architect Maxine's perspective.
The Unicorn Project is about fighting against bureaucracy, developers working together with business leaders, and racing against the time to innovate.
3. The Healthy Programmer
by Joe Kutner
Being a software engineer comes with a cost. You must stay fit, healthy, and sharp to keep doing what you love.
The Healthy Programmer is a great book filled with practical knowledge for those who want to remain healthy for years.
4. Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual
by John Sonmez
A lot of software engineers are experts at what they do. However, some of us tend to lack other equally critical non-technical skills. In this book, John Sonmez addresses a wide range of topics for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer.
5. No Rules Rules
by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer
Have you ever wondered why many software engineers desire to work at Netflix? What makes it so unique? Why does Netflix pay sky-high salaries?
In No Rules Rules, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings reveals for the first time the unorthodox culture behind one of the world's most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies.
6. How to Win Friends & Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
Strictly speaking, this book is not tech-related. However, long gone are those days when software engineers could spend weeks without human contact. Nowadays, software engineering usually revolves around working with people.
Go after the job you want and get it! Take the job you have and improve it! Take any situation you're in and make it work for you!
7. Algorithms to Live By
by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
Do computer algorithms apply only to computers? Can we make it work in our everyday lives?
Algorithms to Live By explains how we can use computer algorithms to solve common decision-making problems and illuminates the human mind's workings.
8. How the Stock Market Works
by Ramon P. DeGennaro
It's not a secret that software engineers earn decent salaries. However, it's equally crucial to make sound financial decisions. Otherwise, it's all for nothing!
This course introduces the stock market and investing for novices and experienced investors. Professor DeGennaro uses simple analogies to explain the origin of stocks and other securities and their relative risks.
9. Bad Blood
by John Carreyrou
I'm a sucker for good stories, especially when these are riveting real-life stories about multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley startups and Enron-like corporate fraud. Does it get better than this?
10. Dark Pools
by Scott Patterson
These days stock-market trading is less about people and more about machines. It's estimated that about 70-80 per cent of overall trading volume in the U.S. is generated through algorithmic trading.
Dark Pools is the fascinating story of how trading robots have hijacked global markets - many so self-directed that humans can't predict what they'll do next.
Thank you for reading. Do you know any good audiobooks this list is missing? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.