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InfoQ Homepage Articles The 2018 InfoQ Editors’ Recommended Reading List: Part Two

The 2018 InfoQ Editors’ Recommended Reading List: Part Two

Key Takeaways

  • The InfoQ editorial team regularly meet at the QCon events and share their latest recommended reading with each other, covering a wide range of topics and format, e.g. articles, papers, and books. This article shares examples of these recommendations with the wider InfoQ community.
  • One of the InfoQ core values is that all of the content on the site should be created by software delivery practitioners, i.e. people who are actively engaged in the process of designing, building and operating software. InfoQ editors are people who are keen to share their knowledge and experience.
  • Top reading recommendations include: Humans vs Computers by Gojko Adzic; The Manager's Path, by Camille Fournier, and Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

As part of our core values of sharing knowledge, the InfoQ editors were keen to capture and share our book and article recommendations for 2018, so that others can benefit from this too. Part One of this series is already available, and in this second part we are sharing the nextbatch of recommendations

We would be very keen to hear your feedback. If you would like to know more about becoming an InfoQ editor, or want to apply to join, then please follow the guide on the contribution page.


Roland Meertens

Roland Meertens is a computer vision engineer current working on smart computer-vision algorithms for self-driving vehicles. Interesting things he has worked on include neural machine translation, obstacle avoidance on small drones, and a social robot for elderly people. Besides putting news about machine learning on InfoQ he sometimes publishes posts on his blog and twitter. In his spare time he likes to run through the woods and participate in obstacle runs. He also recently built the InfoQ Headlines Alexa Skill for us.

Python Machine Learning, by Sebastian Raschka and Vahid Mirjalili.

A very pragmatic approach to many popular machine learning algorithms in Python. The newest edition also features how you can build neural networks.

See review here.

Deep learning, by Ian Goodfellow and Yoshua Bengio and Aaron Courville

Although the book is very mathematical, the first chapters are a must-read for people who want to learn more about the currently popular deep learning algorithms.

Read more here.

Machine learning yearning, by Andrew Ng

Perhaps it's weird to include a book that, as of writing, is not even fully written. However: Andrew Ng. is releasing a few chapters a time.

The book describes everything around the problem of training a classifier. It's a must read for people managing a machine learning team, and a great guide for developers working on a machine learning application. As there are often many choices you can make to try to improve your classifier, picking a sensible one is of utter importance.

Read more here.


Shane Hastie

Shane Hastie leads the Culture and Methods editorial team for where he hosts the weekly InfoQ Culture Podcast. He is the Director of Agile Learning Programs for ICAgile and is the founding chair of the Agile Alliance New Zealand.

Joy, Inc by Richard Sheridan

The story of Menlo Innovations, a company founded on the idea that creating a workplace that people love is good for business and good for society. He explains how they started with the ideas from eXtreme Programming, look for people with “kindergarten skills” (plays well with others) and deliberately design a culture of joyful productivity.

The book explains what they do and how they do it, offering practical suggestions and concrete advice which others can follow to bring some joy into their own workplaces.

Learn more here.

Directing the Agile Organisation by Evan Leybourn

Evan found a number of companies who have adopted an agile mindset and taken a lean approach to business management. He explores the way a number of organisations apply the principles of agile across different areas of a business, provides examples of what can be achieved and shows how they do it. He tackles the hard questions about organisation structure and financing as well as the important people aspects of changing the mindset of a company.

Learn more here.

Humans vs Computers by Gojko Adzic

In this humorous, yet strangely disturbing, book Gojko provides examples of the impact of the design (or lack thereof) of computer systems on people and society. Ranging from the story of someone getting $19000 in parking fines because his license plate was the one used by traffic police when they couldn’t identify the plate on a car (the computer insisted on a value in the license plate field so “VOID” was frequently used) to air traffic controllers losing communication because someone forgot to reboot a server after 50 days, he describes real-world computer bugs and the impact they have in a way that encourages empathy for both the developers of the systems as well as the victims of the bug. He also provides useful advice for designers, developers and testers about how to identify and prevent these problems in the first place.

Get the book here.


Craig Smith

Craig Smith has been a software developer for over 15 years, specialising in a large number of technologies in that time. He has been an Agile practitioner for over 10 years, is a Certified Scrum Master and Certified ICAgile Professional and a member of both the Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance and currently works as an Agile Coach.

The Principles of Product Development Flow, by Don Reinertsen

This is the classic book that explains why Agile and Lean practices work when applied correctly. Even by Don’s own admission, this is not a book you can read from cover to cover but rather a book you will keep on your bookshelf and reference when you are either trying to help a team or organization solve delivery issues or whether you are just trying to understand or explain why some of the core principles are so important.

Learn more here.

Specification By Example, by Gojko Adzic

My fellow editor Shane Hastie nabbed my recommendation of Humans vs Computers, but honestly anything from the mind of Gojko Adzic is well written and highly relevant. That said, the timeless classic is still Specification by Example that introduces a number of core concepts that allows software teams to move from analysis to development with a focus on collaboration. This book is often mistaken for being solely about acceptance drive development techniques, it is a must read for all technical and non-technical members of the development team and includes a section of highly relevant examples at the back of the book.

Read the review here.

Writing Great Specifications, by Kamil Nicieja

One of the criticisms of the Specification by Example book I recommended above is it stopped short of guidance on how to fully implement ideas such as living documentation. There have been man good books that explain Acceptance Test Driven Development and the use of tools such as Cucumber but Writing Great Specifications is a book aimed solely at approaches to writing great Gherkin based specifications. Whilst this might sound easy at first glance, writing and managing good specifications takes skill and thought, and this book addresses both whilst being accessible to testers, business analysts and developers alike.

Get the book here.


