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

The 2018 InfoQ Editors’ Recommended Reading List: Part One

Key Takeaways

  • The InfoQ editorial team regularly meet at the QCon events and several other locations, and share their latest recommended reading. This article aims to share this 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. They do this part time, as they are keen to share their knowledge and experience.
  • Top reading recommendations include: Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim; The Morning Paper, by Adrian Colyer; and The Algorithm Design Manual, by Steven Skiena 

One of the InfoQ core values is that all of the content on the site must be created by software delivery practitioners, i.e. people who are actively engaged in the process of designing, building and operating software. Accordingly, all of the news writers contributing to InfoQ do so part time alongside their regular work, and all of the contributed articles are curated and peer reviewed by editors working outside of their day jobs. This collection of industry experts, thought leaders and life-long learners aim to not only promote the high quality of information made available on InfoQ, but also strive to increase the levels of professionalism within the IT industry, and enable and uplift communities.

The InfoQ editorial team regularly meet at the QCon events that take place in London, New York, San Francisco, and several other locations, and share their latest learning. One of the highlights of these meetings is the exchange of recommended reading, and a discussion of the latest books and research material.

As part of our core values of sharing knowledge, the InfoQ editors were keen to capture and share these recommendations, so that others can benefit from this too. Over the coming weeks we will be publishing a series of articles that share editors’ recommended reading for all of the InfoQ audience, along with a commentary as to why we believe these books are important. 

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.

Ben Linders

Ben Linders is an Independent Consultant in Agile, Lean, Quality and Continuous Improvement, based in The Netherlands. Ben is an active member of networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer. 

Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

The book “Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performance Technology Organizations” by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim, explores the factors that impact software delivery performance and describes capabilities and practices that help to achieve higher levels of throughput, stability, and quality. 

I like how this book provides insight into the relationships between the factors, based upon solid research. Whatever your goals are to adopt agile, lean, or DevOps, this book can help you to focus on the factors that influence those goals and decide which practices to apply and how to apply them. 

Read the InfoQ review here.

More Fearless Change, by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising

The book “More Fearless Change: Strategies for Making Your Ideas Happen” by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising provides patterns that can be used to drive change in organizations in a sustainable way. 

Fearless change is a classic book for anyone involved in change (and, let’s be honest, who isn't these days?). In 2015 the authors fully revised the 48 patterns from the book Fearless Change and provided 15 new patterns in More Fearless change.

Read the review here.

Balancing Agility and Discipline, by Barry Boehm and Richard Turner

The book “Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed” by Barry Boehm and Richard Turner compares agile approaches and plan driven methodologies. It’s a classic book that can help to find the balance between agility and discipline and apply practices from both worlds in a way that best supports your needs.

Learn more about the book here.

Chris Swan

Chris Swan is Fellow, VP, CTO for the Global Delivery at, where he leads the shift towards design for operations across the offerings families, and the use of data to drive optimisation of customer transformation and service fulfilment. 

Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

+1 to Accelerate (already nominated by Ben Linders) - I’d emphasise that it talks about things that work across companies of all varieties, based on data and analysis rather than case studies that can so easily be dismissed with “we’re not like them, so what worked for them won’t work for us”.

Security Engineering, by Ross Anderson

A timeless classic “guide to building dependable distributed systems” this is the one book that anybody who cares about security (which should be everybody) should be familiar with, especially as it’s now available free online.

Learn more here.

The Morning Paper, by Adrian Colyer

A daily distillation of the most important papers in the field of computer science this provides an easy way to stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry. There are also quarterly reviews on InfoQ for those who just want the best bits.

Read the daily edition here.

InfoQ works with Colyer to collate a quarterly review emag, which is available here.

Richard Seroter

Richard Seroter is a Senior Director of Product at Pivotal, with a master's degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado. He's also an 11-time Microsoft MVP, trainer for developer-centric training company Pluralsight, speaker, and author of multiple books on application integration strategies. 