Charles Humble

Charles Humble took over as editor-in-chief at in March 2014, guiding our content creation including news, articles, books, video presentations and interviews. Prior to taking on the full-time role at InfoQ, Charles led our Java coverage, and was CTO for PRPi Consulting, a remuneration research firm that was acquired by PwC in July 2012.

Although my background is all programming I no longer do much coding accept for fun, and my reading habits have changed to be more focussed around management topics.

The Manager's Path, by Camille Fournier

Fournier is the former chief technology officer of Rent The Runway and a former vice president of technology at Goldman Sachs. This is not a general management book; rather it is a well written book aimed very specifically at programmers making the move into management based on real-world experience. As such it is the book I wished I’d had when I first moved into management. That said though, even though I no longer manage a technical team I still found it incredibly helpful. As well as good advice for new managers the book covers later stage topics such as managing multiple teams, and the roles of VP of engineering and CTO. I regularly refer other managers at InfoQ to the sections on One on One meetings. I also recently interviewed Fournier for the InfoQ podcast.

Get the book here.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

A time management method used widely by both the InfoQ and QCon teams. Although the book is, somewhat ironically, much longer than it needs to be and rather repetitive it was an absolute lifesaver for me when I moved into my current role and had to completely rethink how I plan and run my day. It works because it allows you to funnel all of your outstanding responsibilities into one place and work from there.

Learn more here.

#Noprojects, by Evan Leybourn and Shane Hastie

This is an InfoQ book which I was a reviewer for. In it Leybourn and Hastie explore the history of project management, explaining clearly and concisely the costs and problems of standard approaches. They then set out an alternative approach based on the same principles agile, challenging accepted thinking. It’s hugely thought provoking, and a book that anyone responsible for the delivery of large, complex products should read.

Download the book here.


Daniel Bryant

Daniel Bryant is an independent technical consultant, leading change within organisations and technology. He also works as a product architect at Datawire, and is the news manager at InfoQ.

+1 on the Manager’s Path and Getting Things Done!

User Story Mapping, by Jeff Patton and Peter Economy

A fantastic introduction to the concept of how to effectively map out user journeys, and define, divide, and schedule work accordingly. If you are struggling with creating or managing a user story backlog for a project, then this is an essential read!

Learn more here.

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Days, by Jake Knapp, with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz

A lot of teams I work with find it difficult to innovate in a structured fashion, and the Sprint book provides a template to do just that. The book provides a formulas for testing ideas in a Lean Startupapproach, but is also suitable for larger enterprise organisations. The core premise is that teams can move over the course of five days from generating many ideas to a single idea, which is then prototyped.

Learn more here.

Agile Testing, by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

This is a fantastic guide for modern testing approaches, which is suitable for developers, architects and testers. I recommend this book at practically every consulting engagement I work on, as not only does explain testing methodologies and techniques in depth, it also provides teams with a ubiquitous language for talking about quality and quality assurance.

Learn more here.


Manuel Pais

Manuel Pais is a DevOps and Delivery Consultant, focused on teams and flow. Manuel helps organizations adopt test automation and continuous delivery, as well as understand DevOps from both technical and human perspectives. Co-curator of DevOps lead editor for InfoQ. Co-founder of DevOps Lisbon meetup. Co-author of the upcoming book "Team Guide to Software Releasability". Manuel Tweets at @manupaisable

Making Work Visible, by Dominica DeGrandis

A short but extremely useful book for understanding why many teams have a hard time delivering planned work and how to go about visualizing the “other” unplanned, often emergency work. The latter is what slows down flow and leads teams to commit to unrealistic expectations while being pressured to deliver on unclear priorities.

InfoQ review here.

Read more here.

Lean Enterprise, by Jez Humble, Barry O’Reilly and Joanne Molesky

A must read for any executive that accepts you can’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach for planning and managing work in a large organization. Considering the multiple horizons in the lifecycle of a product and the critical differences between product exploration (lean startup approach) and product exploitation (focus on execution) is key for any enterprise that wants to stay competitive in the market.

InfoQ review here.

O’Reilly shop.

The Phoenix Project, by Kevin Behr, George Spafford, Gene Kim

This book has become a DevOps classic. Mainly because it perfectly illustrates the kind of problems that everyone with a few years in IT has surely witnessed, or better, suffered from! It also makes for an easy-to-read introduction for C-level folks for whom the lack of visibility on IT and its problems causes lack of alignment of IT and business.

InfoQ Review here.

Read more here.

(there’s now a Beyond the Phoenix Project audiobook where Gene Kim and John Willis talk about the origins of DevOps, Lean and much more)


Jan Stenberg

Jan Stenberg is working as an IT consultant since more than 25 years in northern Sweden, experienced in building systems on both .Net/C# and JVM/Java platforms. His experiences range from large distributed and service based systems through web based and rich client applications down to hardware related software.

My top three newer books (from the last 9 years) picked from my top list of 8 books (starting at 2002).

Implementing Domain-Driven Design, by Vaughn Vernon

I think Vaughns book is underrated, for me it’s an essential and very practical introduction on how to implement a system based on DDD.

Read more here

Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing, by Gojko Adzic

Gojko’s books has been my inspiration in finding what to build, and why.

Read more (and all of his books are important!).

REST in Practice: Hypermedia and Systems Architecture, by Jim Webber et al.

This book was essential for me learning to build a real REST interface, not just a HTTP endpoint with a REST label on it.

Read more here.

I also have to mention Bill Poole. I’ve met very few that know who he is/was. He wrote 98 fantastic blog posts during 2008 (and nothing more) and they have been extremely important for me to understand the concepts and how to design and build distributed systems. For me he described microservices before the term was coined, and a form of microservices that I really like.

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