High Output Management, by Andy Grove

This book by the former CEO of Intel is twenty years old, but still amazingly relevant. Whether you’re a new (tech) manager or you’ve been one for years, you’ll find plenty of useful guidance for improving your management technique and your team’s overall performance. I read this book in early 2018, and my primary regret is that I didn’t read it five years ago. This book will change how you approach meetings, 1:1 sessions, decision making, and continuous improvement.

Learn more here.

Designing Data-Intensive Applications, by Martin Kleppmann

This was one of one of best-written tech books I’ve come across in years. Kleppmann does a terrific job explaining the current state of data stores and processing solutions, and things you need to consider when choosing the most appropriate option. There’s a great look at scalability challenges and things you may not have thought of when dealing with distributed systems. While it seems that many developers now grok how to build resilient apps, I suspect that many of us aren’t as sophisticated when it comes to the data layer. This book gets you up to speed.

Learn more here.

Listen to an InfoQ interview with Martin Kleppmann.

Overcomplicated, Technology at the Limits of Comprehension, by Samuel Arbesman.

As we build more and more complex systems, it’s important to recognize that no one person understands the whole system or how things can go wrong. We should neither be in awe of this tech, nor fear it. It’s about finding the right spot in the middle. This book looks at what it means to design, build, explore, and troubleshoot our increasingly complex systems. It gave me a few new ways of thinking about it!

Learn more about this here

Ben Evans

Ben Evans is a co-founder of jClarity, a JVM performance optimization company. He is an organizer for the LJC (London's JUG) and a member of the JCP Executive Committee, helping define standards for the Java ecosystem. Ben is a Java Champion; 3-time JavaOne Rockstar Speaker; author of "The Well-Grounded Java Developer", the new edition of "Java in a Nutshell" and "Optimizing Java”.

Expert C Programming, by Peter van der Linden

This book teaches things about C wand Unix that are frequently misunderstood and really does take your knowledge of them to the next level.

Learn more about this here.

Getting To Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury

The negotiating techniques described in this book are highly applicable to many situations that professional technologists find themselves in, and can lead to significantly better outcomes if used appropriately.

Visit the author’s site here.

The Algorithm Design Manual, by Steven Skiena 

A very useful handbook for working programmers in any language.

The book website can be found here.

Bonus: The Morning Paper, by Adrian Colyer

+1 to Chris Swan’s recommendation to regularly read Adrian Colyer’s ‘The Morning Paper’

Srini Penchikala

Srini Penchikala currently works as Senior Software Architect in Austin, Texas. He is also the Lead Editor for Big Data and NoSQL Database communities at InfoQ. Srini has over 22 years of experience in software architecture, design and development. He is currently authoring a book titled "Big Data Processing with Apache Spark He is also the co-author of "Spring Roo in Action" book from Manning Publications.

Dare to Serve, by Cheryl Bachelder: 

This book is about the leaders who deliver exceptional results by serving others and acting in the best interests of their organizations. Author Cheryl Bachelder joined the ailing Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen fried-chicken franchise as CEO in 2007 and embraced “servant leadership" model to turn things around and bring the organization back to profits. 

Its leadership principles call for “passion, listening, planning, coaching, accountability and humility.” In this model, servant leaders drive engagement by helping employees find purpose in their work and define achievable high-performance goals as “daring destinations.” Reach your daring destinations by tackling real problems, committing resources and measuring results. 

A great resource for servant leadership roles in software development teams including the scrum masters and architects.

The book’s website can be found here.

Conversational Intelligence, by Judith E. Glaser

Organizational Anthropologist Judith E. Glaser authored this book on the new and effective powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success. She presents a framework for knowing which kind of conversations activate higher-level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy, and good judgment. 

A great resource for agile software development teams and team leaders at all levels of an organization.

The book’s website can be found here.

Reactive Microsystems, by Jonas Bonér

This mini-book is a very timely resources when microservices are becoming the mainstream approach to developing solutions, without a clear understanding of how these microservices should be managed in a distributed systems environment. 

Bonér shows us how to use concepts like Events and Commands to manage the interaction between those microservices. He introduces us to the Events-First Domain-Driven Design (DDD) to bring the ever-green DDD principles to work with re-emergent Event Driven Architectures (EDA).

The book can be downloaded from the Lightbend website.

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